“I don’t know what I’m good at”

Do you know what you are good at? And I don’t mean “kinda” good at or “sorta” good at. I am also not referring to the things you “think” you are good at (like driving) when in reality, you are merely average (sorry to break it to you – your driving isn’t really that good). I’m referring to what you are really good at. I’m talking about those abilities or skills that you possess that are rooted in your hard-wiring giftedness and your hard work – that wonderful combination of talents and time translating into what we call strengths. More importantly, are you using the things you are good at (your strengths and talents) at your job?

Strengths matter. If we know what it is we are good at and we use those abilities every day, in addition to leading to greater success, it also leads to greater efficiency and greater enjoyment of what we do. Work feels “easy.” In other words, if you ever want satisfaction on the job AND work / life balance, you can’t get there without knowing and maximizing your strengths.

Over the next month, we’ll be tackling the following big questions as it relates to discovering one’s strengths:

  • Are you using your strengths at your job? What are the signs?
  • Do you know what your strengths are? How do you find your strengths?
  • How do you plan your work and your life based on your strengths?

Over the years of working with thousands of individuals in both clinical and professional settings, what’s become clear to me are the following:

  1. Everyone has talents and most of us have discovered some our talents and translated those into strengths (through time, effort and hard work) but few of us have discovered all of our talents
  2. Most people aren’t consciously aware of or able to label their talents and strengths. We use them, but we are largely unaware of their presence and never call them out by name
  3. Most people don’t use their strengths on the job
  4. As a result of #2 and #3, many of us take jobs, or worse, get promoted into jobs that actually prohibit us from using our strengths (the roles require daily tasks that aren’t our strengths)
  5. Work doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it if we intentionally use our strengths every day

So, get your thinking caps on. Discovering and maximizing the usage of your strengths is a tough but worthy puzzle to attempt to solve. After all, who doesn’t want happiness, enjoyment, fulfillment, efficiency and work / life balance? If you answered “No” to that question, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.

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  1. scott says:

    Hello so what does it mean when you are 25 years old, you started working when you were 12 and have had 42 places of employment? I don’t know what I am good at. help!

  2. Brandon Smith says:

    Scott, hang in there and don’t freak out just yet. A few really important things to consider:
    1. To get good at something you have to spend enough time doing it to tell. With 42 places of employment so early in your career (yeah, I know you are probably exaggerating, but your point is a fair one), you might not have had enough time in one stint to figure it out. So, look back over all the things you’ve done and try to identify your favorites, or at least the elements of your jobs you liked the most. Start there.

    2. Just because you haven’t found it yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Building off of what I said in the first point, maybe you take what you have liked but you go in different direction. For example, if you’ve always been in retail and liked working with customers but hated the environment and hours, find a job in a different field serving customers. Tweak the job and culture to fit you better.

    3. Finding what you are good at is a life journey. Don’t stress out. Just explore and give yourself some patience. What helps many (including myself) is finding something you are curious about or passionate about and working toward that. 10 years later, you’ll find you are pretty good at it. Its not about finding the hidden treasure. Its more about building it over time.

    Good luck!

  3. vaishnavi says:

    Hey, im 16 and my parents want me to find a hobby or join a class that i am interested in.
    But despite my love for writing and playing basketball i see no other interest.
    I have to face my parents everyday with the repeated question “What are your hobbies? what do you want to do with your life?” and still have no answer. This frustrates both of us at the end of the day.
    How do i figure what im good at? or what i like?

  4. Brandon Smith says:

    First, I would tell you (and your parents) to have some patience. We discover our strengths, passions and purpose one way… lots of experience. You can’t answer those questions in a vacum. You need to taste off of the “life and career buffet” before you can answer such big questions. So, what to do? First, try as many different things as you can. See if anything grabs you. Second, leverage your writing and explore that. While there aren’t many career opportunities long-term tied to basketball, there are plenty of fields that require good and skilled writers. From journalists to novelists to bloggers (hint, hint!), there are paths there worth going down. Who knows where they’ll lead!

  5. sumit says:

    hey.i m 25 n got bachleors degree in pharmacy . tried sements of production n marketing both subsequently two years.
    i m good at learning things quickly n adapting myself but now i got puzzled i wana do something at my field but not further study.help plz

  6. Brandon Smith says:

    First, I think you are doing exactly the right thing by trying different aspects of your field. Eventually you’ll find the one you like, so keep on “tasting from the career buffet.” On that note, think about who you want your customers to be. That might help you steer towards aspects of pharmacology that you are more passionate about. On that note, that’s what I’m hearing in all this. It isn’t an ability or aptitude issue issue for you. It is a passion issue. Finding the right “customers” can help you feel more passionate about what you do. Good luck!

