Image courtesy of scottchan​t

By Khalilah Starks

Your gifts and talents will set you free! I believe that the more a person is allowed to use and develop their natural strengths and talents, the more fulfilling and satisfied they will be with their career. People think that money is the answer. They think more money will lead to greater satisfaction. This is so far from the truth. No doubt about it, money is GREAT. And, I aspire to get as much of it as I can. 🙂 While money can certainly be a factor, statistically it has been proven to NOT be a top indicator of career satisfaction. I know lots of people who make lots of money, but hate their jobs. They only keep these jobs because they’re tied to the lifestyle that the job affords them. These are the people who often look forward to Friday and dread the thought of Mondays.

Let’s be clear though. I’m not just talking about people who are working 9 to 5’s. There are lots of entrepreneurs out there who have started businesses that don’t align with their natural strengths and talents. They’re not the happiest either. Something else I’d like to be clear on – I am not “Pro-9 to 5” or “Pro-Entrepreneurship”. Both the 9 to 5 world and entrepreneurship come with its unique challenges and benefits. So, you’ll never hear me say that one is better than the other. Entrepreneurship is best for some people. And, for some, the 9 to 5 world is just fine. What I care most about is seeing people use their natural gifts and talents to rise to the top of their professional game. In my opinion, that is the true path to career happiness and fulfillment.

So, what if you’re struggling to find your path to career bliss? It’s quite possible that you’ve built a career utilizing skills that you were intelligent enough to master as opposed to building a career that would allow you to utilize and enhance your natural talents and gifts. And, it’s quite common to get so focused on mastering those “artificial” skills, that you temporarily forget or lose sight of your own passions, talents and gifts. The great thing is that they still reside in you. They never leave. Instead, they lie dormant until something triggers them or you intentionally awaken them. And, it’s never too late to awaken the sleepy, passionate giant in you.

Here are 4 ways that you can awaken your passions and natural talents so that you light up your path to career happiness and move in the direction of loving what you do:

1. Pay Attention to What People Say. What have you always been complimented on by people that you trust and respect? For example, every boss that I’ve ever had in my professional life has always complimented me on my ability to articulate my thoughts in written form. So, it’s only natural that blogging would be a passion. Ask your mentor, colleagues or friends what they consider your strengths to be. Sometimes people see things in you that you can’t easily see in yourself. This can provide you with great insight on talents and strengths that you may not have considered.

2. Pay Attention To What You Already Do For Free. Our passions and gifts are so easy and natural, that we often overlook them. They’re right under your nose. You’re probably already doing the “work” that you enjoy in some form or fashion because it’s so natural to you. Pay attention to the favors that people ask of you. How does it feel when they ask you? Does it feel good to do it or do you cringe at the thought of it? Remember, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that it’s the right path. For example, I happen to be a pretty good resume writer. So, family and friends always ask me to write their resumes. But, I hate writing them. I find the process to be extremely long and boring. Resume writing would never ever be a career path for me. However, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE giving career advice. And, my friends and family always look to me for this advice. So, I’ve combined my passion for career happiness and my natural writing ability to create High Powered Professional!

3. Pay Attention To What You Talked Yourself Out Of In The Past. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem realistic to follow your passion and utilize your gifts when thinking about a career. Sometimes it can be fearful to contemplate another path even if the path you’re on isn’t so great. Funny how we’d rather travel down an unfulfilling road than try something that feels natural because of fear. Most people hate failing. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of things just because of the unjustified fear of failure. I love the question, “If you could do anything and be guaranteed to succeed, what would it be?” Take some time to think about that question. If you’re being very honest, you might surprise yourself with the answer.

4. Pay Attention To How It Feels. I’m really big on using feelings to determine if something is right. Not everyone can get down with the whole “feeling” thing. But, my feelings have never steered me wrong. If it feels good when you talk about it and if you get excited just thinking about it, how could you not do it? If you can’t stop thinking about it, there’s a reason why. Just do it! You’ll never know unless you follow that feeling. Once you’ve stumbled across your passion, you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from. I’ve been blogging on and off for 5 years. Sometimes, life has called me away. But, no matter what, my heart and the great feeling that I get when thinking about this work will always make me pick up my pen again. 🙂

If you’re currently in a career that allows you to use your natural gifts and talents, you’re quite fortunate. I’d love to hear how you found your path in the comment section below! Help me add to my list!