The Art of Strengths Coaching

F is for Focusing On Your Chosen Field

“Looking back, I would have found it invaluable to get some really good career advice,” said one person.

“I have always loved designing things, but there are so many different things you can design.

“Certainly jobs change. But it would have been useful to explore the different fields where I could excel.”

Imagine that you want to find a field of activity where you can do fulfilling work. Let’s also assume that you are clear on your vocation.

A person’s vocation is their calling. It is what they are here to do. Their vocation remains constant throughout their life, but they may express this through various vehicles on the way towards doing valuable work.

Imagine that your vocation may be: ‘To help people to succeed.’

You can express this theme through many different vehicles. For example, you may choose:

To be an educator.
To be a trusted advisor.
To produce books that help people to shape their futures.
To be a health professional who helps people to take care of their wellbeing.
To build software that enables people to succeed.
To make television programmes that show positive things happening in the world.
Or whatever.

So how to find the right vehicle? It is important to find the field of activity in which you can excel and do fulfilling work. You may feel at home working with certain kinds of people, technology, business, science, sport, the arts, food, music, management or whatever.

It can be useful to focus on a field of activity that you find fascinating, have a strong feeling for and also have a track record of finishing. Let’s explore these themes.

You Find The
Activity Fascinating

What are the things that fascinate you? What are the activities where you want to explore and make sense of things? What are those where you want to build models?

One clue is to choose a field where you would pursue this activity even if you did not get paid for doing it. It is almost like a positive addiction.

The Gallup Organization asks people a question on this theme when exploring their strengths. They ask:

“What are the things you cannot help but do?”

Derek Jacobi, the actor, said something similar in a television interview. When approached by young people who want his advice on becoming an actor, he says something like the following.

“If you want to become an actor, then don’t do it. If you need to become an actor, then do it.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do two things.

Describe a specific field of activity that you find fascinating.

Try to be as specific as possible. Imagine that you enjoy encouraging people. If so, what kind of people? What are their characteristics? What are the specific things you enjoy doing when encouraging them?

Describe the specific things you find fascinating in this activity.

Again, try to be as specific as possible. Then move on to the next stage.

Slides F is for your chosen Field.002

Slides F is for your chosen Field.003

You Have A Strong
Feeling For The Activity

Looking at the field of activity you have chosen, do you have a strong feeling for it? Are you good at it? If so, begin to explore how you can do more of this kind of work.

If not, take the time to reflect on other fascinating activities. Looking at these activities, where do you have the ability to do good work that is also fulfilling? Then settle on one you want to explore further.

How to tell whether you have a feeling for an activity? Sometimes it can be useful to ask some of the classic questions. These include the following.

What are the deeply satisfying activities in which you deliver As, rather than Bs or Cs? When are you in your element, at ease and yet able to excel?

What are the activities in which you quickly see patterns? Where do you have the ability to make complicated things simple? Where do you see the destination quickly? When do you go ‘A, B … then leap to … Z’?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do two things.

Describe the specific field of activity you find fascinating that you also have a feeling for.

Describe some specific examples that show you may have a feeling for the activity.

Slides F is for your chosen Field.004

Slides F is for your chosen Field.006

You Have A Track
Record Of Finishing

Let’s return to the activity you find fascinating and have a feeling for. Is it one where you also have a track record of finishing?

“I have a good record of building and selling successful prototypes,” said one entrepreneur. “This normally takes between 2 and 3 years.

“I did run one company for five years. But scaling the business meant I got involved in the maintenance aspects. My staff took care of the day-to-day work, of course, but I lost interest in running the business.

“Some people create and sell larger businesses for massive sums, but that is not my forte.

“I prefer to build prototypes, provide proof of concept and then sell to buyers. This is what I am good at finishing.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do two things.

Describe the specific field of activity you find fascinating, have a feeling for and where you also have a track record of finishing.

Describe some specific examples that show you have a track record of finishing in this activity.

Slides F is for your chosen Field.007

Slides F is for your chosen Field.008

Focusing On
Your Chosen Field

Let’s assume that you have settled on your chosen activity. How can you develop by doing fine work that is also fulfilling?

Building on your interest, it can be useful to focus on doing a specific project. Tackle one that you find stimulating, stretching and where you stand a good chance of success.

During the past 50 years I have met many people who have done fulfilling work. They followed their passions, translated these into specific projects and achieved peak performance.

Many pursued what are now called Squiggly Careers. Whilst following their vocation, they expressed this through many different vehicles on the way to doing valuable work. Only a few followed more conventional careers.

You will, of course, pursue your journey in your own way. If you wish, try tackling the exercise that invites you to go further along the road. This asks you to do the following things.

Describe your chosen specific field of activity.

Describe the specific things you can do to do fulfilling work in this field.

Slides F is for your chosen Field.009

Slides F is for your chosen Field.010

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