“The #1 obstacle to landing your dream job, is knowing what your dream job is,” said best-selling author, Ramit Sethi.
Why is “just follow your passion” sometimes bad career advice? Because you must not only follow your passion, but make that passion so compelling and valuable that others will pay you to do it. We call this “finding your calling” or “your life’s mission”—in other words, something that your are naturally really good at and find personally fulfilling. The Gallup organization calls this “Talent”— natural ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that lead to near perfect performance. How do you discover these strengths or talents? My favorite tools are the Strengths Finder ($15) and Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI with Interpretation–free).
As a recent college graduate, my job search led me to outside sales, “riding the range” as I called it, driving from business to business in a white Chevy Astro van filled with pre-paid cell phones. My objective was to convince business owners to sell my phones as a distributor. Working in the early days of pre-paid wireless for an unknown start-up in rural Idaho gave me a unique education. One day I would get chased out of a retail store by an angry store manager. The next day I’d be dining in the private office of the regional VP of a large service station chain and signing a contract. My old Astro van had windshield wipers that worked sporadically. One day during a blizzard I pulled over under a bridge near Twin Falls, Idaho to wait out the storm as my wind shield wipers had gone on temporary strike. As I sat under the bridge wishing for a garbage can fire and some hobos to keep me company, I compared my natural talents to my current job. There was a mismatch that drained my energy. Why was I not enjoying the work, even though I had become good at it and was finding success? The answer? Talent. The Gallup Strengths Finder showed me what type of work would be energizing and fulfilling. I made a change. Now I wake up early, excited to come to work and do what energizes and fulfills me.
I recommend you invest $15 to find out what energizes and fulfills you. Use this link to order StrengthsFinder 2.0, which describes Talent and offers an online code to take the Strengths Finder assessment. Both the book and assessment are very short, but full of priceless insight all about YOU. After you take the Strengths Finder, I’d encourage you to take the MBTI then read the Interpretation to find out how you naturally communicate and perceive the world around you. Both assessments offer insight into what career would best fit you.
Ben Davidson, VP of Human Resources, Idaho Central Credit Union