"The average 17-year-old possesses 400 transferable skills."
A transferable skill is any talent, skill or capacity we have developed that can be applied in other ways. And that's the good news for developing meaningful work and career satisfaction through a dream career.
I've often found it interesting that there is such a wide range of career talent among people. Some are 'born musicians'; some love mathematics; others love systems and processes; some love creating beautiful interior design, and so on, almost infinitely.
Talents can certainly be developed, but they are born from our interests and aptitudes. For example, the 15-year-old son of a friend of mine has always been interested in spatial design. He's considering, architecture, engineering or dentistry as a career.
When he's showing me his designs, he is excited and interested. Every detail is interesting to him. And he can't wait to share his designs with as many people as possible.
How he applies his eye for space and design is yet to be determined, but it is clear he will not choose music as a career, for example, even though he plays piano.
When we are young and the world is still new, we allow our enthusiasm for possibilities to surface. As with my young friend, they tend to surface more clearly when we are in adolescence.
In contrast, I have a client who has several degrees. But none of those degrees is a career 'fit' for her. She is only now beginning to assess what her real career talents are and how she would like to apply them to meaningful work in the future.
If we've acquired 400 transferable skills by the time we're 17, we've amassed many more transferable skills by the time we're 35 or 50! Sometimes the challenge is that we are using only a small portion of our transferable skills, or we are using the 'wrong' ones for where we are now on our life journey. Or, maybe there are latent skills to be developed knocking at our door.
These are all reasons why we may feel a sense of unease or 'staleness' in our career. Specialists in adult development theory tell us that even as adults, we want to continue to develop and grow our career aptitudes, use them in new ways and keep growing until the end of our lives.
So, if you're a bit stuck, thinking you're marking time and you don't have much work satisfaction in what you are doing every day, go back in time and ask yourself these questions:
1 - What did I want to be when I was in Junior High?
2 - What project or job did I have the most fun ever doing?
3 - What would I willingly do for a year for no pay (assuming my needs were taken care of)?
4 - In my past jobs, what 3 things did I enjoy doing the most?
5 - What did I always want to learn but haven't yet?
6 - What philanthropy would I start if I had the money and didn't have to worry about money?
7 - Do I like working best with people, things or data?
8 - What have people always told me I'm good at?
9 - What is easy for me, but hard for others?
10 - What contribution would I like to make before I die?
These questions and others can help you uncover what you are good at (your transferable skills). You can also list every job you've had and list the things you did, then pull out the career aptitudes you used in accomplishing that task or project.
For example, if you were in charge of your company's internal United Way Campaign, you might have called on career skills like organization, motivation, communication, writing, special event planning, tracking finances, etc. But you might also have used career skills like that as PTA president as well.
Everything we do requires that we use skills and talents. The problem for most of us is we tend to dismiss or diminish what we did and not realize how these transferable skills may become useful career skills.
So whether you want to refresh your resume, look for a dynamite new job, or launch yourself into an exciting search for meaningful work and that dream career that provides deep work satisfaction, the first place to begin is with those transferable skills. That's where you can begin to identify your career fit.
Start making your list today. You may be amazed at the talents and skills that are revealed. And what an esteem-booster it will be for you to claim just how much you have to offer the world.
I have always believed that the Universe is never stingy when handing out talent and ability. So, delve into yours to see what you're made of and what you might still become.
You can have career satisfaction. It's waiting for you!
Anita Web Weaver is the owner of Design to Shine Consulting, offering coaching, mentoring and speaking services to help people shine, no matter what, in their career, their life and their health.