Listen To What Others Tell You Are Your Natural Skills
10 March 2022
Again and again as I have conversations with people about their career I see a murkiness in the level of self knowledge people have. People can be pretty good at fooling themselves and believing what they want to believe about themselves. And people don't always want to believe good things about themselves.
One of the impacts of this murkiness of self knowledge of your strengths and skills is hesitation in making career decisions that have you do more of what fits for you.
The work of knowing yourself is life long and relentless. This is one of the reasons I have found it so valuable to offer the Mental Fitness program.
A short cut to getting more self knowledge about what we are good at is to listen to what others tell us we are good at. People rarely come out straight and say "Hey, Brett, wow, you are good at arranging colours." Instead, we have two options for getting this knowledge about our natural skills. The first is pretty straightforward - ask people: "What do you see that I am particularly good at doing?"
A second, and less confronting way, is to listen to the non-direct ways people tell us about our skills and strengths. We can hear what these are by noticing what people ask us to teach them, what they ask our advice about, or the results they praise.
If you would like to uncover the knowledge others have about your strengths and skills start by asking some trusted people. Then for the next month keep a journal of the things people praise you for, the things ask you to teach them, and the things people ask you for your advice on. Look for the requests that are at the edges of what you are required to do in your role. For example, people always come to you with their IT niggles even though it isn't part of your job. Maybe people often praise you for the clarity of your writing, or they get you to edit their documents. Or maybe, you are seen as the unofficial mentor for people who want to get decisions through upper management...
This process will bring into the open skill areas that you can then examine for the level of enjoyment you have when undertaking the skill. If you find it is something you would like to have more of in your career look for job crafting opportunities to do more of it.
Then at your next career maintenance date with yourself set some goals and actions that can bring more of this strength firmly into your career plans.
As always, wishing you a flourishing career.