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Do days go by where you feel you are wasting your potential? Perhaps your work lacks meaning, or you struggle with daily feelings of dissatisfaction? As a career coach, I focus on helping people to identify their strengths and how they would like to utilise them. I see first-hand how undeveloped potential can lead to feelings of sadness, unfulfillment and frustration. It can feel – on an emotional level- like an unseen tragedy. You might not immediately notice that you’ve become stuck. And when you do, you may have forgotten what it felt like to be any other way.

At some point, we all experience periods where we can’t, for some reason or another, bring the best of who we are. Maybe we aren’t given the opportunity, because we or others don’t recognise our potential. Maybe our strengths aren’t within the remit of our job description. Or maybe we dismiss or undervalue our strengths because we have learnt to value other ones instead. If you are stuck, consider whether these examples apply to your situation. Then commit to taking action to address it. The danger of not recognising or valuing your strengths for too long is that you might assume they don’t exist. And I promise you, they most certainly do!

How do people get out of touch with their personal strengths?

Let me give you a few examples of how this can occur:

  1. Someone kind and naturally soft-spoken might not excel in an environment that demands they communicate in a different manner. They may unfavourably compare themselves to others there, wearing away their self-confidence.*
  2. A person who gets ‘in the zone’ through physical exertion might get frustrated in a static desk job. They might sense that they are better suited to something else, but can’t identify what that is as they haven’t yet utilised their potential in a paid role.
  3. Someone who thrives on solving customer-facing issues might feel as if they’re not doing their best if they can’t see or meet the people they help. They might perform highly in their role but as they value people contact, they still feel dissatisfied.

Ultimately, our work isn’t just a set of tasks we perform, it is what we bring to it; our flair, our values and our unique personalities. If you feel you are wasting your potential, it is probably because there is a mismatch between the work you do and your personal strengths. Put another way, it can be very dissatisfying to utilise your strengths if they aren’t valued, or you are not recognised when you do. And if you do not nurture your strengths, you are only slowing down the process of finding out where they could lead.

Some questions to help you resolve your dilemma

So, what can you do if you find yourself in this situation? First, take a deep breath and assess your position with a clear, open state of mind. Some questions you may wish to consider are:

  • Is there room for me to develop/use my potential in my current role?
    It might be worthwhile asking your boss if you can take on additional responsibilities or take a secondment in a different department, for example.
  • Do I need to move to a different environment or organisation to excel?
    Sometimes it is not the remit of the role which stifles our potential, but HOW we are required to fulfil it that matters. This can vary across organisations, so research different company cultures to identify alternative job possibilities.
  • Do I need to focus on developing/using my potential outside of employment?
    If your strengths relate to skills or interests which are not related to your job, make sure you identify opportunities to use them anyway. Eventually, you may be able to incorporate them into your work or even make a complete career change.

As you can see, there are many ways to identify, develop and nurture your potential and utilise your personal strengths. Doing this will benefit every area of your life as you will feel more fulfilled and valued for who you are at your best.

* Note: These examples are just for illustration. It is entirely possible, of course, to develop new strengths in areas we might not immediately gravitate to.

Do you want to address your career dissatisfaction? Book a free 30-minute consultation call with me. You’ll receive a complementary Introduction to Career Coaching PDF too. 🙂

Find out about the Career Satisfaction package, a 5-week coaching journey to help you identify your unique strengths.

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