There is a lot of talk about how Americans need to be more “competitive” in a global marketplace. I don’t want to write about that today, though. Instead, I’m more interested in talking about your competitiveness and how you can make sure that you don’t lose sight of your talents and what you are worth.
The longer you do something, the easier it can get to lose perspective. If you stay in the job for a long time, chances are, you’ll start to get better at it or you’ll get fired. The longer you’re working for a company, the more you start to create shortcuts to your own prosperity.
Whether these shortcuts allow you ample time to focus on things that matter to you, opportunities for advancement or access to key people who can influence your career positively; it’s natural to get into a role and start seeking out affirmation for the good you do on a daily basis.
Whether you get affirmed regularly or not, it’s very important to know how much value you provide your company. Objective measures of this can come from performance evaluations, comments from colleagues and subordinates or from management within the organization.
First off, you need to know what you’re good at. In a declining economy, no job is really safe. Everyone seems to be cutting back and so, it’s critical to understand what your raw talents are. What are your assets? What do you bring to the table and do better than anyone else in the world?
It can be really easy to attribute your success in a particular situation to “how good you are” and to leave it at that. While that might be true — you could be “that good” — you have to recognize how much your success is reliant on the conditions of your particular job. Where you might thrive in one place, going somewhere else with different conditions and the same you, could result in a very different set of outcomes.
If you don’t know what you do best, you might never reach your full potential. For some, that’s okay, because life is a series of tradeoffs and what you do in your career isn’t the defining thing for most people’s life satisfaction. But it’s important to recognize inherently what you do best, because an ability to nurture and grow those talents, can allow you to thrive and remain confident about your career options even in the most trying economic climate.