In the last month I have followed a four-day training on discovering my skills and getting job ideas that fit those. Some of the exercises were based on the Richard Bolles book What colour is your parachute, for example telling a story of personal success that made you happy. What was the problem? How did you tackle it? What was the result? And then looking at that story from the point of view of the skills that you used.
This exercise is already powerful when conducted on your own. Though it is far more powerful when two other persons that you have just met listen and write down all the skills that they hear in your story! It’s far more than just a mirror, as this way you obtain insights in skills you never thought off, let alone thought you have yourself. It also leads to analyses of seemingly opposing skills that you both have and like to use perhaps in different situations. For example being structured at work and spontaneous while travelling. Also, telling people you just met your personal story, provides you with a reflection and feedback on how much you have already done and achieved, both personally, educationally as well as professionally.
The power of conversations also applies to having open and authentic conversations in general. Some say ‘good conversations work as a magnet’. As through these conversations with others, you can reflect on what matters to you (what do you love talking about?). While at the same time attracting (exactly like a magnet) new insights, resources, network, methods etc. from the other, exactly related to those topics that matter to you.
Through these conversations you therefore really help each other. So if you worry about what you have to offer…? Exactly that! Your listening, feedback, insight, experience and knowledge will help the other person as much as it will help you.
For finding (purposeful) work this means better not stay at home and struggle with your (online) search. Instead, go out there, meet new people through visiting events, meetups, conferences etc. Or simply ask to meet for a coffee to share stories. If you have met the person before or can refer to common connection, that is of course great. If not, sending an open email on what you are doing at the moment and why you would be interested to meet, works in my experience 9 of 10 times, even if you don’t know each other. And the 10th time a no, is also totally fine.
Be open and authentic in your conversations. Really listen to each other, provide feedback and share your experience, knowledge and network. Then reflect on the conversations you find interesting. Is it a certain topic? The type of people you speak to? Feeling connected? Helping someone? And search more of those conversations. And continue to reflect what makes them so interesting. This will help you figure out what type of work you would like to do, while networking at the same time! And it helps you to realise you are not the only one on this search. It will therefore motivate and inspire you to continue and take new steps. And who knows… it may even help you find your ‘tribe’!