I recently met Jaz, a young man who will be starting college in January. I offered to help him with his student loan paperwork and a resume. When we met, I realized he didn’t need my help. But he was gracious enough to listen to me and we wound up talking about his future. This amazing young man is about to begin the next phase of his life. I looked at him with wonder and a little envy. He can do whatever he wants with his life and he knows himself well enough to have chosen a path. He is smart and kind, thoughtful and funny, has advanced computer skills and critical thinking skills, and he wants to help people. I wondered if he realizes his natural abilities and gifts. I encouraged him to keep in touch and to dream big.
Ever notice we spend more time reflecting on our lives around this time of year?
- It’s Autumn and the leaves are in brilliant color and falling.
- If you are in school (or your kids are), this semester is wrapping up and the paperwork is due for the next semester.
- No matter where you stand on the election, conversations about our next American President are part of daily reflection.
- The holiday season is just around the corner – Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve.
What do you do after you reflect? I think about the past, give thanks for today, and hope for a better tomorrow. To move forward, you need to contemplate what you want to do next and set goals. If you haven’t already done so, start by recognizing your natural talents. What are your gifts?
There are different types of skills – hard and soft. Recent news articles suggest that the workforce is lacking necessary soft skills. Check out Ryan Robinson’s article How to Discover and Unleash Your Strengths as an Entrepreneur for a thorough explanation about the difference between hard (teachable abilities) and soft (people) skills.
It’s time to make your skills list. I’ll wait.
Here’s a list of common skills:
- Communication, Public Speaking, Presentation
- Organization, Time Management, Conflict Resolution
- Teamwork, Collaboration, Form Partnerships
- Planning, Research, Writing
- Networking, Motivation, Teamwork
- Creative Thinking, Decision Making, Problem-Solving
- Customer Service, Instruction, Training
- Resilient, Patient, Good Listener
- Operate power tools and a hammer
- Create Snapchats and make people laugh
- Commentator and strategy master for Pokémon
- Break into song whenever inspiration strikes
If you are still looking for what skills you may possess, check out The Balance for a comprehensive list of skills to get you thinking further.
Now that you have a list started, what are your next steps?
- Reflect on the list. Remember a time you used each gift. Was it a good experience?
- Ask other people what talents they see in you. Learn from others.
- Embrace your inner child. What did you want to be when you grew up? How did it change over the years?
- What tasks have you tried and liked/disliked? Recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
- Put your gifts into words. Become comfortable with them.
No matter where you are on your journey, you can reflect on your life. You are never too young or too old. Are you where you want to be? Is there something you have always wanted to do? Are you happy? It might not always feel like it, but you have a lot to offer. Dare to dream. What gifts will you share with the world?
~I’m here to help
Further reading and resources:
Bradberry, Travis. 2016. Forbes. 7 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But Payoff Forever. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/11/01/7-skills-that-are-hard-to-learn-but-payoff-forever/#144898ba7dfe
Doyle, Alison, 2016. The Balance. List of Soft Skills. Retrieved from. https://www.thebalance.com/list-of-soft-skills-2063770
Manson, Mark. 2016. Observer. Three Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You. Retrieved from: http://observer.com/2016/11/three-important-life-skills-nobody-ever-taught-you/
Morin, Amy. 2016. Forbes. Hard Work or Natural Talent? Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/11/06/hard-work-or-natural-talent-study-reveals-what-impresses-hiring-managers-the-most/#7068688764cc
Morris, Jim. 2016. The Muse. 6 Life Skills You Better Pick Up if You Want to Succeed at Work. Retrieved from: https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-life-skills-you-better-pick-up-if-you-want-to-succeed-at-work
O’Donnell, J.T. 2016. AOL. Why These 10 Soft Skills Could Catapult Your Career. Retrieved from: http://www.aol.com/article/finance/2016/11/01/why-these-10-soft-skills-could-catapult-your-career/21596313/
Picchi, Aimee. 2016. CBSNews: Moneywatch. Do you have the “soft skills” employers badly need? Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-you-have-the-soft-skills-employers-badly-need/
Rath, Tom. 2009. Gallup Press. Strengths Finder. Resources found at: http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx
Robinson, Ryan. 2016. Ryan Robinson. How to Discover and Unleash Your Strengths as an Entrepreneur. Retrieved from: http://www.ryrob.com/discover-strengths-entrepreneur/
Williams, Tina. 2016. Tina Here To Help. Lifelong Learning. Retrieved from: https://tinaheretohelp.com/2016/05/04/lifelong-learning/