  7. Jane says:

    I’ve recently turned 20, i work at a meat factory and i enjoy it. i love all the people and they make this dull job fun. i was amazed i made so many friends and im scared wherever i work next i wont make any.
    i did tons of work experience for weeks, even months if they let me. i worked at a place that made circuit boards and electronic devices, i worked at an auto electrical and mechanical repairs shop, i worked at a holden dealership. i even volunteered at a childrens camp for a few weeks.
    with all of them i still feel like i learnt nothing.
    with the circuit boards i was great, i loved the fiddly work, i was faster and more precise than people that had worked there for years. but i didnt understand what i was doing, i didnt know what each component did. they never explained the work to me.
    at the auto shop, i didnt get to work on any cars. i calibrated interlocks and dealt with customers and interlock related paperwork. i loved it, but i wanted to work on cars.
    at holden i did basic services, installed bull bars and tail lights. i changed tires, completed alignments, etc. they loved me but had just put a new apprentice on and told me to apply next time theyre looking.
    the childrens camp was so fun. one week was 7-13 year olds that wouldnt stop clinging to my legs; the next week was 13-18 year olds and they were so much fun and i didnt stop smiling the whole time i was there; but volunteering at a childrens camp isnt my desired career.

    my sisters are doing exactly what they want with life. im so jealous. i dont even know what i want.

    i thought i wanted to be a mechanic; i thought i did great at it. i worked at toyota and i honestly thought i was doing well. i had my 3 month probation, but i didnt even get through it.
    my boss was the only other chick there (besides the sellers out the front) and i dont think she liked the fact that attention was drawn from her. first month was great, the guy who was teaching me was impressed with how fast i picked everything up and kept requesting me to work with him; he was their best mechanic. then my boss decided she didnt like me and put me on wash bay washing cars for weeks and weeks on end. i was supposed to rotate each week with the other two apprentices but no, instead she figured that i had to “prove myself”. i was replaced 3 days before i was fired and i was fired for “texting” even though i was on smoko and i was actually checking the time. i was conveniently fired 3 days before my probation was up. all the while one of the other apprentices drove a car into a hoist and another replaced something without the customers permission, costing the manager 300 from his own pocket. seems a little unfair.

    since then ive pretty much given up on cars. i never really learnt anything about them anyways. i could do the work fine, but i didnt know what it was i was doing. i could replace a water pump but i dont know the bits of the car i was taking apart or what they were supposed to do, i just knew if i take this off here, it goes back on here and i have to take this bit off and replace it with a shiny new version.

    ive now been working in a meat factory packing salami. i want out.
    i just want to find what im good at.
    i know im practical, i work hard at everything i do. im dedicated and enthusiastic.
    but im dumb. i failed year 11 and 12. i read something and i forget it straight away.
    im not a good writer, im good at maths but i have to write it down, i cant do equations in my head.
    i have no confidence and im shy.
    i like to think im good at something, but how do i find what it is :/

  8. Brandon Smith says:

    Jane,
    Don’t give up hope. The common theme in your story is you enjoy “hands on” mechanical work. Spend some time thinking about what are kinds of things that you are curious about how they work and would like to learn more. Whether its auto repair, computer maintenance, installing enterainment systems, etc… there are countless careers that require someone with your ability to understand how things work and make them work better (to be honest, I truly wish I had that gift). The second area for you to think about is your customers. Who do you want to help or serve? If you love your customers and love what you do to serve them, you have found happiness at work. Focus on those and keep me posted!

  9. Jane says:

    the thing is, there’s not much work for a girl in that area. and i look more like a barbie than the butch type they usually hire. i want to try auto electrics because i know im better with the fiddly stuff, but there’s so much theory behind it and im pretty miserable at theory work. but thanks, i will keep trying 🙂

  10. Brandon Smith says:

    Other areas to consider that still involve working with your hands but are more commonly female are: massage therapy, physical therapy, veterinary services, etc… Hope some of those help. Definitely keep me posted!

  11. Harry says:

    Hi Brandon,

    What if I am very gifted at something that doesn’t pay a living wage and/or very hard to break into careers? E.g. Sleeping, eating, relaxing, and mating with a gorgeous woman all day.

    Most decent paying jobs like engineering, medical, and corporate America will have no use with my gifts or would they? Please help me Brandon. Thank you.

  12. Brandon Smith says:

    Harry,
    While I found your examples humorous, I’m gonna run under the assumption that you are serious in your question. That being the case, you need to look deeper at a few things:

    1. What are other gifts you possess that people would pay you for? Perhaps your wit? Or your ability to build relationships… many seemingly insignificant gifts can be quite lucrative in the right contexts (marketing, sales, etc…).

