HUMAN NETWORK: Advancing in Your Ideal Career

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Jane is an amazing photographer, but after her family’s holiday party she was offered a job in her sister-in-law Kerry’s company calling clients to collect on invoices. No one in Jane’s family feels her photography skills are going to help her earn a living for herself. After several months of Jane working at Kerry’s company, both Jane and Kerry have had enough of each other. Jane once again feels like a total failure. And Kerry has an even bigger problem than before with clients not paying on time.

What are some lessons to learn from this scenario? There are, of course, the standard cautionary tales about hiring your family. But more importantly, this scenario shows the consequences of failing to draw from your innate strengths in choosing your career path. In this month’s Know How Network column, we explain 3 ways Jane could find a more fulfilling and lucrative career by using her innate strengths:

1. Leverage your innate strengths — even if those closest to you have no appreciation for who you are (which is more often than not the case).
Every single one of us has unique strengths that, when used correctly, help us create more success, fulfillment, and happiness in life. The more you know how to build off your strengths, the more value you create for both yourself and others. To discover your innate strengths, take the Strength Finder Assessment at our website, http://www.cheetahlearning.com.

2. Use your innate strengths to better learn, get things done, and build off others’ innate strengths.
Who you are, when used in targeted and focused ways, can enable you to succeed in ways that are unique to only you. Success means something different for each of us, but what is universal about “success” is that it is the expression of how well we are using our innate talents. Don’t just use the closest and most available person to take on your biggest challenges (like Kerry did). Jane needs to seek out those opportunities where she can develop the skills required to make it as a professional photographer. While learning how to collect on delinquent accounts is a valuable skill, if you don’t set up your business correctly, it’s not the best use of an aspiring photographer’s talents.

3. Find and create better opportunities based on your innate strengths.
Jane here is the one at the family party who stages some amazing group photographs. But her family generally thinks she needs to just give up on it and get a “real” job. Think about the “ugly swan” metaphor here — when you work in alignment with your innate strengths, you are able to seek out opportunities that better fit who you really are. This takes some inside information about who you are and how to make who you are create value for others.

Can you imagine a career that is aligned with the best of who you are, the people you prefer to be around, the work you prefer to do, when and where you prefer to do this work, and in which you achieve results you know you are capable of achieving if only you had the necessary support?

This can be your reality. With the right insights into your innate strengths, along with skills to best use your strengths in coordination with the development and implementation of a feasible plan that works for you, you can succeed in a career best suited to who you are. Take Cheetah’s Career Strength Finder Assessment (http://www.cheetahlearning.com) to see how you could best use your innate strengths to advance your career.

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About Author

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses. Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Congress. Michelle is recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. For more information, visit www.cheetahlearning.com.

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