How to leverage your skills anywhere

 In Transition & Decisions, Work & career

We never start from scratch. Even when we think we start over, we always have a foundation within that we often fail to recognise. I’m talking about skills, personality traits and experiences that makes you unique.

In the past I’ve talked a bit about the power of compounding experience. It’s a bit like money in your savings account, they will grow over time (unless you spend them all on travels or something else of course!). Life experience is very much the same.

So when clients come to me and say “I can’t believe I have to start over again!” I help them re-frame what they are actually dealing with. More often than not, they have a very similar (if not exactly the same type of) experience somewhere in their past. For most of us we just labelled it as ‘another type of experience‘ at the time and filed it away somewhere in the back of our mind. Sometimes we just need a little help to find it again. 

Let me share an example. Before I started working in the coaching space over 4 years ago, I worked mostly in sales and marketing. For the longest time I looked at marketing as a completely separate activity and skill set compared to coaching. Naturally there were many new things I needed to learn about coaching to become a skilled coach. But the clear divide in my mind between coaching and marketing meant I never really allowed myself to open the two ‘archive boxes’ at the same time. Until a mentor of mine asked me if I was using my past work experiences to help me be a better coach. Apparently I looked at her with confusion on my face and said ‘but they are not the same‘.  Indeed, they are not the same, but there is a lot of things they have in common! Human thinking, connection, presentation skills, rapport building, motivation to change and mindset to name a few. 

It’s not just our story that makes us unique, it’s all the skills and experiences we gather along the way. Sometimes you simply fail to acknowledge that you have them and that they are also valuable

When it feels like you’re starting over and having to deal with a new (and possibly scary) thing, ask yourself the following 4 questions:

  1. Be honest – what about this new thing scares you the most? Everyone will have some type of fear or worry come up when they head into the unknown. The main difference I see is how aware people are of what that fear is AND if they are able to act in spite of that fear.
  2. What’s a thing in your past triggered a similar fear/feeling? Don’t let the ego take over and dismiss this question. Choose a quiet place and a time when you can focus and allow yourself to really think about it. I bet you have at least one thing that comes up! 
  3. What would you like to do differently this time (if anything)? A mistake in the past is never a mistake if we learn from it for next time. This is your chance to do and be different. 
  4. Who can help you? No man (or woman) is an island. Reach out to someone for help if you get stuck on this. 

If you’re in the process of moving to a new place and maybe even looking for a new job at the same time, you might find this especially challenging. A while ago I held a webinar about how to leverage your previous skills in a new role or country, you can listen to part one and  part two of the recordings for free if you want!

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