As a fan of the Strength-Based Movement, having Tom Rath encourage doubling down on one's natural talents in his book Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life was not a surprise.
Tom Rath's late mentor and grandfather, Don Clifton, was the founder of Gallup's StrengthFinder, so one of the first to recognize the importance of pursuing one's strengths.
To summarize, we each have natural abilities—strengths—that make us uniquely who we are. Although we can try to develop our weaknesses to be more well rounded, we will never truly reach our potential or true success unless we pursue our strengths.
Life will often challenge the pursuit and full development of your strengths, but to truly succeed, why not become more of what you already are instead of trying to be someone you are not? Instead of telling our children that they can be whatever they want to be, we should help them recognize who they already are and encourage them to double down on these talents.
Studies show, as Tom shares, that those with jobs aligned to their strengths not only produce more in shorter periods of time, but also get positive energy from being true to themselves. Those that are not are fighting their inherent selves, will feel depleted, and will never truly succeed regardless of how hard they try. Think Sisyphus. Not a pleasant image yet something so many of us are doing without realizing the full implication.
And to get the benefit of both your strengths and the meaning necessary for a truly energized life, find the overlap between your strengths, your interests, and what others need.
Even if you can't leave your less than ideal job, you can find meaningful activities that align with your strengths and try to spend more time on those.
Think of everything you've done on the job last week. Which activities just felt right and natural and made you feel great afterwards? Is there a way you can spend more time doing that and/or ensure you do some of that every day?
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