During this circuit breaker period, I was contemplating on my career options and directions moving forward in the post-COVID-19 world. Even though I did not lose my job during this crisis, I wanted to re-examine my career choices. I could make good use of this lockdown period to enhance my career portfolio by upgrading my skillsets based on my strengths.
Re-examining your career path
This is the perfect opportunity to relook into your portfolio and take up online courses to further your learning. Whether there is COVID-19 or not, we still need to remain open to continuous learning. Whether you are employed or unemployed, it is good to re-evaluate your career options every now and then.
Of course, you can make use of this lockdown period to pick up a new skill hobby. Other than fulfilling your other learning desires, you should also look into your strengths and find ways to strengthen them. If you are out of a job and had no idea what to do next, find out what you are good at and what defines you. Maybe you are a freelancer but suddenly found yourself out of jobs to do due to this pandemic. How are you able to tap on your strengths and diversify your job scope?
Your strengths and weaknesses change with time.
Our strengths and weaknesses make us unique. But as we grow, so will our strengths and weaknesses change. As the society progresses, what we value as strengths in the past could be classified as a weakness today. Even jobs come and go. Some jobs are disappearing and turning obsolete. At the same time, new jobs are being created as the world advances. Because things don’t remain status quo, we should revisit our strengths and learn tap on them purposefully.
Finding your strengths
One way of doing so is to do a personality test or talent assessment to assess your strengths. Two years ago, I was introduced Don Clifton’s StrengthsFinder test (which has recently rebranded to CliftonStrengths assessment). At my workplace, we were given a StrengthsFinger 2.0 book from Gallup. And inside the book is a unique access code which allows us to perform the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment.
CliftonStrengths Assessment reveals your top 5 strengths
Everyone at my workplace did the test and sat for the extensive questionnaire which asks us to determine our likes, dislikes, work habits and daily behaviours. I was so glad that I did the test because I never knew the importance of uncovering my strengths until I did the test and attended for Strengthsfinder course.
This comprehensive assessment was invented by Don Clifton. Clifton was deemed as the father of strengths psychology and though he is no longer alive together, his test and findings still remain true till today. This test will uncover your unique rank of their 34 CliftonStrengths themes. I find the 34 CliftonStrengths themes are some of the more sought after competencies in today’s workplace. As such, I find this test more suitable for working adults than students.
These 34 CliftonStrengths themes are further categorise into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship building and Strategic thinking.
After I did the test, they ranked the 34 CliftonStrengths for my profile and highlighted my top 5 strengths.
My Top 5 Strengths
I could not agree more. Sometimes I know what I am good at but I simply can’t find the exact words to describe my strengths. But through this test, I was able to identify specifically what my generic strengths are. These are not our skillsets or raw talents but our core personality traits which reflect our innate characters that were shaped by our raw talents and experiences.
What’s your definition of strength?
According to CliftonStrengths, Strength is defined as ‘the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance’. It makes me wonder if we should be measuring our strengths relative to humans’ expectations of perfect performance, or against our innate abilities. I would definitely choose the latter because humans’ definition of perfection changes from time to time. We should be accepting and valuing what we are blessed with because each of us has a different purpose in life.
What to do with my strengths?
1. Trust yourself and invest time in growing your strengths.
Knowing what my top 5 strengths are have made me more confident as a person as I know what to focus on in order to contribute to my workplace. Based on my top 5 strengths, it seems like I had the potential to lead a successful team. I do like to look at everyone’s unique trait and seek ways to help them grow. I am hardworking and I can push myself to accomplish important tasks at work because I love the word ‘completion’. My head is full of ideas and I enjoy creating content and seeing my ideas come to life.
I have never thought of myself as a team leader at work as I always think that I do not possess any leadership qualities. However, knowing that I had these five strengths which would propel me forward in my career, I knew I had to seek for opportunities in areas where I could lead a team. Taking a leadership role could be something I can look forward to. These days, I try to read up on books about leadership and hopefully I would be able to gain more perspectives about what good leadership is and further strengthen my capabilities.
2. Find your strength to find what excites you.
I have always wanted to be my own boss but I never knew that it was because of the strengths that I have. Naturally, when you put your strengths into practice, you will find yourself energised and excited about work. Thus when you find that your 9-to-5 work becomes mundane and lost the motivation to go to work, it is probably because you are not tapping on your strengths.
But when you know about your strengths and how to tap on them, you will find yourself excited about the job you are doing. Very often, it is not the job itself but how you are able to mould yourself to maximise your potential and at the same time, contribute to your company.
3. Try to tap into as many strengths as you can.
Suppose your current job only taps on 3 of your strengths, so what do you do with your other two strengths? Are you able to make use of it in your daily life? Perhaps you can take up a volunteering role, a side job or even a hobby which allows you to exercise your strengths. Side hustling seems to be the norm these days. Come to think of it, I am also using my blog as a platform to exercise one of my strengths – ideation. Because I use my social media channels as a platform to express ideas and thoughts.
Can’t wait to identify your strengths?
I strongly urge you to find out what your strengths and find back your mojo. You do not actually have to spend money to do the CliftonStrengths assessment. What you can do is to read up on the 34 CliftonStrengths themes on the Strengths School website. Then, pick out the strengths which you can identify with. Another alternative is to search for other StrengthsFinder assessment alternatives which is available for free. You can attempt the High 5 test which is an alternative to the StrengthsFinder test. They have a different set of themes but it is still a good tool to find out what your strengths are.
But the best way is to reflect and list down the things that define you. What excites you? What are you good at? How to make yourself fulfilled and satisfied with work? Write them down in your journal because it helps us to process our thoughts better. And promise me, don’t let your age or experiences limit your career path which God has paved for you. He is the one true strength that will supply all your needs.