    2. It is not about any one magical super gift. It is more about the combination of gifts that is powerful. Perhaps your ability to sleep at any given minute allows you to do jobs that require the ability to always be “on” but able to recharge when there is a down moment (media / entertainment for example). Think about the combination of your gifts.

    I hope that helps!

  13. Julie says:

    Hi Brandon,
    I am 22 years old and a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. However, by the end of my college career I realized that marketing is not only something I do not think I am good at (which makes me lose confidence in tackling marketing based job), but it also does not interest me; atleast through the sales route. I am completely stuck, I am interested in social media jobs, but I honestly have no idea what my strengths are and I am scared that I will have to go back to school to get another degree in a different major. I just don’t have the time or money. Is there any advice you could give me to not only see what other career opportunities are out there for me, but to also start figuring out what my strengths are? Please help.

  14. Brandon Smith says:

    Julie,
    First, don’t give up on marketing so fast. Unlike sales, marketing is the study of people and how they make purchasing decisions. If that isn’t cool enough (I’m a total geek), what I love about marketing is that it has HUGE range. For example, it can be creative (putting together campaigns, brochures, etc…) or it can be analytical (analyzing and tracking consumer patterns, behaviors, etc…). So, before you bail on marketing, ask yourself if you’ve tried all of the possible options. Would you like more analytical work, creative work, etc… A hint. The bigger the company, the more marketing is analytical (P&G is notorious for higher chemical and electrical engineers to be their brand managers) and the smaller the company, the more it is creative. So, try out some different company sizes, some different products and different customer groups. I promise that in no time, you’ll start to see what you like and don’t like. Keep me posted!

  15. Julie says:

    I think I just haven’t had the chance to be exposed to the extensive opportunities that marketing can offer, but I’m not sure how to become more informed of the various types of marketing jobs that are available. Furthermore, how would I go about finding a company with creative work and how would I specifically look for one with a separate marketing and sales department?

  16. Brandon Smith says:

    Sounds like you’ve got your New Years Resolution carved out for you: “Figure out what I’m good at.” So here’s what you need to do. First, stop judging your answers / what you notice. If you are a rock star at video games, then take note. If you a phenomenal runner, mark it down. If you have a way with kids, don’t dismiss it. So often, when people say they don’t know what they are good at, they are looking for the perfect thing that fits neatly into a profession (sales, numbers, etc…). Second, you need to keep a journal of all of your noticings through the year. Either buy an “old school” journal or have a file handy on your phone / tablet. Everytime something pops up, regardless of how silly it might seem, make a note. By the end of the year, solid patterns should emerge. Finally, I would encourage you to purchase the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths.” A good book that also has any accompanying Strengths Finder instrument you can use.

    Good luck and keep me posted!

  17. Whitney says:

    Hi Brandon. My name is Whitney. I am an 18 year old female who has gone through many struggles to get where I am. Like everyone else asking the same question, I too, am having the most difficult task of trying to discover what I am good at and making it my dream job. Let me tell you a few things about me to get a clearer view on helping me to figure myself out.
    I live on my own for the most part.
    I wish to go to college but I’m terrified at going for a degree that I’ll end up disliking and still have to pay off the loans anyways. So then I’ll be stuck with a degree and doing a job I dislike.
    I enjoy acting and theater and the arts for the most part.. But I fear going into these majors and having very little success making money with it. I love filing things away or organizing and rearranging with furniture. But I absolutely dislike working with customers or being a salesperson. Yuck. Yet, I love to act (it’s a passion).

    Currently I work in a warehouse and for some odd reason I love it. Because its me to myself. I focus on my job and don’t have to worry about anyone else other than my co workers.

    I wish someone would give me an idea on what to go to college for because I don’t want to waste my youth working full time in a warehouse. How do i discover my strengths and combine it with my passions so i may enjoy the career i will go to college to pay for? Any advice? And thank you for your time.

  18. Leah says:

    Im 35 and Im in the dental field. I went back to school to future my career but this one class that I really need to pass, I keep failing. I dont know what’s wrong with me. I feel like it could be a sign that this might not be the career choice for me. Ive been in this field so long that there really isn’t anything else I thought about doing. Now Im second guessing myself. Maybe deep down this is not what Im good at. I feel that it is but I just don’t know what else to do. Please help

  19. Brandon Smith says:

    Whitney,
    Your description sounds almost textbook for an “introvert” – someone who prefers activities with minimal people involvement and / or more one-on-one interactions. If that is the case for you, there are so many possibilities! In the business world, introverts tend to gravitate to roles that either deal with numbers (accounting, finance, customer analytics, etc…) or making things run better (project management, operations, etc…). Outside of the traditional business world, other introvert jobs include: graphic designer, some social media roles, architects, artists, professors, writers, etc…

    The question for you is simple. Any reactions to the list above? Anything jump out? You don’t have to pick a career now, you just need to pick a general enough major that you can use it later (for example: math major vs. accounting major if you aren’t sure… or communications major vs. marketing major, etc…). You do need a college degree. That is certain. Keep it directionally correct and take it one step at a time. And don’t forget, I’m not going anywhere!

