For this week's Wisdom Wednesday, I wanted to share a section from a book I recently read, titled, Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker. The book explains key concepts on how to identify your most useful strengths and weaknesses, on how to work with others, on how to determine your values, and on how to find the ideal workplace where you can make the greatest contributions. I encourage you to read it.
Below is a short excerpt from a segment on finding out where you belong.
"A small number of people know very early where they belong. Mathmeticians, musicians, and cooks, for instance, are usually mathmeticians, musicians, and cooks by the time they are four or five years old. Physicians usually decide on their careers in their teens, if not earlier. But most people, especially highly gifted people, do not really know where they belong until they are well past their mid-twenties. By that time, however, they should know the answers to the three questions: What are my strengths? How do I perform? and, What are my values? And then they can and should decide where they belong.
Or rather, they should be able to decide where they do not belong. The person who has learned that he or she does not perform well in a big organization should have learned to say no to a position in one. The person who has learned that he or she is not a decision maker should have learned to say no to a decision-making assignment. A General Patton (who probably never learned this himself) should have learned to say no to an independent command.
Equally important, knowing the answer to these questions enables a person to say to an opportunity, an offer, or an assignment, "Yes, I will do that. But this is the way I should be doing it. This is the way it should be structured. This is the way the relationships should be. These are the kind of results you should expect from me, and in this time frame, because this is who I am."
Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person - hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre - into an outstanding performer."
This segment allows us to learn a great lesson on how we should determine where we don't belong in our life and career. Through experiences such as school and previous jobs, we become knowlegable on what our strengths and values are. Thus, it should never make sense to align ourselves in areas that don't match up with those strengths or values, even if the money or external motivation for doing so may seem quite tempting.