Align Your Role With Your Key Strengths

If you’re just climbing the career ladder, you might be going the wrong way.

I’m always impressed when I meet someone with a clear career map; someone who knows where they’re going. However, what concerns me is that many people are planning their careers by following the ladder or just taking up opportunities which appear in front of them. That works for a while, but not forever.

Quite often I come across genuinely capable people, performing well in their roles and while they are genuinely successful, they feel like there’s something missing. They’ve woken up one morning feeling unfulfilled. They might even be burnt out. But one thing is clear – they’ve lost their passion for the job.

The Curse of Capability

When this happens, this is what I call the “Curse of Capability.” These are the people who are great at what they do and because they are an asset to the workplace, they always have plenty of job opportunities to choose from. It’s a smooth career because they are very capable people and capability becomes a curse when it’s easier to say “yes” to opportunities than it is to stop and consider what they want out of life.

Can you relate to this?

Are you saying “yes” to opportunities because they look good on paper? But have you ever stopped to consider whether your choices are taking you to a place which will make you happy?

To build a solid career which motivates you, one that makes you jump out of bed every day knowing you’re making a difference, you need to look beyond the ‘ladder’. Ladders aren’t designed to be flexible. You need to take a risk and get off that ladder to change your direction.

Career design isn’t simply about winning new roles. It’s about finding roles which are in alignment with you, your skills and your passions. When you are doing what you’re good at and is driven by your passions, your career takes on a whole different look.

Why you should focus on your strengths.

Positive Psychology has shown us it’s more important to focus on what we’re good at than our limitations. It’s our strengths which give us the advantage in life.

Research by Gallup shows “people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.”

Finding your strengths sounds worthwhile, doesn’t it?

When we talk about strengths at work, we usually think about skills and work experience, but I’m looking beyond those. Your real strengths come from your character, which is what influences your thoughts and actions. The combination of those strengths is like a fingerprint; it makes you a unique individual, and that’s where your true power lies.

What are your strengths?

Because most of us find it difficult to see beyond our weaknesses, you might not have a clear idea of what your strengths are. There are online tools you can use which will help you find them.

Gallup’s StrengthsFinder and the Values in Action (VIA) Survey are two of the best tools available. The VIA survey is free and takes only 15 minutes to complete. The Gallup assessment will take longer but goes into more detail. Both tools will help you find what’s unique about you so you can maximise your potential. You’ll find more profiling tools at Athena Leadership Academy. I encourage you to explore them.

Capable is boring.

“Capable” is such a boring description. To me it’s very beige. I would rather be described as exciting, passionate, energetic… Those words have life and vibrant colour, and that’s what you get from building a career aligned with your strengths and passions. Great leaders inspire us because they’re driven with a passion we can’t resist. Growth, success and improved performance all spring naturally out of the drive of your strengths.

It’s time we stopped squeezing into standard roles and found roles which fit with us and offer scope to become something more than we are right now. It’s time to build a career which aligns with your strengths, beliefs and passions. Only then will you be energised every day, satisfied, fulfilled, and living a life you love. Only then will you and your career flourish.

Now is the time to take stock of your career and your aspirations and make sure you’re going where you really want to go.

Discover the secret to love your job and love the life that you live!

The good news is that if you think you have the Curse of Capability you’re not alone!

Over the last decade, I have worked with thousands of executives and leaders just like you. The Athena Leadership Academy Career Clarity online program is the step-by-step process I take my one-on-one coaching clients through to help them become more successful in their careers.

The beauty of the Career Clarity Online Program is that it can be used at any stage of your career where you are looking to make some decisions and take action around ‘what’s next’ in your professional life. To find out more visit


Author - Linda Murray:

Linda Murray is the Founder, Facilitator, Speaker and Executive Coach at Athena Leadership Academy; the professional development hub for high performing and high potential leaders.