What are you taking for granted?

light shining through trees in forestDo your friends, family, work colleagues seek you out when they want something to be ‘properly organised’, ‘when they need a shoulder to cry on’ or ‘when they need someone to take a stand’?

Are you the ‘go to ‘person when things need to get ‘sorted’?

If the answer is yes, it is possible that your friends, family and colleagues are seeing something in you that you might be taking for granted.

It may be that there are things that you do so well that to you they seem just like ‘breathing’. Something so natural that when asked to describe it, the best you can come up with is, “it’s just what I do”.  To you it hardly seems worth noticing.

If you are beginning to recognise this in yourself, then it might be time for you to ‘sit up’ and start taking greater notice of ‘what you do’ and how this relates to the strengths and skills you have.

I know this from my own experience, I spent many years noticing what people did exceptionally well and often thinking and wishing that I could be the same. Until I had a ‘light bulb moment’ and realised that what I do is spot ‘talent’ in others’. This realisation now allows me to fully enjoy and appreciate what other people do well, without reference to me.

In my line of work as a career coach, I meet people who seem almost oblivious to the strengths and talents they have. In today’s world I think it is perhaps even more important than ever to be able to say, clearly, concisely and with conviction what you do well and why.

It seems to be that without a strong sense of your strengths and particular skills; you won’t necessarily put yourself in the best place to take full advantage of opportunities as they come along.

So how do you start to get a handle on what makes you special?

To start with think about two or three positive events in your life, they don’t have to be enormous or memorable to anyone else, just something that was particularly significant to you, something where you gained some measure of personal satisfaction and success.

Talk through the events with a friend, and see what skills and strengths emerge. If you had to organise something, did you need to be particularly tenacious, did you have to persevere, be brave, compassionate? If you were called to deliver a talk at the last minute, were you able to quickly organise and present your ideas in a coherent way, field questions, present confidently and with style?

Make a list of the strengths and skills that emerge, quite often the process of ‘talking out loud’ will trigger further insights into why the event meant so much to you and what contributed to your success and satisfaction.

You may find that it is the personal strengths that make the difference ‘your courage’ may have surprised you, your ‘ability to adapt quickly’ or your ‘creativity’ in the face of adversity.

Once you have your list you may notice a pattern emerging and begin to appreciate what your friends, family and colleagues have known about you all along.

Adapted http://www.careerresilience.wordpress.com, blog post May 2012