This exercise is reproduced from an article in Oprah Magazine (Oct 2007) and the author and creator of this philosophy is Marcus Buckingham whose book is titled, “Put Your Strengths to Work.” (http://www.oprah.com/money/Marcus-Buckinghams-Career-Intervention).
All of us, even at our most confused and unhappy, have very good instincts about what we should be doing. What Marcus believes is that we should discuss passion in terms of our strengths. Our strengths are the actions that make us energized and optimistic, eager for the chance to do them again. We are nourished by our strengths.
1) When attempting to define our strengths (situations where we are intensely happy and completely engaged) it is important to look at your present job.
• For one week, write a list of things you love about your job and things that you loathe. Be as detailed as possible—
• When do you feel energized or passionate? When do you feel miserable?
Then, from your list of things you love about your job, see what it is about the situations that make you feel excited and energized—
• What are you doing?
• Are you engaging with people?
• Are you working alone?
• Are you problem-solving?
• Are you writing?
Then compile a list of these actions and this will lead to your strengths.
2) Another exercise to define your strengths or what you feel passionate about is to ask yourself a few questions:
• What are my hobbies and special interests?
• What do I think about early in the morning and late at night when I am alone?
• What stories or articles do I find myself reading in the newspaper?
• What are the last two books I chose to read?
• What prizes/awards/accolades have I won and for what in my lifetime?
I suggest to my clients that they keep a journal and record the answers to these questions and then with my assistance they review their answers and come up with a list of their key strengths. Then, they can begin to focus on their strengths and ask themselves how they can adjust or adapt their current job to fit their strengths. Identifying and focusing on your strengths is an ideal way of improving your current job satisfaction as well as improving your overall self-awareness.