  20. Brandon Smith says:

    Leah,
    Before we start assessing our other options, what I am so excited about is that you are making efforts to move forward. Well done! Even if the results aren’t always what we want, as long as we keep moving forward, good things will happen for us. So, a few quick hygiene questions (no pun intended!):
    1. Have you gotten a tutor yet? This could be a friend or a paid tutor. I would recommend it if you haven’t done that already
    2. Have you told your professor about your challenge and desire? As a professor myself, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of building that relationship and showing your professor the hard work you are putting in. In many cases, if he / she believes you are giving it everything you have and are 100% invested and committed, they will find a way to help you pass.

    If you’ve done both of those things, then perhaps you are right. Maybe this is a sign. But don’t go too far down that path until you’ve done everything you can first. Keep me posted.

  21. Anthony says:

    I am 28 years old. I graduated university with a bachelors in engineering. I work as a designer. I have been employed at the same place for the past 6 years. About a year and two months ago I discovered some mistakes in my work and informed my boss, developed a really bad depression because I felt like a complete idiot. I managed to get through that and moved onto a new even more challenging project but I still lack the confidence and now I fear making new mistakes and developing my depression again. I feel like I have chosen the wrong career and that I am failing at it.
    I want to try something else to find what I am good at. I’m not great at theory and my creativity is limited I think I need something fairly repetitive so that I can really learn from it currently I am always doing something new and I feel like I am clueless at times….

  22. Brandon Smith says:

    Anthony,
    Your comment is interesting. What makes it so intriguing is that it is difficult to tell if what you are dealing with is a competency and skill issue (you aren’t good at your job) or a fear issue (you are afraid to screw up). I’m going to lean to the latter and assume that this is really a fear issue. I prefer that path for you because if we assume it is a competency issue and we get you a more repetitive job, I don’t think that will make things better for you in the long run. Repetitive jobs have short lives because they 1) have limited career progression, 2) will ultimately be outsourced or automated. So, if I assume this is a fear issue, what are you afraid of? And what would give you enough courage to overcome that fear? Here’s a link to a series of posts I did on overcoming fear. Read them and see if they help.

    http://theworkplacetherapist.com/category/dysfunction/im-afraid-to-make-changes/

    Good luck and keep me posted!

  23. Aubrey says:

    Hi Brandon, Sorry in advance for how long this is.

    I am 21 years old, about to graduate from college with a bachelors in Economics minor in Philosophy.I’m not as into the technical aspects of Economics so much as the concepts (although I can handle math well). How business/government processes and interactions affect the way the world turns is what makes me love it. Problem is, it seems like my degree will only get me cubicle jobs in a corporate office.

    I am currently doing an internship which I thought would lead to a job after graduation. I am in a cubicle 8 hours per day learning nothing about the company and nobody in my office talks to anyone. I am inputting numbers into microsoft programs which I could have done proficiently in middle school. I can see the trends of this company with outsourcing and the department I am interning in will no doubt have jobs cut out once they realize there is more efficient technology out there. I want to be challenged and I need to keep learning. This job is causing me stress because I am having no interaction, not learning, and not forwarding my life. I feel stuck already at this young age and the stress is affecting my mental state and relationships. I know I need to find what I’m good at and start working towards it.

    I am veryyy social, love people, interactions, debates, getting to the bottom of things, and just any good discussion. I make the simple decisions quickly, but I take a long time to make the “important” decisions (ie. major, career, etc.). I’m confident in my ability to do anything I set my mind to, I am always a few minutes late for everything, people seem to enjoy my company, and I enjoy leadership roles or group discussions. My last job at school was as a building manager and I loved it. I had tasks to do at my leisure which got me away from a desk and computer, but I also had to log what was happening in the building which brought me back to talk to co-workers. It was a very relaxed atmosphere which I realize I need to be happy working at least 40+ hours a week. It was also enjoyable for me because I was basically my own boss and helping other student employees.

  24. Brandon Smith says:

    Aubrey,
    It sounds like the corporate life is not for you. Given your comments, I would recommend pursuing these two paths to see which might be a better fit:

    1. Start-up company – much more laid back in approach, very hands on, lots of group discussions, high pace and activity. What you described would fit this well

    2. Professor – playing with big ideas but also the flexibility to set your own schedule and collaborate on your own terms are some of the better qualities of this gig

    What is true for me is that the standard office job just isn’t going to cut it for you. The good news is that there are so many other options at your dispossal. Good luck and keep me posted!

