In seventh grade I was chosen to be something called a peer counselor. I had no idea what this was at the time.
All I knew was that I liked being able to get out of school to go to a nice hotel with free pastries for a day of peer counselor training.
It turned out the training helped us learn some skills to counsel other kids who were dealing with problems they didn’t want to talk about with adults.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, this would be the spark that made me aware of my ability to counsel others and help them solve their problems.
I wish I could say I realized my life’s passion at that moment and everything was downhill from that point. Not so much.
However, being encouraged to use some skills I had never tried before would allow me to explore skills that were linked to my eventual passion.
From that time until now I’ve discovered you need three kinds of skills in order to love your work.
1. Skills you enjoy using. What kinds of tasks do you enjoy? Personally, I don’t enjoy fixing things around the house. If something breaks and I have to get my toolbox my wife gets nervous. (She calls me Cliff Huxtable) However, I love to write about careers and helping people do work they love. Two different skill sets and two different levels of enjoyment. If you don’t enjoy using a particular skill, even if you’re good at it, you’ll still be off the mark in regard to your ideal career.
2. Skills you are competent in using. This past winter our shower was having problems and I tried to fix it. I ended up spending two hours on something that would have probably taken a plumber five minutes to fix. I was soaking wet and frustrated beyond belief. Needless to say I’m not very good with my hands. In order to enjoy a skill you usually need to be fairly competent in using that skill.
3. Skills that are marketable. You can be good at something and you can enjoy doing it, but you must have a customer for that skill. Whether that customer is an employer or someone who purchases directly from you there must be a market for what you provide with your skills.
Be aware that if you only have two of the three components you will still be out of alignment with your ideal career. You must have a combination of all three.
When you find the sweet spot that combines all three components you will experience work that is rewarding and enjoyable. Something very few experience today.