3 Questions to Finding Your Strengths and Building Your Professional Career

Career Advice: An Event from Target Leadership Institute

by Mahieu Spaid

Target All Twin Cities Event 2015

Target Corporation

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 5:30 PM TO 8:00 PM

   Thinking about your career for the next 20 years can be a daunting task but most people reach this point at some time in their professional career.  Professionals at the top of their game don’t stop once they landed their dream job.  Many of them ask this question on a weekly or daily business.  After many of us stopped to take a picture with the Bullseye mascot many of us sat down seriously to ponder the same questions.  This evening speaker and Human Resources Trainer, Jim Hoar, restated those very questions everyone thinks about during their career.  He said he wanted us to think about our real strengths and find a career choice that builds on those things.  The theme was “Soaring with your strengths” and finding one thing we might do differently after listening and networking with the other individuals who attended tonight’s event.

   Throughout his presentation there were a few points that stood out to me.  He spoke about how our culture has a tendency to focus on our deficits instead of overcoming them.  He went on to elaborate over how many of us will focus on the one thing we are told we do poorly instead of the several things we were told we did well.  The focus was on developing personal and functional strengths we already own.  One of the quotes in the middle of the presentation really struck a cord with me.  It was “You can be anything you want but you can be a lot more of who you”.  Sometimes we feel like we have to learn or gain new skills to ahead of the crowd but wouldn’t we be better off building on what “gifts” we already own?  I would have to agree that “knowing our gifts and cultivating them” would save us time and bring us up to the professional level we wish to achieve.

   What if you are looking for a career change or don’t know how to get started?  Then, follow the exercise we did tonight.  First, ask yourself and the people around you what you excel at and then make a 3 column list.  

List the answers under each column below:

1. What do I do well?      2. What gives me energy?      3.  What do I want to learn? 

   The answers you write under each column helps you validate your gifts and helps you find what you do well.  Asking yourself questions is a step in the right direction to the career you want but you also need to ask yourself how you are going to manage any deficits.  Even in our dream job there will be things we don’t like to do.  Is there a magic solution to making them disappear?  No.  We must go one step further and ask how we can overcome them.  What is the minimum you need to learn to get through them so you can focus on what you are best at again?  The point is to spend more time on what you excel at versus obsessing over the one thing you might do poorly.  Hopefully, you will question your current career path and get out of the statistic of not doing what you do best during your work day.  Cultivating the skills you already have is one path can lead to you to a job that is more engaging, gets to work early and makes you happier.

-Mahieu Spaid


Member of AscendNAAMBA Twin Cities Minnesota Chapter 2015