  25. osman says:

    Hello Brandon..
    After High School (social studies international) I found myself lost in planing my future.. I’ve always wondered what is my real talent, it keeps bugging me that I’m worthless and not capable of having a goal. When I finished high school (I had a very good time and why I choose this was because the proffesor told us we get to make 2 trips and school stands for all costs) how could I say no to to that… So I did study this, without disipline and if if I should be honest I almost never studied like day before deadline (essays) and at normal tests I usually studied a bit the day before and on the second year (minor projekt work) I managed to complete a the essplan n almost a day of work (we were 2 persons doing it and I almost everything alone) I was always with friends doing other stuff rather than studying. I had it quite easy to write essays and “coming up with things” I never did plan anything before I was a typical last minute person that succeed. On the essay we were one of the best in class (even tho they all worked weeks on it) and the last year (the big project) were we compared our city with the one we visited we dident collect a darn and we made up the whole essay (some days before deadline) and still managed to pass it. So we had a vacation instead of a study trip.. after high school I did not know what to do, couldn’t find any job since jobs demand experience and ihad no experience.. so I were practically not doing anything for about a year, nothing to look forward about until the summer 2012 when I started dental technican studies.. it was a suggestion from my bigger brother andhis friend (good money 3 year study)well since I started I did not see it a bit intresting at all.. I did not complete the exam (totally failed) and I feel so bad about it. Maybe its because I changed from social studies to nature studies I don’t know.. the professor told me even from start when he did see my work that are you sure that this is what you really would like to do? I see you doing something else you are a very kind and pleasent person and he asked what would you rly like to do? I sarcasmly answered I want to be a president and he said I would sure vote on you.. it feels like this is not my strong side (talanted)but I’m scared that this is my last hope of securing a future plan.. many people count on me.. I don’t wanna let anybody down. Now I have this exam coming this summer and the exam I did not pass that means double work.. I’m not good at drawing, working with hands, I could train myself to become a decent one but would I keep upp with the ones passionate about the work? Please help me!
    Kind regards from Sweden

  26. Brandon Smith says:

    It sounds as though your challenge is deeper than determining what you are good at and what you want to do. The real challenge for you seems to be your fear of failure. Most of the examples you gave tell a story of a bright talented person who has never truly given 100% to anything and as a result, has never really failed. But, because you’ve never failed you’ve never truly learned what you can and can’t do… and that you are enough to answer that question without someone else’s guidance or help. So, my prescription for you is to dig down deep, find the courage that I know is there and go for what YOU really think you want to do. Over the next year, give that effort 100% and see what happens. If you do, I know you won’t be disappointed!

  27. osman says:

    Thank you Brandon, ive decided to take a break from my studies and hopefully I will secure my spot on this education för next year.. this year ill try to find my real passion and fix my exam and get a job.. the problem is I have no idea of what my real passion are.. it seems like I’m a person that like a lot of things but have the habbit to change interest fast… Its really bugging me that I have no passions.. if I just knew what I am meant to be I would be looking forward doing it, instead like now (just wanna finish and get over this).. thank you, I have no words for how thankful I am for your help!
    Regards L.Osman

  28. m_jay says:

    Hi
    I’m 21 years old.I moved from my home country Syria,about 10 months ago to the United States (for the 1st time).
    I’d been studying English literature for almost three years..which i didn’t choose, but had to..because i didn’t get higher grades to have more options.
    i didn’t like the literature part..i’m doing good at the language though..I speak English,Arabic and a little bit of French .
    I’m really interested in the reason, why we human exist?? What’s the purpose of this life???What had really happened so the world amazingly developed in the last 100 year when we existed for thousands of years before???
    So do you think there’s a major to go for, for this kinda interests??
    Everything i learn i become really good at it..But i still feel that there’s this one thing that i’ll be incredible at.
    I appreciate you spending your time to help…which i’ll be grateful if you give to me..

  29. Papi says:

    Hi
    Am 21 year old and is doing my engineering course and am starting to realise that i made a huge mistake in my career choice..this is not what i am good at..and i eventually lost every bit of intrest in it. Since i spent a lot of cash for this i want to complete it for the sake of parents. Am really helpless and dont know what to do next once i finish the course.
    Please help.
    Regards papi.

