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How to figure out what you’re good at (not just what you’re passionate about)

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Doing what we’re passionate about is a universal aspiration. The only problem with it is that sometimes the thing we love the most isn’t what we do best. This doesn’t mean your dream is over. You just need to figure out how to make it happen using the skills you do possess. Imagine you always wanted to be an architect: you can expand your options if you also consider 3D digital design. Sure, your dream will be tweaked and altered; but at the end of the day you’ll be still doing what you’re passionate about.

 

Thankfully, today’s digital environment offers you the opportunity to explore the path that’s right for you. To carve it you have to examine what’s brought you joy and fulfillment in the past. Follow the breadcrumbs to figure out what you’re meant to do. These four questions might be useful.

 

What skills have helped you thrive?

 

Think about situations that challenged you and how you sorted them out. Is there a common thread? If so, that’s something that you’re good at. Try to figure out which field or position those skills are best suited for.

 

What makes you feel strong?

 

“Take note of the times when you feel invigorated, inquisitive, and successful. These moments are clues to what your strengths are,” says Marcus Buckingham, author of Now, Discover Your Strengths. Consider also situations when you feel overloaded and what you did to be in control. That’s what makes you feel strong.

 

What made you stand out as a child?

 

As children we do what we love to do, no matter how odd we seem to others. When you look back on childhood pastimes, you are likely to discover an innate talent.

 

What compliments do you tend to ignore?

 

All too often, we overlook our own strengths. Just because something comes easily or seems obvious, it doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to someone else. Keep your ears open for compliments that you habitually dismiss—you’ll find skills you feel as natural as breathing.

 

Your passion is rooted in who you are and what you have to offer the world. Your job is how you express that passion on a daily basis. Your passion may stay the same; your job can change.