The age-old question:
“What are you planning on doing with your life?”
Some individuals are born with a Northern Star that shines so brightly within them that the answer to this question appears as if had been tattooed to their forehead in utero. For the rest of us mere mortals, professional journeys are as organically unfolding as our personal ones.
Thanks to technological advances, our workplace landscapes are constantly evolving. Making decisions today for jobs that haven’t yet been invented sounds like an almost impossible task! Creativity, innovation, technology and design are the buzzwords that appear when you google “preparing for jobs of the future”. We want to add another.
Many roles of today will be replaced by artificial intelligence tomorrow. The one thing that can’t be replaced is you. You have a set of skills and interests that are your unique, personalised algorithm of success. And by success, we don’t necessarily mean hitting the list of Forbes under 30s! We define success as engaging in activities, be them work or pleasure, that make a difference to you and your community.
Chris Guillebeau, author of “Born for This”, talks about the magic trifecta for the dream job; one that brings joy, money and flow. Put these three together in working conditions that match your needs, and success is sure to follow. Why? Because when we are engaged in tasks that require the use of our strengths and match our perceived skills potential to the perceived challenge in front of us, we reach optimum engagement and productivity.
Knowing our strengths and unique skills, therefore, becomes a necessary precursor to every other professional move we make. So let’s start experimenting, and create your own authentic career profile.
List all activities you’ve engaged in over the past 5 years. Which ones have you loved, and which ones would you rather not do again?
See if you can split your list into enjoy and dislike. In the enjoy list, are there common strengths or skills you needed to use? Write or draw these on a piece of paper and make this list visible to you on a daily basis. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can grow. Don’t be afraid to remove skills or strengths at times. The idea is to reflect on what feels authentic to you.
Involve people in your life you trust and who know you well. Recruit them to contribute to your skills list. Getting multiple opinions will help you flesh out a bigger picture of yourself. Sometimes others see abilities in us that we didn’t even realise we had!
Once you feel confident with your list of skills and strengths, see if you can invent a work position that matches them. Does your position address a current need? Who is the target audience of that need? Talk to as many people in that target audience and refine your ideas on how those skills can help bring solutions to their problems. And don’t be afraid to pursue multiple passions. Remember, finding your authentic voice takes experimentation. And courage.
Need a kick start for strengths? Visit the VIA website.
Finding it hard to visualise career possibilities? Check out the Career quiz available at joboutlook.gov.au or better still, why not consider one of our ‘Project You’ workshops? For more information, check out our programs page and click here to enquire about our next available workshop in your area.