Why do some people thrive in the work they do while others seem miserable?
Throughout my years as a business coach and a consultant, this question always fascinated me. On a practical level, I always tried to place people in the "right" job for them. But uncovering "right" was a trial and error process of soliciting input from people about what they wanted and then observing their performances.
It wasn't until my partner Gary and I developed the Perceptual Style Assessment that I discovered a reliable way to help people match their talents with the tasks at hand. Together, we discovered a natural correlation between a given person's innate abilities and talents-as revealed by their Perceptual Style, and a number of associated factors-and where that person naturally excelled in work and business.
Over the past 30+ years of working together-coaching businesses and teams ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startup entrepreneurs-Gary and I discovered an organic connection not only between happiness and these innate abilities, but between unhappiness and the failure to put these abilities to work.
There are two major reasons people experience a disconnect between their natural abilities and their day-to-day actions: first, by focusing on developing what they don't do well, and second, failing to develop what they do.
We all have a lot of forces in our lives that encourage us to try harder at what we don't do well. You know the saying: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. It's all well and good to demonstrate persistence and stick-to-it-iveness, but too often, we spend our time trying to get better at what doesn't come naturally to us, rather than developing what it is we actually do well.
For the most part this arises from good intentions on the part of people and institutions that want the best for us - our friends and family and our schools and employers: they want to help us to become well-rounded human beings. The paradox is that in getting us to pour our energy into improving skills that don't come naturally, we often push our true talents into the background. This creates a lot of frustration and unhappiness for most people.
Which leads to our second major factor: when people get so focused trying to acquire new skills, they end up undervaluing those things for which they are naturally gifted. People fail to appreciate what they are able to do easily and assume it isn't anything special. Nothing is farther from the truth. But all too often, the attitude towards gifts and talents seems to be "If I can do this really easily, it must not be worth anything." It seems to be part of human condition to believe that if it isn't "hard work", there isn't value.
Based on these two factors, it's not hard to see why so many people wind up stuck in jobs they don't enjoy, or wearing hats in their businesses that really don't fit who they are.
The simple fact is, people are happiest and most satisfied in life when they are engaged in actions and activities that draw upon their natural capacities, skills, and abilities.
Our experience over the years has shown us that people who consciously develop their natural capacities experience more joy, satisfaction, and success in life. Our motto is "Do more of what you do best". It is at the core of our philosophy of strengths-based coaching - building on what each individual naturally excels at.