  30. Elena says:

    Hi Brandon! i am soon turning 23 years old .. have been working until now in places with low wages , this year i decided to start a college in Marketing and Management, and so i did ,however i think this field does not represent my strength .. i have to mention my native language is romanian and i understand other languages, my english is ok but not good enough to be payed in using it .. because i need a qualification and for that it will mean spending more time which i do plan to do in the future still i would like to get a job were i can use it which does not require me having a certain diploma in translating or interpreting .Plus i thing there are other strengths or weaknesses like the fact that i can not stand hypocrisy and i am not good at lying …it shows ! i like the concept of ecology in every aspect of it so you can see i do not know exactly what i want because i like something in very different fields so how can i decide which one would be the best for me? please help !! and thank you in advance !

  31. Rachel says:

    Hi (everyone) 🙂

    I’m about to turn 28. I started working when I was of legal age in a restaurant all through-out high school and sports. Even managed two jobs during the summer, a sand rail company and the restaurant. I then tried another job, Sea Lion Caves, all three before I was 18. I enjoy people, customers aren’t always my thing but I could tolerate them, and strike conversations easily. I signed up for the Army and was gone my graduated summer from high school. I traveled a bit, deployed a year and then stayed in the same state after I was honorably discharged from the service.
    I thought being a Vet tech would be interesting because in the Army I was mentally bored, didn’t conform as well, people didn’t think much they just did things. I dispatched helicopters, I really enjoyed my last duty of being affiliated with a Medical Evacuation team.

    My path was simple (so I thought) in 2009. I was going to be a Veterinarian. Start at the Jr. College, get my license as a Vet Tech, work in a clinic, and then continue on with schooling while I worked. It takes 2 years to become a Vet Tech, and then 2 years for general studies, then an additional 2 years at the University for the B.S. I realized when I left the civilian world it was before the wars, so jobs were somewhat easier to obtain. Non of my classmates seemed to have a struggle getting in and out of college. By 2009- I think things changed since the economy was just collapsing.

    I have shifted my mindset from going all the way to VET school, to settling with my bachelors in science, or animal health technology. My motivation is dwindling though, my grades in the last couple of years are slipping. I am about 7 classes away from finishing the program and I can’t seem to pass my medical classes due to laziness. I’m bored, but I feel I have invested so much time and wrapped my courses around becoming a Vet Tech/Vet science field, that I don’t know where to go.

    I want to finish this course because it’s what I set out to do, but then I wonder if I’m swimming up stream. I applied to a University this fall, but didn’t apply with an alternative path. The Animal sciences are all impacted, and my grades don’t have a chance among the others because I don’t aim for A’s, I aim to pass. I’m getting older and the focus is getting harder (for me). I just want to have my career now.

    I flip all the time; I love art, but I’m not a driven person to make that my life, I enjoy photography, but again, I have no desire to start up my own business, but I don’t think I can. I am interested in Interior design ( I think) because it was the first idea I thought of in high school, before I spontaneously signed up for the Army. Simply because I imagine having clients and design seems to change all the time, and there’s new projects.

    I want to be smart, and feel like I have purpose but at the same time, I just want to be happy, and at this point, I’m not sure what path that is, I don’t know anything anymore, and I thought I had everything figured out.

    Please help me find a way to figure my path out, I don’t want to be 40 and still be at a JR. college.
    Thank you!!!

  32. tina says:

    hi brandon. i’m about 19 years old. my parent, my uncle, aunt. they keep asking the same question everytime, “what your interest?” “what your plan?” i keep digging myself into that question but still can’t figure it out. i really don’t know whats my real talent and really good at. i know i only “like”, “good” or “sorta” at some stuff like take picture, drawing and decorate and handicrafts. but now i have no confident what i only “good” or “sorta” at. and i don’t even have really good skill in it. what should i do?

  33. Brandon Smith says:

    Tina,
    Give yourself some grace, patience and forgiveness. No one (and yes, I mean no one) truly can know what they want to do with their life at 19 (barring some life altering tragedy that has put them on a mission). Why? Because in order to know what your skills, strengths, gifts, talents, interests and passions are, you have to discover them through experience. In other words, you need to try as many jobs as possible between now and 25 years old. That in itself is a plan. Tell your family that you are on a mission to discover your vocation. You have several that interest you and systematically you are going to try them on one by one until you find the one that fits just right. It’s like that perfect dress, you’ll know it the minute you put it on and look in the mirror. Good luck and keep me posted!

