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Everyone’s good at something, right?
So why does it feel like you just can’t find your ‘thing’?
If you’re struggling to find something you’re really good at, and enjoy, you might feel pretty disheartened and frustrated.
After all, knowing what you’re good at can drive so many things in your life, from your career to your interests and hobbies.
We’ve got some great tips on how to discover things you’re good at, so don’t lose hope just yet!
Work your way through our list and use this as a guide for self-reflection. While we can’t tell you what you’re good at, we’re pretty sure you’ll have an answer by the time you finish this article…
1. Try lots of things – and volunteer!
If you don’t know what you’re good, you might have no idea where to start in terms of finding out.
In order to maximize the number of things you’re good at, you’ll need to try your hand at lots of things!
Ultimately, unless you are incredibly gifted (like a 4-year-old child piano prodigy), it’s a numbers game. That means you might try 9 things and realize they’re not for you, but the 10th will just click and you’ll realize you’re a whizz at it.
You might have to think outside the box a bit…
Try a mix of creative activities, like building things, making art, writing – whatever takes your fancy, really.
Do some practical tasks. Start making spreadsheets for random things and playing around with formulas – maybe you can color-code a meal plan and stick in some conditional formatting based on the contents of your pantry.
It might feel excessive, and a bit silly, but you’ll quickly figure out whether or not you enjoy this level of admin and organization.
If not, get active – if you know you love sports, you might enjoy coaching a family member, or giving a free personal training session to a friend, just for fun. You might find that you’re actually great at correcting their form, motivating them to power through the last push-up, and coming up with workout ideas.
If you can, spend some time volunteering. We know this isn’t an option for everyone, but it’s really worth exploring – and for a number of reasons.
It’s great to volunteer in general, and any organization you choose will be happy to have you! It also gives you a chance to try some new things out without the pressure of needing to be good at them because your job depends on it.
Spend some time volunteering with kids, animals, in a book shop, with a charity focused on ending homeless – whatever you can get involved in.
Without the need to be good, you can just let yourself relax into a huge variety of tasks and see what works best for you.
If you don’t click and find something you’re great at, you’ll have had fun along the way and done an amazing deed in your community.
2. Give the things you try enough time.
A lot of us want that instant ‘click’ – the ‘YES, this is for me!’ moment.
In reality, realizing you’re good at something comes from sticking at it for a period of time.
No one is going to be perfect at everything the first time they try it – brilliant if you are, but try to have realistic expectations about this kind of thing.
By giving yourself some time to try new things out, you’re letting go of the pressure that we often put on ourselves to be good at everything. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll know that feeling well!
Instead of fixating on whether or not you’re failing within the first day or so, go into it with the expectation that you’ll need to give it a fair amount of time before you see or feel any results.
Think of it like working out – after a couple of workouts, you might feel a bit deflated because you’re not yet ripped. However, you’d know that you have to be realistic and wait for it to become something you stick at for a while before you get the level of results you want.
Equally, you won’t nail every single new workout video or weightlifting technique straight away – and that’s okay! It takes time to learn how to do things that are new to us, but we’ll see results in the end.
Try to move on from the instant gratification mindset that so many of us have these days.
We live in a world where we rapidly scroll through photos of ‘perfection,’ swipe to find a date within minutes, and order food that arrives within 20 minutes. We’re so used to getting what we want quickly that we forget that some things really do take time.
Give yourself a break and stick at something before calling it quits. Once it clicks, you’ve got a new skill for life – so it’s worth taking your time!
3. Ask your loved ones what they think you’re good at.
If you’re finding it hard to work out what you’re good at, ask around! There’s no shame in asking your loved ones what they think some of your best characteristics are.
They might come up with things you’d never consider, or things you’ve forgotten you enjoyed or succeeded in.
The benefit of this is that you’re getting more of an objective opinion. These people will remember how you felt in certain jobs, different tasks that you thrived in, and challenges that just didn’t suit your personality type or lifestyle.
They’ll be able to help you figure out what you could try simply by having a conversation with you.
You’re likely to be pretty comfortable chatting with them, so you won’t hold back in what you say. As such, some of your subconscious thoughts that you’d normally keep quiet are more likely to surface – always wanted to give acting a go but been too shy to tell anyone? It’ll probably come up in this kind of conversation, and your loved one will give you a big confidence boost to give it a try!
4. Assess your work or college evaluations.
One thing you can do to find out what you are good at is to go through some old work evaluations if you have them.
If your boss or manager reviews your performance, you can take a look at this to see what skills they’ve highlighted.
They might have written notes like ‘great communication skills’ or ‘brilliant at leading the team.’
This kind of insight can then help you shape what new things you try out. You might realize that you’re actually really good at people management, and you can then pursue opportunities within that.
If you’re at college, you’re likely to have a similar evaluation or assessment from your teachers or professors.
They might even be open to a chat about your skill set – they’re there to guide you, after all, so it’s worth a go.
