07 May Discovering Your Skills
Whatever your ambition is, chances are you need some special skills to make it happen. Any goal requires discipline, focus, and consistency, but there are always other abilities and traits that are necessary to succeed. Figuring out what skills you have is a basic and important way to develop your plans and achieve important milestones.
You may not even be sure of your goals yet. You have an ambition to succeed, but the exact path is unclear. If this is your situation, discovering your special skills is even more important. They can guide you to a career, enable you to get the job you need in the meantime, or help you get involved in a hobby or activity.
Maybe you do know your skills… but they aren’t the ones you need to get what you want. Or at least they don’t seem like it. But if you take some time to think about your skills, you may find that they are connected to larger skill sets that will prove useful to your specific goal. This can be especially important when you are trying to showcase your skills to employers or figure out what you are good at.
Here are a few ways you can start to develop an understanding of your own skills:
Make Two Lists
Make a list of skills required for your goal or ambition. Obviously, this works best for more concrete goals; while your ambition may be to have a family or be famous, it’s likely that there are certain things required to make those things happen that are easier to deal with for this exercise. For example, you will probably need some people skills to start a family or a talent to be famous!
Next, make a list of what you see as your skills. Put whatever comes to mind, even if it seems to have nothing to do with your ambitions. Some might be obvious to you or are very specific. Maybe you know a particular computer program, are always on time, or you are amazingly patient with difficult customers. Others may not come to mind at first. Were always good at summarizing important information after a long reading in school? Does everybody ask you about new technology because you adapt so quickly?
Discover Skills Based on Activities
What is your job or your hobbies? Are you in school? Do you volunteer? Make a list, even if you don’t think you will find any skills in what you do. Sports, music, internet, studying, babysitting – whatever takes up your time that isn’t along the lines of sleeping and eating.
Next, you want to think about the skills you practice by doing each. Does all your sports knowledge require a great memory? Or do you play a sport yourself, communicating with others and resolving conflicts? This is a good way to discover skills that aren’t readily apparent to you but that you might want to include on a resume. Skills such as attention to detail, creative problem solving, and communicating with many people are all important and can apply to most goals or jobs.
Ask Others for Honest Feedback
Ask your friends, family, coworkers, or boss for an assessment of your skills. What do they think you’re really good at? This can be a good way to get past your most obvious skills. You may move merchandise all day, but are you also a good listener? Sometimes we judge ourselves too harshly and at other times we think we’re good at something that we’re actually not too great at.
Once you have your list of skills, do another comparison with the list of skills you will need to fulfill your ambition. What is lacking? What are you unsure about?
Next you will need to figure out how to maintain and develop your skills, but figuring out where you are at right now and where you need to be in the future is an essential beginning step.
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