  34. Mehreen says:

    haye ! i am mehreen and 16 years old and as i studied harder now i am in college .. still dont kw what i am good at . when the time came to select the major and i was like .. ”mmm , i dont know” and choose maths whereas i scored more in biology . and i really hate maths . dont even like biology , chemistry , physics . i was bit interested in arts but my mother didn’t wanted me to join arts as my major . but what i like to do is draw , learning , creative writing , hair cutting , singing and using internet .. nothing more .. 🙁 these are not my hobbies or anything which i can take as a major . i dont know what to do .. everyone in college has some plans and hobbies but i dont have any .. dont even know what should i do . i am getting bored of maths and getting worse because it requires time and i dont know works in which i have to stuck in one place and focus and focus .. tired now .. dont even have any activities .. 🙁

  35. Amanda says:

    Hi, I’m 23 years old and have a diploma in marketing and just finishing up my bachelor of business admin degree.
    I’m starting to regret this degree and don’t know if I picked the right one. I am very afraid and I constantly think about the future. I don’t really know my true strengths and it always scares me when I see people very good at something and wish I had something that just came naturally to me. have to work harder at certain subjects such as math and economics because it does not come naturally to me. If I study super hard I can get really good grades, but I have to work for these grades and they don’t come naturally to me like they do for other students. This really bugs me and causes me to have anxiety and stress. I would ultimately like to have my own company one day, but cant think of what I would like to do. What should I do? I stress about my career constantly and regret my degree and wonder what to do next…

  36. Ashley says:

    I’m 24 year old stay at home mom. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m good at but I can’t seem to find out what it is I should do. I used to be interested in Japan and it’s culture but that was when I was in high school. Now I feel as if most of my interests I had in high school are gone and I’m trying to find what my strengths are by trying out different things (Sewing, crocheting, drawing) But they don’t seem to hold my interest like I’d want. I need help. What should I do?

  37. Claire says:

    I’m 24 years old and I graduated in May 2011 from a really prestigious university with a Journalism and Mass Communications degree. I’m really regretting it. I spent about a year and a half in a newsroom working as a newspaper reporter and I absolutely hated it. I hated the weird hours, I hated the way the system worked, my boss was a total jerk and the company I worked for wasn’t much better. All throughout college I thought I wanted to be a journalist and change the world with my exceptional writing skills and my excellent way with words. I left that job with a bruised ego, horrible self confidence and a hatred for reporting all together. I then joined the AmeriCorps, so I could feel like I was doing useful partly and secondly so I could travel across the United States. I am now volunteering at a center for independent living in Alaska (which helps people who experience a disability of any kind live independently) working specifically with the youth program. A total 180 from journalism and now I feel like this was a bad decision, too. I can see myself (maybe, sorta, kinda) ending up in some sort of PR job and absolutely loving it. But how do I get there from where I am now?! Strange girl who thought she wanted to be a reporter went off the deep end and joined AmeriCorps and now she wants to work for my PR firm? No thank you. I feel completely lost and regret my degree completely. 🙁 Help.

  38. Brandon Smith says:

    Claire,
    I look at your background and I see “awesome foundation!” You look at it and say “what a mess” (I live in Atlanta and in the South they would say “a hot mess”). Your writing foundation will prove invaluable and your Americorps background will be really compelling with recruiters. I see it with MBA students that have exactly the same background as yours. They enroll in an MBA and get everything from internal marketing / communications jobs to high paying consulting jobs – all coming from journalism and Americorps backgrounds. So, don’t lose hope. The key is asking yourself what you think you might like and what might motivate you every day. Consider the following series of posts I did on fulfillment to help you:

    http://theworkplacetherapist.com/category/dysfunction/finding-fulfillment-at-work/

    Good luck and keep me posted!

  39. Brandon Smith says:

    Ashley,
    While focusing on your strengths and trying to find them is one strategy, focusing on what you are passionate about is another. Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers that it takes talent plus 10,000 hours to become world class at something. So, look at what you would be interested in learning more about. Japan is a good example but also consider other things that might inspire you. Things related to raising your kids (education, experiences, etc…) or women-related issues (challenges of being a stay-at-home mom, etc…) as starting points. Those are definitely relevant for you today. Consider these posts on fulfillment to get you started. Good luck and don’t undervalue the tremendous impact you are having at home. Believe me when I say, “OUR future is in your hands.” Thank you!

    http://theworkplacetherapist.com/category/dysfunction/finding-fulfillment-at-work/

  40. Brandon Smith says:

    Amanda,
    First, don’t worry so much! At 23, you are just beginning the journey. As long as you stay the path, you’ll find everything you need. I did. Second, the most important thing you mentioned was that one day, you want to have your own company. When I coach “wannabe entrepreneurs,” I always tell them, you have to answer two questions. You can answer them in any order you like, but you still have to answer these two questions:

    1. What do I want my product / servive to be?
    2. Who do I want to serve? Who do I want my customers to be?

    Get an answer to one of those questions (just one… not both) and you are off to the races. Your journey begins.

