If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “What am I good at?” then you’re not alone. A lot of people ask themselves this question, especially when deciding on a college major or career path. While it seems intuitive that everyone should know what they are good at, there are various ways for how to find what you are good at.
With the help of some intuition, introspection, and resources, you can have the answer in no time!
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10 Steps to Assess Your Strengths
1. Take note of your skillset:
There’s a chance that your past experiences can offer a fair amount of insight into what skills you’re good at. Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, consider what school subjects you’ve naturally excelled in. It’s also useful to take note of volunteer experiences, internships, and more. By doing this, you can find common threads that weave their way throughout all you have accomplished thus far.
2. Feelings of empowerment:
Have you ever finished a task or project and felt powerful because of it? When you have feelings of empowerment based on work you’ve accomplished, take note! When you ignite your passions, you won’t feel like you are working or struggling.
3. Natural talents:
Some people are born to dance. Others are born to create. You have a natural talent, whether you believe it or not. Sometimes, it’s easier for other people to see this than it may be to recognize it in yourself. If you are unsure of what natural talents you may possess, consider asking your closest friends or family members what they think you are really good at.
4. Childhood enjoyment:
Stop and think about growing up for a second. Was there some activity that you enjoyed more than others in your childhood? When we are kids, we have the freedom to do exactly what we want without considering consequences. It’s often in these times that our true self is revealed. If there’s something that you gained enjoyment from as a child, see if you can incorporate it into your job, daily life, or academic career.
5. Ask others:
Take a brief survey of the people in your circle. From teachers and professors to family and friends, other people may see you differently than you see yourself. Since we spend all our lives with ourselves, it can be hard to differentiate what we do better than others. This is especially true of natural talents because they feel easy to you. However, other people may recognize what you do as extraordinary.
6. Find patterns:
Take a recap at how you spend your time and what you gravitate toward. The chances are high that you incorporate things you are good at in your daily life in a myriad of ways. For example, if you have organized kitchen cabinets, clothing closets, and computer files, it’s likely that you have a knack for organization. This type of life skill is beneficial in the workplace and a school setting. It may mean that you would be a good project manager or executive assistant, for example.
7. Be open-minded:
Don’t shut down hobbies or experiences. When you keep an open-mind, you may be able to discover that you are actually good at something you’ve never even tried before. One way to be open-minded in practice is to say yes when someone invites you to try something new. Although you may feel the fear of failure or embarrassment, you can replace those thoughts with the possibility of discovering a new talent.
8. Imagine you had a project:
It’s time to play pretend! Make up a project in your head and outline what steps would be necessary to get it done. Then, assemble an imaginary team. In this thought exercise, you will assess the type of job that you assign to yourself. That job will offer insight into what kind of skills you believe you possess.
9. Remove expectations:
A lot of people forgo what they are good at to please others. Don’t live up to anyone else’s expectations but your own. At the end of the day, it’s your life to live. People-pleasing family and friends will not provide satisfaction in the short or long term.
10. Don’t give up:
When you try new things, you may not immediately be successful. And that’s okay! Things take a lot of time to master. Don’t give up too easily on yourself! Be patient and compassionate when learning something new.
Why is it a Hard Question to Answer?
Knowing what you’re good at seems like it should be obvious. But there are many reasons why it can be challenging.
1. Ignoring compliments:
Compliments may make you feel uncomfortable so you don’t give them much merit. It’s likely that different people have all told you that you are good at the same thing, but you simply shrug it off. Pay attention to the truths that others speak!
2. Dismissing skills:
It could also be that you don’t realize the skills you are practicing when doing something that comes naturally to you. For example, if you tend to write birthday cards and compose text messages quickly and coherently, you’re probably a good writer and communicator. But since these things feel so normal to you, you don’t recognize that it’s actually a skill.
3. Forgetting what you loved:
We tend to forget a lot about our pasts. In our childhood, you may find clues as to what you are good at based on what you used to love.
4. Pleasing others:
When you give up your own desires to appease others, you can find it hard to answer what you are good at. That’s because you’re actively trying to suppress a piece of you that you’ve buried.
5. Liking a lot:
You may also just be good at too many things! In this case, it’s hard to pick just one that you want to focus on because you enjoy it so much.
Questions to Ask Yourself
When planning for your college major and/or career, consider answering the following questions:
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What do I find interesting?
- What do I value?
- What have I committed to?
- Who or what inspires me?
- What did I enjoy doing most as a child?
- What have people complimented me on before?
- Who in my life am I trying to please?
Resources and Ideas to Identify What You’re Good At
There are some more ideas that can help you identify what you’re good at. From online quizzes to coaches, here’s a list of resources that may provide value:
- Take a What Am I Good At quiz
- Career One Stop
- Keep an energy log
- Hire a career coach
- Ask your family/ friends or mentors/teachers what you’re good at
Photo by Olga Guryanova on Unsplash
Why it Matters to Know
Knowing what you’re good at can provide lifelong benefits. Not only will it inspire you to pursue a career you love, but it will lead to satisfaction.
Here’s how knowing what you are good at can help you:
- You will be able to nurture your skills
- You will be more happy and less stressed
- You will find out what is stopping you from doing what you’re good at
- You can pursue a career that is based on your skill set
The Bottom Line
When you know what you are good at, you can spend your time honing your skills. That way, you can create a life that incorporates your skills. You may even be able to directly study what you already love to do and be able to make a career out of it.
Give yourself the time you need to figure out your strengths. Knowing your strengths will also help you recognize your weaknesses. That way, you can work on improving both!