An Archaeological Dig: Identify Your Motivated Skills for Career Choice

Do you know what motivates you and moves you? Does it matter whether you choose a career in which you feel totally engaged and in the flow—maybe where you lose track of time? Definitely! You are more likely to be satisfied and successful in a job when you align yourself with roles that connect to your motivated skills. There is a lot of pressure to pick a career and figure out what you’re going to do with your lives post-graduation. The process of deciding on a career can be overwhelming, maybe even paralyzing at times, but it doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. While identifying your strengths and interests are an important part of finding a good career fit, in addition to examining your personality traits and values, it is even more essential to discover your patterns of motivation. How do you do that, though?

In order to find a career where you will be highly motivated, begin with an archaeological dig on yourself, starting with an investigation into your childhood and early adult years. Reflect back over the course of your life and identify a minimum of 5-7 achievements, no matter how small or big. As you reflect on your past, bring to light any and all accomplishments—even as small as creating a lemonade stand as a kid, to being a companion to an elderly neighbor, to transforming operations within your department, or perhaps, significantly optimizing systems or motivating a team. Once you write these accomplishments down, look for the common thread in all of those stories and pay attention to potential themes that emerge. Take note of those observations. Then, ask yourself the following questions for each accomplishment:

1.What was the outcome?

2.Were there any obstacles, or challenges, you had to overcome in the process? How so?

3.What was the payoff, meaning: what did you ultimately get out of the experience?

4.What was the most satisfying part of the accomplishment/experience?

5.Describe how you felt in the midst of the achievement, even before or afterwards?

6.What essential skills were you utilizing in the achievement that you most enjoyed using? While completing this exercise won’t yield specific jobs, per se, you will start to see a clear theme of what elements you will need in a job to be satisfied and happy. Now you can start evaluating job descriptions for the skills you’ve identified from your achievements.

By Carolyn Sommers

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