Through my work with Element3sixty, I have the incredible opportunity to sit down with high school and college students and hear their stories. I enjoy starting my coaching sessions this way because typically a certain word or theme will stand out again and again in a student’s story. This repeated word or theme provides a clue to what energizes them.
For instance, this week I coached a very driven, bright girl who is a senior in high school. Throughout our conversation she repeated the idea that she likes having a lot of projects going on simultaneously because she enjoys making plans. She is involved in several organizations and thrives on leading meetings, building off others’ ideas, and improving plans. She was most excited when she realized that something that has always come naturally or easily (planning and being detailed-oriented) is actually a unique strength that adds value for others.
But it’s not only whether you’re strong in something that is important.
Do you enjoy it? Does it energize you?
Take a look at this Marcus Buckingham video on this point:
You do have a choice.
You can choose to discover where your best is and to act on it, like the little boy in the video who realizes he loves drumming much more than trombone.
It might not be as drastic as a shift as you think. The boy is still in the band, just with a different instrument. Instead, you may just need to position yourself in a situation differently.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to begin uncovering your unique strengths and passions:
- How do you like to be challenged?
- When does time fly by because you’re doing something you love?
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- When was the last time you were really excited?
- What are you most proud of?
- What words do your family, friends, or coworkers use to describe you?