I can’t tell you how many people I meet who are not sure they have met their true calling. I see this in people from all walks of life – from people in transition all the way to people at the executive level. After teaching, training and coaching hundreds of people over the years I have seen a common thread. People who have not matched their character and professional strengths with their life’s work continue to feel unsettled and under-fulfilled.
I advise all of my clients to focus on what their life will look like not next week or next month but at the end of the journey. I have them draw a sketch on paper of what they want their life to look like in three to five years or longer – their “Success Sketch”. And I advise them to hang that where they will see it everyday. But it is hard to draw a “Success Sketch” if your mind is “stuck” on the frozen frame of today.
So how do you “unstuck” the bind of habit and reach for something new when you don’t know what to reach for? How do you create new dreams when the dream bank is coming up empty? Do something that will remove you from the everyday routine and open the door to new dreams.
There are several free online evaluation tools that can help you assess your strengths and use them as a reference in career exploration. These tools are very helpful for jumpstarting career fulfillment hope.
VIA Institute on Character – Character Survey
The 240 question evaluation elicits your unique constellation of strengths and identifies your top 5 signature strengths – those you most frequently express. The survey takes about 30 to 45 minutes and is free. A more detailed report is available for a small fee.
LiveCareer.com – Career Test
There are a lot of advertisements throughout this free and detailed evaluation but the Occupations Fit Graph and Strengths Lists are very helpful.
CareerBuilder.com – Several Career Tests
These short evaluations are free and include: Career Planner quiz, Job Satisfaction Quiz, Job Discovery Wizard and much more.
How do these evaluations help? Many ways. If your top six Character Strengths are Love of Learning, Curiosity and Interest in the World, Social Intelligent, Leadership and Zest/Enthusiasm then you are reminded that you thrive in a position where you can try new things and influence others in a group setting. Conversely, if you are in a role where you have little ability to affect change or chorale consensus on an important issue you are going to have a hard time feeling fulfilled. Then you might want to ask yourself if the role you are in is the problem or the organizational culture. You may enjoy your role more if you were in another organization that gave you more ability to self-actuate.
You may find that you are strong in the Work Style areas of Persuasiveness and Assertiveness but not in the area of being Systematic. I am not a fan of concentrating on developing your weak areas. Play to your strengths. Surround yourself with people who have your weaknesses as their strengths. Seek opportunities where you can shine as an influencer and use your assertiveness to negotiate deals that no one else can do. Start now!
Follow Mary Lee’s tips on Twitter at StartingOverNow.
Mary Lee Gannon is a cultural turnaround and leadership expert who went from being a stay-at-home mother with four children to a difficult marriage, divorce, homelessness, and welfare to CEO. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available on Amazon.com and details how she went from an earning capacity of $27,000 annually to president and CEO within just a few years. Visit her Web site at www.StartingOverNow.com.