How to Find Your Career Oxygen

Consider your strengths – the skills that you truly can’t live without – the life blood of your professional world.

by Caroline Dowd-Higgins • Member { View Profile }
Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered." She is the Director of Career & Professional Development and an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

If you find yourself thinking in the future, anticipating the activity — When can I do this again? — that is a pretty good sign that you are using a talent and playing to your strength. If you dread an activity and can’t wait for it to be over, you are probably not using a natural talent. A weakness is any activity that leaves you feeling weak — an activity that bores you, or frustrates you, or drains you. We are all human and recognize our weaknesses, but minimize them and maneuver around them so you are in control. Your professional goal is to reduce weakening activities to 25 percent of your day.

What I Know For Sure

To borrow a coined phrase from Oprah, what I know for sure about strengths has revolutionized the way I work with my students and clients on their career and professional development journeys.

—  You have wonderful and powerful strengths.

—  You make your greatest contribution when you play to your strengths.

—  Playing to your strengths should be as natural as breathing and fill you with energy.

As we progress through 2012, I challenge you to own your strengths. Use your natural gifts and talents and make them even better. Playing to your strengths with energize you and give you more satisfaction in your career. Whether you are job searching, seeking promotional opportunities, or going through a major career reinvention – it all starts with identifying your strengths. This is your career oxygen — breathe deeply!

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