Why Focus on Your Existing Skills?

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Have you ever been so excited about something that you jumped into it with little to no thought or planning?

Maybe it was an unplanned road trip or vacation. Perhaps it was the hasty purchase of a new couch.

Hopefully, it wasn’t a rushed, unplanned decision to leave your job and sell everything you own. Three years ago, I did just that. I let myself get carried away with the possibilities and rather than stopping to think things through, I jumped in head first without a clue as to what I was doing.

Thankfully, I had enough in savings to carry me through after selling my house and almost everything I owned. I say thankfully, because my savings is what I lived on—it certainly wasn’t the meager earnings I made from freelance writing or random contract jobs.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I made a bit of a mistake.

Let me correct myself—my mistake wasn’t changing my life—that was probably the best thing I have ever done! The mistake I made was leaving the established career I had developed, to jump into a major lifestyle change without knowing the skills I would base my new career on.

I had taken the first step towards changing my career—I knew what I wanted my career to look like. I knew that I wanted the freedom to work my own hours and to work from anywhere in the world. However, I had absolutely no plan of how I was going to make this happen. I didn’t take time to consider each of my existing skills and how I could use them to the best of my ability in order to create the career I wanted.

If I had done this, I would have easily seen what I needed to focus on. At the time, I had extensive skills in Recruiting, Sales, Customer Service, as well as Leadership. Within each of those skill-sets, I had even more additional skills such as Writing, Editing, Proofreading, Communication, the ability to read others, Problem Solving, and many more skills which I never gave much thought to over the last several years.

That is, until I happened upon an ad for Life Coach training one day. That ad prompted me to take a course in Life Coaching, which then motivated me to consider the type of Life Coaching that would best fit my skills and background. Based on my skills and how I wanted my career to look, I decided that Career Coaching was a great fit.

Now, if I had looked at my existing skills several years ago, I likely would’ve come to this conclusion much earlier. This would have enabled me to maintain momentum within my professional life, preparing and taking the initial steps towards my new career, wasting as little time as possible.

What does this mean for you?

Maybe your situation is completely different. I’m here to tell you that regardless of your line of work, you have valuable skills that you can use to your advantage.

Maybe you’ve worked as a Department Manager or Leader. Chances are, some of your many skills would be…

  • Effective communication
  • Training and development of others
  • Developing and managing a department budget
  • Negotiating
  • Influencing
  • Project Management
  • Data tracking
  • Creativity in motivating others
  • Team building
  • Plus any other skills that are related to your department’s specialty such as Finance, Sales, Marketing, etc.

On the other hand, maybe your experience is in bartending. Don’t think that only people in professional careers have valuable skills! In your bartending experience, you likely have the following skills…

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Hospitality
  • Good recall or memory skills
  • Sales experience
  • Ability to read other people
  • Good judgement in stressful situations

Regardless of what your experience has been in, you have skills that you have learned and refined throughout your experience. Each and every skill you can think of should be considered—no skill is too weak or small!

Where do you start?

Begin by creating a list of your skills and ranking them according to your level of expertise and enjoyment. This list will be a key tool in providing you with a starting point towards narrowing down a specific area of focus for your career.

Maybe there is one specific skill-set that you would love to specialize in, but you don’t feel you have enough knowledge or experience in that area. Don’t let this discourage you—there are so many options!

Perhaps there is an online course you can take which would further your experience within that skill set. Maybe during your free time you could sign up for a part-time internship or volunteer work which would allow you to further develop the skill.

Don’t forget that there are a lot of self-help programs and reading material available online—it is very likely that there is a program out there which would help you delve deeper into a skill-set.

What if you need help?

If you are struggling with identifying your existing skill-sets or how you can use your skill-sets to target a specific career, consider one of my Coaching Packages. I would love to schedule a one-on-one session with you to help you in identifying your career path and how to take the next steps in building and pursuing your new career. Check out the Coaching Packages page on my website for more information.

Remember, always keep an open mind and think outside of the box. Your new career change will not happen overnight, but with the right plan and strategy you can make it happen sooner than you think.

What are some of the skills you have acquired throughout your experience?