Drop them an email or ask them after class one day. They might see things in your behavior that you wouldn’t have picked up on yourself, like how great you are at motivating everyone in group projects, or how fantastic you are at group presentations or role-playing sessions. Take these insights and run with them!
5. Take online quizzes.
There’s no shame in doing online quizzes for this kind of thing – so have a look at what’s out there.
You’ll find some that ask about your career history so far, some that focus on your passions, and some that give you quick-fire answers that reveal personality traits or key strengths and weaknesses.
These tests aren’t always 100% accurate, of course, but they can give you some guidance and food for thought.
6. Stop overthinking it.
A lot of us are so keen, and sometimes desperate, to find things we’re good at that we get too fixated on the small details.
We want facts and stats, definitive answers that point us in a career-changing, life-altering direction!
This can give us tunnel vision, almost, and means that we’re so fixated on it that we can’t see the bigger picture.
Rather than solely focusing on this, allow yourself to just enjoy the process at times.
Try to think about what you do on a regular basis that you enjoy. Maybe you get compliments on the cakes you bake for your colleagues, or people always comment on your dress sense.
It might be that you love nothing more than watching TV adverts and pointing out how bad they are – I do this all the time, so decided to pursue a career in advertising and TV, because I know that I’m good at it and I care enough to stick at it!
Maybe you’re always helping your friend with their DIY project – you might be a whizz with a power tool and have a great design instinct. Do something with that!
7. Go through your job requirements.
Not sure what you’re good at? Go through the job advert or description for your current role, as well as positions you’ve had recently.
You might realize that the same requirements keep popping up. The fact that you’ve managed to hold down multiple jobs that all require you to be good at presenting, or have a background in accounting shows that these are strengths of yours!
When you stop focusing so much on what you want to be good at, you often forget the skills you’ve already honed simply through doing them a lot and enjoying them enough to stick at them until you’re a pro!
8. Consider job adverts.
Looking at listings for a job you don’t have can be really helpful too. We often forget the things we’re good at and can do because we’re so used to doing them! Comb through some job adverts and look at the skills needed for some of them.
You might see a job that requires someone with experience in retail – and then remember the summer you worked in a store and how much you enjoyed it, or how many times you won ’employee of the month.’
See what triggers your memory, and remember that some of our strengths might not have been used recently, but they’re still there!
9. Forget about money or practical aspects.
When we’re thinking about our strengths, we focus on the practical aspects of them.
You might be incredible at drawing, but always dismiss it as something you’re good at because it doesn’t pay the bills. That doesn’t mean that it’s not something you excel at.
Let go of the ‘conditions’ of being good at something (like being paid to do it, or being famous for having a talent), and focus on the things that you genuinely can do really well.
This list will be very different to the list you hold in your head. We often focus on career-related skills, and forget that our hobbies also count as skills.
Work in statistics but spend your weekends hand-crafting ornaments? That’s because you’re good at hand-crafting ornaments!
Don’t discount something as a strength just because it doesn’t feel like a practical skill.
10. Speak to a careers or guidance specialist.
Of course, there’s always the option to chat to someone who really knows their stuff!
Don’t be scared to talk to a careers specialist, whatever stage you’re at in life.
There’s a misconception that guidance counselors are only for college students or recent graduates. Instead, make the most of this resource and embrace the extra support.
Unlike asking your friends, this person won’t know anything about you yet. When we speak to friends about things, we don’t bother filling in the ‘gaps’ because they already know everything that we’re talking about.
For example, we can say “Oh remember that job I had when I was 20, I don’t want to do that again!” and our friend will remember, so we won’t need to go into detail.
A guidance counselor won’t know the extra details already, so might ask for them. That could lead to you saying “Well, I hated having to manage a team of people” – this will help them work out things you don’t enjoy so that they can then explore what you do enjoy.
You might say “Well, I hated having to manage a team of people – but it was great that I could organize the rota, actually. I forgot how much I loved all the planning” – that’s a revelation you might not have with someone who knows you really well, and it can spark off a whole new conversation that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
All of a sudden, your guidance counselor can recommend a career in event planning, or project management – and that’s something that you might not have discovered otherwise!
As you can probably tell, there’s no one way, or quick-fix, when it comes to working out what you’re good at. Instead, it will take a number of approaches, some open conversations, and a lot of patience!
Remember that you absolutely are good at lots of things – they might not all be billionaire-dollar career paths, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t count as skills you have.
By chatting to people who know you best, and people who don’t know you at all, you can take steps to discovering what skills you have.
It’s normal to take some time to get good at things, so don’t be disappointed if you try a random new thing and don’t perfect it within 5 minutes.
Give yourself a chance to be good at something, have some faith in yourself, and don’t be scared to keep trying new things! Something will click, and it will have been so worth the time and effort.
Still not sure what you are good at? Want some one-to-one help to find out? Speak to a life coach today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one.
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