    Good luck and I’m looking forward to seeing what you create!

  41. yatheen says:

    hi i m 15 yrs old..i have passion and love towards maths and only maths!my parents want me to become an engineer..i want to be a pure mathematician!what are the courses that i can prefer that will satisfy both me and my parents??

  42. Aimi says:

    Hi , I’m 38 , and recently lost my job , as a manager , I was dismissed – cos I think basically my face didn’t fit .
    I’m totally scared , I’m a single parent and desperately want to find something and feel good.
    I’ve just had an interview knock back today , so much was riding on it , cos basically there is very little work out there .
    I just feel knocked , and feel lacking when it comes to development – cos my work has always been a maximum of 3 years .
    I guess I don’t know where to begin , and wish I could see the light .

  43. Luke says:

    Hi
    I am 30 years old. I feel like I’m lost in this world. Everything I start I never finish.I tried to find what am I good at,what keep me energized, try to see what to I do different everyday try to see maybe there is something I do and that what aim good at, but NO.
    I have taking the test where it shows you what you able or capable of doing and there is nothing I enjoy doing.
    I wake up and seat on the computer ,check the regular staff,mail Facebook etc…. and thats it.
    Im not lazy I just don’t have the drive and feel like I’m not good at anything.

  44. Ruiz says:

    Im 25 years old and since i was in high school i kept asking my self what im good at ?
    Im a hard worker and smart on hand jobs but i can’t memorize what I read even when I was in school i have to read over and over in order to make a B or C eventuough i tried very hard.
    I love anything that has to do with building, I enjoy it.
    I was thinking of going back to school for some type of engineer career but im afraid to waste my money and time on it
    Even though im good on bulding stuffs but bad on learning from books.
    I need help to find me the right career.

  45. Emma says:

    Hey, a year ago I completed my Bachelor of Environmental Design, specialising in architecture. Since late grade 10, I’ve suffered from sever depression and have since struggled to motivate myself. I forced myself to complete college and my bachelor degree, and I recently commenced my Masters of Architecture. Whilst the work load is intense, and I have many sleep-less nights, I wonder why I have returned? Do I enjoy it? More importantly, am I good at it? Initially I loved design – it combined art and maths – two things that I was relatively good at. But I continue to struggle to study, and I continue to hand in last minutes designs late (architecture suicide). I have no idea whether I’m good at it or not… My marks are very inconsistent and I wonder whether its due to my depression and fluctuating levels of concentration and motivation, or whether I’m waiting my time. All I want is to enjoy and hopefully excel at what I do. What do I do? I’m seeking some direction in life!

  46. Brandon Smith says:

    As long as you are actively battling depression and are experiencing the highs and lows, it will be virtually impossible to truly see what you are good at and love doing. I would highly recommend that you seek out professional help to cope with your depression (whether it’s a therapist in your local area or medication). A good regular exercise regimen is also an effective way of keeping depression in check. Once you get it sufficiently managed, maybe then you’ll start to see the patterns you are looking for. Good luck and hang in there!

  47. jho aquino says:

    hi! i really dont know on what field i should go on. im a BS Information Technology (I.T) graduate last May 2011,and i also took up a vocational course which is Computer Hardware Servicing or as a computer technician. i got pregnant on the same year that’s why i need to give up my chance to have a job ld i do first.. / to find a job for that year. it’s already 2013 and still im jobless . Ive decided that i should pursue my carrer for this year but im having a hard time on what field i should go to apply. when i was studying, it was easy for me to understand programming language like visual basic, then a little in networking and also in web developing. i also know how to draw cartoon characters since i was in high school, i also like solving math problems and some physics formula etc.. im also reading books that would help me to gain my knowledge like a medicine book where in i could have a knowledge about our bodies and other types of disease etc. any thing about our health.As my friends describe my personalities, im a kind and has a very long patience and has a leadership in me. im also a moody kind of person. . please help me where or what shou

  48. Brandon Smith says:

    Jho,
    My gut reaction is for you to pursue something tied to your degree in IT. Even with that focus, your options could range dramatically. Other questions to ask yourself are:

    – How much creativity do you want in your job?
    – How much “customer” interaction do you want each day?
    – What would be the perfect description of your work environment / coworkers?

    Answers to those questions might help you narrow your focus. The last thing I definitely want to address is your comment that you are a “moody kind of person.” That should also be considered. How moody? What sets you off? If you simply don’t like working with the same people every day, contractor roles may also be an option.

    Good luck and keep me posted!

  49. Louie Bogan says:

    im 23 years old very good looking and really good at sales but only haave a high school diploma and have to make 40k plus a year due to my new child i left the oil field cuz it was too many hrs and too dangerous but i need something that pays like that

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