I took a circuitous route towards happiness. Back when I first graduated from college, I had a lot of plans that included conquering the world and amassing loads and loads of money. Then I got laid off from a high-flying sales job that I was ill-suited for (it turns out I suck at selling). It jolted me out of complacency and taught me that I did not know what my own weaknesses and strengths were. I have not even defined what ‘success’ meant for me. My key takeaway from that experience is that you have to know yourself better to be happier.
How do you define success and happiness?
Have you asked yourself what it means to be successful? Is it having a happy family? Financial rewards? Getting your kids through college? Being successful is different for each person. Happiness is different for each one of us. If you were brought up in a financially wealthy family, you may not think that having the biggest house or the best car is the epitome of success. For many of us born in third-world countries with limited options, getting a job abroad and sending remittances back home might equal success. Providing financially for our families is the definition of happiness for most of us.
Understand your strengths and weaknesses
When we’re young, we like to think that we can conquer the world. We like to think that whatever goals we set up for ourselves are achievable. What trips us up along the way is if we don’t know what our weaknesses are. As a salesperson, I was great with product knowledge. I knew the small print but I lacked skills in people relations. What I did not do was pander to the customers’ every need and I missed clues in body language. I should have stopped and analyzed what my weaknesses were when it comes to selling so I could have improved.
Learn and improve
Just because you’re bad at it does not mean that you won’t succeed. Just because you’re good does not mean you will continue to be great if you don’t work at it. Strengths and weaknesses change with time. For example, if you want to get a job abroad but you’re failing in IELTS, you can work to improve your English proficiency. That’s why there are practice tests and tons of books on it – all it takes is a little conscientiousness and dedication. This is something that you can apply in life. Another great resource is the people around you; if you’re not sure of your strengths and weaknesses, ask your colleagues, managers or even friends and family if you’re just getting started in your career.
If you’re keen to learn more about yourself and what it takes to get a job abroad, keep browsing our blog for more useful resources.