“You cannot be anything you want to be — but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”
– Strengthsfinder 2.0, Tom Rath
As part of my work to figure out what’s next after my sabbatical, I’ve been doing a lot of reading in order to try to find my purpose. I’ll share a list of recommended books at a later point in time.
One of my recent purchases was StrengthsFinder 2.0. For those who aren’t familiar with it, StrengthsFinder is part of Gallup. It leverages enormous amounts of data to help people uncover their strengths. I highly recommend it.
In the intro to the book, Tom Rath challenges the conventional wisdom about trying to improve your weaknesses and, notably, that you can be anything you want to be if you just work hard enough.
That’s when he writes this powerful sentence:
“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are. “
The idea is that you can get a lot further by leveraging your strengths and doing work that puts those strengths to use instead of spending much (if any) of your working time on things that aren’t your strengths.
In my search to figure out what I want to do next, sometimes I think about what I could pursue that is a complete 180 from where I am now.
I daydream of things I don’t have the skill or strengths for.
But the more I think about it, what will really propel me ahead in terms of happiness, purpose, mission, and fulfillment is maybe not as far away as I think.
I think it’s maybe more of tweaking my current role. For example, finding the right people to work with, the right schedule, the right culture, and the right organizational purpose.
So, if you too are struggling to figure out what’s next and find your purpose, the best question I think you can ask yourself is:
What will help you become more of who you already are?
This post is part of our Sabbatical Sundays series. To read more, click here.