In one of his excellent earlier books (Now, Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage), Marcus Buckingham proposed that the route to success is to discover what your natural talents or strengths are - and then play to them (Playing to our Strengths). However, this is only part of the picture.
Yes, you must discover your strengths - but you must also discover what you don't like doing and stop doing it. This is not only because its not much fun doing what you don't enjoy - more importantly doing what you don't enjoy damages you and your chances of success. In a more book ("The One Thing You Need to Know: .. About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success") Buckingham says that successful people not only play to their strengths - they sculpt their jobs so that they spend a disproportionate time doing what they love.
Discovering what you don't like doing seems straightforward enough, but stopping doing it seems more challenging. Buckingham says there are four indicators that you need to stop doing what you're doing:
- When you're bored with what you do and your interests are not engaged - change jobs
- When you enjoy your job and are performing well but you're unfulfilled because your values aren't engaged - change jobs
- When your interests and your values are engaged but your strengths aren't so that you're frustrated - find a way of tweaking your job so that it plays to your strengths. If you can't, then change jobs
- When your interests, values and strengths are engaged, but your job requires you to have a strength where you have a weakness so that you're drained - partner with someone who loves to do what you hate to do, or find an aspect of the activity that brings you strength and always keep this aspect at the top of your mind.