Career Advice from Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou inspires me to be a kinder and better person. Turns out she would also make a great career advisor. I recently came across this quote:

You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you.

Finding the things you love doing is not always easy. Sometimes career unrest arises from doing work you do not love and there is no cure short of moving on. For many of my clients though, the cure for career malaise can be as simple as learning (or just remembering) who you really are so that you can figure out how to love the job you're with. By knowing your natural strengths and talents, noticing when you are most happy, and taking steps to spend more time in areas that leverage you at your best, you may be able to turn the job you loathe into the job you love.  

Not sure where to start? Take the Clifton Strengthsfinder ($9.95) and the Values in Action Inventory (free) to learn more about your strengths (the things you do well and love doing). And then look for ways to exercise those gifts in your work each day. 

Clifton Strengthsfinder: Now Online and All 34 Strengths Available


I'm a fan of the Clifton Strengthsfinderassessment from Gallup. If you have not taken the Clifton Strengthfinder to learn your top 5 strengths, I highly recommend that you do so.  

Until recently, it cost upwards of $400 to purchase your full profile of all 34 strengths in order.  To take the assessment and know only your top 5 strengths, you had to purchase a book and obtain a one-time-use assessment code.  Gallup recently changed its policy to make 2 important changes:

  1. You can now take the assessment online for $9.99 (the Strengths Discovery Package) without purchasing a book.
  2. You can choose to get all 34 of your strengths listed in order (not just the top 5) for $89 (the Strengths Development Package). You no longer need to purchase the coaching package that makes the cost prohibitive for many.  

Should you use these options? 

  1. Online versus book purchase.  I like having the books and think it's worth the cost. But for ease of use the online option is great.  My clients are busy and sometimes impatient for action. I think they will like this option. Used editions of the Gallup books with codes "harvested" by a purchaser who just wanted to take the assessment are generally available inexpensively through Amazon and other vendors.  Understand that these used books typcially don't have an assessment code. That's why they are so inexpensive.
  2. Top 5 for $9.99 versus all 34 for $89.  Unless you are a strengths wonk like me, I recommend sticking with your top 5 for $9.99.  From my perspective, that's 90% of the value of the assessment for 11% of the cost of the full 34.  You can and should spend a lot of time developing the top 5 before you even start to worry about the remainder.  The whole point is to focus on strengths.  Those at the bottom of your list are "non-strengths," exactly where you should not be focusing. If you do buy access to all 34, remember the key is to invest your efforts in developing your top strengths. 

Whichever option you choose, take this assessment and use the ideas for action contained in the report. It's a great way to leverage your strengths in your work and in your life.