“What are you good at?”
Josephine* froze when I asked this question. We’d been in email contact over the past two days during which she had expressed her discontent with her current position. A year-and-a-half of working remotely for long periods with only the occasional physical meeting had given her time to evaluate her circumstances. She was adamant that she was ready to find a new employer and tackle new challenges.
During our virtual video interview, we ran through the usual set of questions – how she started in public relations, her areas of experience, the industry sectors she had worked in. It wasn’t until I asked about her strengths that she stumbled.
Many people I meet with struggle to identify what they are good at. Talking, or even spending time thinking about areas in which we excel can feel self-indulgent at best, but more often boastful or conceited. And these are qualities no one wants to be associated with.
But for a moment, think of yourself as a client. Have you ever advised a client to remain silent about achieving a business milestone or industry recognition? While there are exceptions, in most cases the advice would be to announce and celebrate the accomplishment in a way that is appropriate for the audience.
Recruiters and potential employers need to know your strengths to understand how and if you can be integrated into their existing team. But the most important person who needs to understand what you are good at is YOU.
Knowing your strengths is a tried-and-true way to build your confidence and differentiate yourself in a competitive market. If you focus on your strengths, you can work on making them even better. With expertise in the area you are good at and a solid grounding of self-confidence, no barrier can stop you from achieving your professional and personal goals.
Where do you excel?
One great way to find out what you’re good at is to ask around. What do your boss, colleagues, clients or friends say about you? When do people ask for your help or advice?
What do you want to do?
Most people will want to spend more time doing things they are naturally good at. However, you won’t always be interested in everything you do well. To better define what you want to do, try answering the question ‘What energizes you?’. Keep a note of your mood and motivation throughout the week: does it peak after certain tasks but plummet after others?
Your next career step…
The next step it to identify professional opportunities to increase your energy while minimizing the tasks that deplete your energy. This may involve a new job but could simply involve making a change in your existing company.
The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone.
The Female Confidence Booster workshop is the perfect place to start. This half-day virtual workshop provides practical, bespoke strategies to build your confidence by discovering your strengths, recognising your career achievements, managing your inner critic and fulfilling your ambition. The next Female Confidence Booster workshop will be held on September 14 and October 19, only six places each are available. Click here for costs and registration details.
And Josephine? I shared this advice with her and before she made any sort of change, she participated in The Female Confidence Booster workshop. She is well on the way to achieving her professional goals.
To discuss your career trajectory, our one-on-one executive coaching services or The Female Confidence Booster workshop, please contact me directly.
Co-founder & Managing Director, Asia, Prospect
Founder, Transform Executive Coaching
Certified Coach, Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership (IECL)
(*name changed protect anonymity)