Strengths – What Makes Your Heart Sing?

The quote below is from John C. Maxwell’s The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.

quote for today

Discovering what you are made for is tricky.  But I love the first point here. Rely on your experience.  Taking a good inventory of YOU is the first step to figuring out what will make your heart sing and also what makes your heart sink.

One of the inventories I’ve used is the Strengths Finder assessment – you can find it here:

Strengths Finder 2.0 (purchase a new copy of the book to be sure to have an access code).

My first introduction to strengths assessments was through this book by Marcus Buckingham and it is still also a favorite (also be sure to have a new copy of book to ensure having a test code): Now, Discover Your Strengths.

Here’s an example of one of my strengths and a small summary:

strengths assessment result

Marie Forleo has a great video about the value of these types of assessments to – as she puts it – discover your special gifts (even if you don’t think you have any):

Another assessment I found recently, that gives you a decent  sneak peek at your “Fascination Advantage” before getting the option to pay for the full interpretation of results (even the preview is quite helpful!). & use the code ICONSHARE

Here’s an example of my results (which get drilled down even farther):my results fascinator

You can see from these examples that even one assessment can give you powerful tools to use to understand and especially COMMUNICATE what makes you unique and valuable.  It’s like having your own personal advertising agency – one that helps you craft your own unique marketing pitch.  

Doug Mayes

Ask a Career Coach: Doug Mayes

Starting today, and occurring occasionally, I’ll be sharing interviews with career coaches and human resource professionals – showcasing insights they have on getting a job in today’s marketplace.  Today I spent some time speaking with Doug Mayes, North Carolina State MBA, Career Management Center, Assistant Director and Career Coach.  He has a great gift for boiling down what matters in a job search and has often influenced my approach for helping job seekers.

Me:  What do people need to understand about looking for a job?

Doug: I think you need to understand two big things – and these understandings are quite involved in getting to actually.

  • First and foremost you need to understand what you want out of a job.  It can be quite a process, but anybody can arrive at that through reflection and introspection and talking to other people. And sometimes through the help of a mentor or coach.
  • Chunk two is understanding what the marketplace has a need for and how you can bring your skills to bear in the marketplace in a way that is compelling and makes people take notice.

To me, if there’s any trick to  it – and I’m not sure that there is – looking for a job is an exercise in communication.  It is a matter of how you understand your value and communicate it in a way that resonates with the audience you’re speaking to.

Me: What do recruiters want from a candidate?

Doug: To speak in the most broad of terms, they want people who can help them solve the problems they face in their business.  You can usually put those problems in a couple of buckets.

  • The first bucket or problem is growing the business and making more money.
  • Problem number two is often saving time or the limiting of money spent poorly — growth in efficiency.

How can we make more money and how can we do it in a more efficient way?  People offer that value in a thousand different ways, but most business problems roll up in to one of those two things.

Me: Why should people reach out to a career coach?

Doug: A good coach can help you in a variety of ways.  I think that they can help you reach clarity about which path you want to go down.  And that’s hard, because most smart people can do a variety of things. So to have the sounding board, somebody who can listen and stimulate some thought – that’s a great reason to talk to a coach.

Another reason to talk to a coach is for inspiration and motivation when you feel demoralized by the mechanical process of finding a job.  I can’t think of any kind of system that is set up to grind on people more than that system – and there are better ways to do it, and that is some of the value that a good coach brings.

The third reason to reach out to a coach is when you are trying to navigate the decision of weighing job offers.  Often a good coach can help you walk through the pros and cons and give you permission to make the decision that you wanted to make in the first place.

Me: Why are you a career coach?

Doug: We spend a tremendous amount of our lives at work. And if people can find a way to find meaningful work for them as they define it for themselves.  This is not about me prescribing something.  This is about a journey that at the end of it – you come up with a more fulfilling life.  I think if more people did that, the world would be better.  I was lucky in that, I have a gift of being able to listen to people and understand where they are coming from and help them reframe their situation in such a way that they look at their lives differently.  I want to help people and I want to help them craft a better life for themselves.  And I can do that in this setting; all day, every day.

Me: What is your favorite business book?

Doug: This is a tough question for me, because I generally don’t read very many business books.  My inspirations often come from other places (like biographical works and the news).  But, I like studying the context in which business happens.  I have  a sociology degree and love economics and I love the environment that business is in.  I think Malcolm Gladwell gives us some pretty interesting things to think about. Outliers is an interesting book, because it teaches us to look at the environment we grow up in – it is about the context of success. So it is a discussion of all of the many things that have to line up in order for a person to be successful.

Check in for more interviews soon or reach out if you have a professional you’d like to suggest for an interview. –