Work That’s Meaningful: Work Within Your Gift and Skill Set

I realized something cool the other day. I have a built-in check to evaluate whether or not I’m working within the parameters of my true gifts, skills, and talents.

In my previous business pursuits—everything ranging from data entry and broadcast journalism to school teaching and direct sales/referral marketing—I’ve tried super-hard to convince myself and everyone around me that I was good at my work.

Now—I don’t know that I’ve ever been completely rotten at a job (OK; maybe one or two), but I do know that I have struggled with jobs simply because they weren’t a good fit.

But I never wanted to be reminded of those struggles. No. I constantly sought validation from my husband—and other family members—that I was good at the job. I really wanted to hear, “You’re good at that. That’s a good fit for you. I know you are going to be successful,” and so on. And when those comments were not offered spontaneously, something triggered the doubt center inside. That’s when I’d “fish” for compliments and encouragement, knowing that I wasn’t very good at that pursuit and that some (or many) aspects of that business endeavor drained and bored me to the core.

The other day, Chris spontaneously told me how much he is enjoying this new blog, especially the podcasts. Those words of unsolicited accolade meant so much because I knew he meant them.

And? I had a hard time believing it. Really? I thought.

So, when I find it incredulous that someone would tell me they think I’m doing a good job; when I find it unbelievable that someone finds my work helpful and I actually have so much fun doing it, then I know I’m onto something.

Are you working within your gift and skill set? Or does work feel like a struggle, a bore, or an insurmountable challenge? Are you fishing for compliments? How do unsolicited compliments offer validation and encouragement?