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Self-Knowledge: The Key To Finding The Right Career Direction

Your career, like any journey, has a beginning, an end and a direction. For many people, the present direction of the career is probably not a result of entirely their own choices. If, for some reason, you are not happy with the direction of your career, there is a way out: Take charge of your career and change its direction.

1. Know yourself

Has it happened with you that after desperately looking for something (e.g., keys) all over the place, you eventually found it right in your pocket or drawer?

That's exactly the case with finding a new career direction. Usually, we try to search for a new career direction by looking all around, for example, at hot jobs, emerging fields, prestigious companies, friend's career, what's safe and so on. Ironically, we fail to look for the answer where it actually lies: inside us.

The secret of finding the right career direction is not to look outside but to look inside. Know yourself and you will automatically know the right direction for your career.

2. Dig deeper

Most people define themselves is terms of what they write in their resumes. That's just the tip of the iceberg. To really know yourself, dig deeper and uncover your:

(a) Strengths


(b) Personality


(c) Values


(d) Interests

(a) Strengths

Your strength is what you do well and enjoy doing it. We never fail to admire strengths in top athletes, painters, writers, leaders but fail to ask "What is my strength?"

Strengths have a solid connection with a person's career. According to Peter Drucker, a person can only perform from his strength. In other words, mediocrity is guaranteed if we fail to use our strengths. So know your strengths and get into a career that allows you to leverage your strengths to the maximum.

Discover your strengths by asking:


  • What am I good at and also enjoy doing?

  • What makes me feel energized?

  • What comes naturally and easily to me?


(b) Personality

Personality is the sum total of a person's behavioral, temperamental and emotional traits. For example, some people are by nature extrovert and enjoy meeting other people. But some people are born introvert and feel more comfortable when left alone.

Studies show a direct link between a person's personality and his career. Indeed, if you are an extrovert person, you would do well in roles such as sales, marketing, public relations. But an introvert person would be better off in roles that do not require public dealing.

To know your personality in detail and its implications on your career, appear at personality tests such as Myers Briggs Test Instrument (MBTI).

(c) Values

Values are what you consider important and valuable. Values differ from person to person and can range from things like money, prestige and power to more subtle things like respect, harmony and independence.

Your values hint towards the kind of work that will suit you. For example, if you value "achievement, "you would do well in roles that regularly throw challenges at you. Someone else, however, may value "helping others" and, therefore, would do well in occupations that provide an opportunity to serve others.

To know your values, ask yourself what is important to you, make a list and prioritize the items. You can also use value inventories on the Internet to identify your values.

(d) Interests

Should the work be interesting? Yes, for an important reason: If your work arouses your interest, you are going to do well. History shows that great achievers always pursued what fascinated them. Akio Morita shunned the option of joining the family business of sake brewing to pursue what he was interested in: an electronics start-up. And he created Sony.

Doing the work that interests you can have a lasting impact on your career. To uncover your interests, find out what fascinates you and draws your attention.

Knowing your strengths, personality, values and interests is like having a compass with its needle pointing towards the right direction for your career.

Atul Mathur © 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Atul Mathur is a career coach and author of the ebook "The Secret Of Finding The Right Career Direction."

Web site: http://atulmathur.com

atul@atulmathur.com


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