If you played or watched baseball you may know there is a sweet-spot on the bat.
Part of being street-smart is to discover and understand where in the business world does “your sweet spot” exist. One method is to create a list of skills and capabilities, both strengths and weaknesses. Based on this list, you can create a short list which begins to define your own sweet-spot.
Your sweet-spot defines where you can have the maximum impact by using your strengths in a career you choose. While “thriving” by providing your normal effort. Super human effort burns us out over time, choose wisely, using your street-smarts and your strengths.
Example: Going back to college, after traveling the world for 3 years, ( a story for another day), I made a decision to get a college degree. Based on high school, math and science came naturally to me. This lead me to review becoming an engineer.
Mechanical or electrical engineering did not use one of my strengths, chemistry. My final chose was to be a Chemical Engineer. I did not focus too much on what type of positions came with this degree. Mostly around what types of positions I would not be trying to enter, which were based on my weaknesses.
A top down and bottoms up approach was used by me to determine a college degree.
I reviewed various degrees to see if they used my natural abilities in math and science. A bottoms up approach was used to steer me away from chemistry and towards chemical engineering. Looking at the types of jobs available with a chemistry degree, they matched my weaknesses, not my strengths.
My sweet spot coming out of college became a company who manufactured products and dealt with fluids. The types of positions I would consider had to use my strengths and allow me to focus on my career path.
An overview of the positions for me to pursue were:
- Strong chemical knowledge, (required in positions under review).
- Project focused in the physical world, (not the “quantum chemistry” level).
- Practical applied science, (weakness is theory).
- Working with people, (not test tubes).
- Newer, (not older technology).
- A fast growing company, (odds favor a smaller company).
- Future advancement opportunities within the company.
- Overseas opportunities, (to travel is in my blood).
A company called Osmonics was my first job out of college, a manufacturer of membrane technology for fluid separations. The company did not have any foreign offices. Yet over time I was able to help take the products overseas and ended up living in Hong Kong and Switzerland.
By using a list of strengths and weaknesses, you are more prepared to look into existing career paths which match “your sweet-spot”.
Similar to looking into a mirror, we may not like what we see, yet it is the reality. Whether you are entering your first job search or have been in the marketplace for a few years and are considering a career change. Focus on your strengths, (and weaknesses), which helps define the right career path for you.
Your lists of strengths and weaknesses is one of the best places to begin to find the types of companies which will help you “thrive” in your career. Use the old saying with “street-smarts” to help define your career path.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
Now it is your turn to further define your sweet-spot.
Make 2 columns, strengths and weaknesses. It does not matter what you write down, as long as it is the truth about you. Consider your skills, capabilities and “business-beliefs”. All of them are important as you are laying out the foundation of what defines “your sweet-spot”.
I have added business-beliefs on purpose, they become more important as you consider the best companies to seek out on purpose. What we refer to as “The Right Company” for you.
A combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort.
To thrive in your career, one of the best things you can do is determine your sweet-spot. By matching your best skills and capabilities to the degree in college you choose and then determining your sweet spot “prior” to looking for the first job.