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How to identify your favourite, transferable skills and talents

October 25th, 2016

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Pay attention to what you love

“Love is not only something you feel. It’s something you do.”
~ David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church, New York City
I often receive emails from people and responses to my Happy at Work survey asking me how can they identify their favourite transferrable skills and talents?

As I shared in Mid-Life Career Rescue: What Makes You Happy one of the fastest and simplest ways is to boost your awareness of the times you are doing something you love.

As author Barbara Sher writes, “If you don’t pay attention to what you love, you could overlook your greatest gifts! That love is the sure-fire indicator of hidden gifts, and it is the only way to find them. Skills don’t count. They’re just abilities that were useful enough to be developed. Gifts often haven’t had the chance to be developed and because of that we’re fooled into thinking they don’t exist.”

People often think that unless they have received formal training or gained experience on the job, or have a piece of paper like a degree, then they don’t have any skills.

This is not true! The world is full of people who have achieved great things without formal training. Sometimes the best course of study is to teach yourself.

How many times have you heard of people who gained a qualification and were then told they lacked practical experience, or that they had to go and unlearn everything an academic institution had taught them?

I’m not knocking formal training. And in some professions, it’s essential. But not all career paths require certification, or on the job experience.

Van Gogh was a self-taught artist. He used his passion and natural ability with colour and creativity to paint wonderful masterpieces that send hearts racing and are worth millions of dollars today.

From an early age my brother Hadyn was wheeling and dealing. He has not done an MBA or had any formal training in business. Instead he uses his natural entrepreneurial skills to create many successful business ventures. He tried going to University, but  quit because he felt academics were out of touch with reality.

A client of mine trained as a textile designer and, despite a lack of formal training in kitchen design, has successfully combined her passion for beautiful design, and her natural creative ability, into a successful career as an award-winning kitchen designer.

My mother has done the same thing, quitting a job she hated as a legal conveyancer in her 50’s, then—after buying into a franchise, she set up her own shop as an interior designer. All with no formal training. A passion for design, a natural talent for creating beauty, a gift for knowing what looks good, and how to market her services, and loving making her clients happy, have seen her become very successful.

Now in her 70’s, she’s shut her physical store and runs her business from the comfort and beauty of her home. I share more of her story and her practical strategies for building a beautiful business in Mid-Life Career Rescue:Employ Yourself

Your Challenge

What gives you joy? What do you love doing? What would you do for free? Answering these questions and noticing the times you feel excited, alive, or in love with doing or being something, are vital signs confirming you are on the path with heart.

Brainstorm or list all the possible ways people make a living from your favourite skills. Build your list by using generative thinking skills,and open questions like: what, where, why and how?  If you get stuck do some research and ask your way to success.

You’ll also find some practical and inspired strategies in Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love  and The Art of Success: Leonardo Da Vinci

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