Skills: A Key to Career Alignment


January 5, 2016

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
• What five skills give you the most energy?
• What skills do you frequently engage in that drain you?
• Do you focus more on building skills you lack or strengthening skills you enjoy?
• How could you increase your usage of the skills that give you the most energy on a daily basis?

It’s amazing how a short exercise like this can offer a new perspective. In the area of skill analysis, we often spend our time focusing on our level of aptitude rather than enjoyment. Sadly, doing what we do well, over and over, generally leads to burnout. Skills need to be evaluated and enriched on a regular basis to maintain optimum levels of engagement.

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When working with (clients, employees students) consider the following exercises or activates to help them focus on the skills that are currently most enjoyable:

Exercise One: Think back to the three most enjoyable experiences of your life. What were you doing when you were enjoying those experiences? Make a list of the activities or behaviors I would have observed if I was watching you.

The key to success with this activity is to get the (client, employee, student) to describe activities rather that “what happened”. The behaviors will lead you to the skills this individual has enjoyed historically over their lifetime.

Exercise Two: Write a job description or consultant assignment that would provide you with the optimum level of satisfaction. Describe the top five skills you would be using and that would fit into your ideal work situation.

Doing exercise one and two in sequence can show how skills have evolved or illuminate skills that have never been developed. A future focus can pin point what need to be developed or learned. The combination of both can help align career goals with work that will be truly rewarding and engaging. Remember thought that skills do “wear out”. For many, this exercise that needs to be repeated every two years—keeping the career alive.