One of the key ingredients to finding your passion in your work is to know how your skills and passions are connected.
There are two pieces you need to know and understand in regard to your skills.
The first piece is knowing the current skills you possess. The second piece has to do with understanding your level of enjoyment using specific skills you currently posses or skills you want to learn in the future.
However, the dilemma is we often don’t really know how to figure out which skills we currently have or want to obtain and enjoy using.
This could be due to a number of issues.
Some may not have a lot of experience at this point in their career. If you’re just coming into the workforce you really haven’t had a lot of time to try your hand at different tasks to develop a range of skills.
Others may be too hard on themselves. Maybe you think you’re not very skilled in anything – you’re just mediocre. You discount the skills you possess because you don’t feel very good at them in comparison to others.
Maybe you’re not sure what it feels like to enjoy using a skill. Maybe you’ve been in a job that has been a poor fit for you for some time or your exposure to a broad range of skills has been lacking.
If you find yourself in this situation here are four ideas to help you gain greater understanding of your skills:
1. Take an inventory. Take a look at ONet’s Skills Search. It groups skills into skill families and can be a good place to start when you have no clue which skills you have and/or enjoy using. To help you determine which skills you have and/or enjoy using try iseek.org’s assessment. It aligns with the ONet skills search.
2. Ask friends for feedback. As with many things in life, sometimes we’re just too close to the situation to recognize our skills. Take a few friends to lunch (be sure to pick up the tab) and ask them to give you feedback on the skills they see you using well.
3. Pick something and try it. If you’re not sure which skills you may enjoy using in the future, think of an activity (at work or volunteer opportunity) that is outside your current day to day tasks. Then find a way to experiment with that task to use a new skill. For example, if you currently spend most of your day at work focused on numbers and data find an opportunity to attend a community outreach event sponsored by your company where you’ll be focused on people.
4. Use skills you already have in another setting. Maybe you’re a high school teacher who’s burned out, however, you know you still enjoy helping others learn. Find a way to teach adults. Maybe in a night school setting or at a community college. Find out if you still enjoy using your teaching skills in a slightly different environment.
Knowing more about the current skills you posses and the ones you enjoy using are part of the process that leads to finding your passion. It may not solve the riddle for you but it’s the necessary glue to connect the pieces of the mosaic of your passion.