10 Ways To Find What You're Good At (With Tips To Keep in Mind)
Updated July 5, 2023
If you're working toward success in your career, finding what you're good at can help you market yourself to employers and seek out jobs in which you're likely to thrive. Some job candidates may be skillful at managing people or providing customer service, while others may have strong technical or creative skills. Learning what skills you have can make it easier to focus your efforts and achieve your goals.
In this article, we explain the importance of knowing your strengths and talents, explore how to find what you're good at and offer some tips to consider.
Why is it important to find what you're good at?
Here are some reasons it's important to discover what you're good at:
It can help you refine your focus. Finding your skills, your strengths and your passions can provide a sense of purpose and direction that brings new focus to your life and provides stability in times of uncertainty.
It can improve your productivity. When you know your skills, you can make effective use of your time and energy by completing your best quality of work with a high level of efficiency.
It can help you find a satisfying career. Knowing what you're good at can help you determine a suitable industry to enter. In your newfound role in this industry, you can find professional satisfaction and fulfillment when you can complete your expected duties to a high standard.
It can increase your confidence. When you're exercising your strongest skills, you can be more confident in your skills. Others can better see what you are passionate about, what you are capable of and where you exceed the abilities of those around you.
How to find what you're good at
The key to finding what you're good at is remembering that you do have strengths, whether you've identified them yet or not. Here's a list of things you can do to help figure out what you're good at:
1. Reflect on your past accomplishments and feedback
Think about memorable moments from your past, like influential conversations, people who've praised your character and even feedback your teachers gave during parent-teacher conferences. These moments can help you understand what others think about your strongest skills. Reflect on these questions to start the reflection process:
What skills have helped me thrive?
What makes me feel capable?
What traits do I have that distinguished me from my peers as a child?
What compliments do I tend to ignore?
What positive feedback do I often receive from others?
What is my natural reaction when I encounter an obstacle?
You can also reflect on the skills that you showed in the earlier stages of your life. If you showed promise at something a long time ago, you may still have these skills and competencies. Try them out and see if they feel more familiar than you might have anticipated.
2. Identify what you love to do
If you enjoy doing something, you may be good at it because of all the effort you've dedicated to it. Think of the things you love to do, and see if they lead to tangible skills. For example, if you enjoy writing, you may have an aptitude for proofreading and detecting errors in others' work.
3. Take an assessment
As you begin to explore your skills, you may benefit from taking a personality assessment. These targeted assessments use methods of psychology to identify your personality type, which is a collection of traits that may help indicate your potential strengths and weaknesses. Employers often administer these assessments during the onboarding process to better learn how you might fit into their organization. Here are some examples of tests that can give you a foundational understanding of your soft skills:
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Enneagram Type Test
Winslow Personality Profile
Revised NEO Personality Inventory
4. Try new things
Sometimes finding what you're good at requires the courage to attempt something new. Make a list of things that are intriguing to you, and start to try a few. Your greatest strengths might exist in something you've simply never had the opportunity to explore.
For example, you may take an elective data science course when your major area of study is advertising. You may discover that you're good at analyzing large data sets and making conclusions about them. With this discovery, you may want to focus your career on delivering marketing insights rather than creating marketing materials.
Devote time to improving skills you already know you have. Set small and attainable goals to keep yourself accountable, and find a routine that you can maintain. Measure your improvements to see whether you're developing the skill more easily. Some humility and willingness to learn can turn an inquiry into a hobby, a hobby into a passion or a passion into a career.
For example, imagine that you have a natural aptitude for coding. You may set a goal to complete a free training course that your employer offers on the intermediate principles of a programming language that you're currently learning. You may also set an additional goal of completing a project and adding it to your work portfolio.
6. Define your comfort zone
Your comfort zone is often full of things you're good at because your skills promote a feeling of certainty, and certainty offers a sense of ease. Identify a time when you felt most comfortable or when you were doing something invigorating or exciting. Consider what parts of those experiences made you comfortable, and your natural talent is likely to present itself.
7. Review your past work
Review your past projects, even if they weren't large-scale accomplishments. Identify the processes you implement to complete each project. Recognize the parts you anticipated the most and the roles that you assumed in a group dynamic. These elements required skills that you likely already possess, and you can develop them from there.
8. Establish what comes naturally to you
Think about social situations, team collaborations or major life events where you knew how to handle a situation without much additional thought. The answers to these questions are different for everybody, and they're a great indicator of which skills come naturally to you.
9. Look for patterns
Write down the tasks you do during the day. Think about the things that make you happy, invigorated or excited to do. Write down five of them, and identify why you like to do them.
For example, if you enjoy bullet-journaling, you take time to plan your calendar, keep lists of the books and movies you've seen and research design templates you feel confident replicating. In this example, you enjoy being organized, engaging with pop culture and exploring the principles of design through formatting. Determine where in your life you use those skills and whether any patterns emerge.
10. Ask others in your life about your skills
A great way to learn more about yourself is to ask people you trust, including friends, family members, impactful supervisors and fellow employees, about what they think you're good at or which of your skills are obvious to them. Asking for feedback might reveal skills and attributes you didn't realize you had. For example, you can ask questions like:
For which of my strengths can you always rely on me?
What work am I doing when I seem to have the most energy?
How do I positively impact this team?
Tips for helping you find what you're good at
Now that you know where to start, here are some tips to remember as you try to figure out what you're good at:
Know the difference between passion and strength
These are often different things, but they often rely on one another. Use your passion to focus on your strengths, and, in turn, think about how you can use your strengths to achieve your passions.
Keep an open mind
When it comes to learning something new, even something about yourself, it's important to keep an open mind about the many possibilities that might present themselves. Self-reflection and vulnerability are key components to figuring out your natural talents.
Being patient with yourself can help you figure out what you're good at. Learning is a process, so remind yourself that your efforts can bring you clarity, focus and the ability to do your most meaningful work.
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