By Khalilah Starks

There are a lot of things that I’m good at. And, a few that I naturally excel at. The things that I naturally excel at are my gifts. For example, writing is one of my gifts. Writing is something that has always come very easy to me and I love it! So, it makes perfect sense that I love blogging. I’ve always had a passion for helping people advance their careers. So, by writing High Powered Professional blog posts, I get to combine my gift of writing and my passion for helping people navigate their career process. Sweet!

I know people who absolutely love what they do and I know people who are merely existing in their professional roles. For the people who love what they do, it’s a recurring theme – they are using their unique gifts and talents. Work doesn’t seem like work because it comes so naturally. They can’t believe that they actually get paid to do the work that they do. The ones that I know who aren’t as thrilled about their professions, chose their professions based solely on factors such as money, prestige, family expectations or knowing that they could acquire the skills necessary to do the job. Their unique gifts were never taken into consideration.

So, how does one choose a career that fulfills them? My opinion – by choosing a career that allows you to use your gifts! Using your natural gifts will provide greater professional fulfillment than choosing a career based solely on a skill that you’ve developed. Simply being good or able to pick up a skill isn’t good enough. Madonna, Lebron James and Beyonce are all examples of people who have used their gifts to sustain awesome careers. But, athletes and entertainers aren’t the only people who are wildly happy and successful in the careers that they chose. There are accountants, attorneys, entrepreneurs, engineers and sales professionals that love what they do too. It’s their passion.

What’s your passion? What are your gifts? Are you combining your passion and unique gifts in your career? If not, I challenge you to think about your gifts. Recognizing your gifts is the first step in selecting the career that is perfect for you. If you’re not sure about your gift, don’t worry. We all have gifts and I promise that you have them too! Sometimes we focus so much on perfecting a skill or career that isn’t in alignment with our gifts, that we lose sense of what our gifts truly are.

Start thinking about where you thrive. What do you love to do? Are you a wiz with new technologies? Or maybe balancing your checkbook excites you. What are some of the themes that constantly creep into your performance reviews? In almost every performance review, my writing skills were noted as my strength. Ask others what they think your strengths are. Sometimes people see things in us that we don’t even see ourselves. Take a trip down memory lane as far as you can go. When you were a child, was there anything that you loved to do or exceled at? Were you an art fanatic or super creative? Were you always trying to sell something to someone? The self-discovery process can be a lengthy journey, but it’s the first step in finding a career that will allow you to say, “I love what I do!”

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