I think we can all agree that the job search is, well, kind of scary. Even if you’re confident that your current job just isn’t the right fit, the entire process is intimidating. And perhaps one of the most daunting parts is the job interview. Yes, landing an interview—getting your job application noticed and having a recruiter contact you (finally!)—is very exciting. But after the initial rush of adrenaline wears off, the anxiety creeps in. Not only will you have to talk about yourself, but you have to do it in a way that convinces the company that you’re the very best fit for the role. And that can be downright terrifying.
Because as strange as it may seem, most of us aren’t experts on ourselves. If asked one of the most common job interview questions, “What are your greatest strengths?” we freeze.
This isn’t entirely our fault. When it comes to nailing one of the most critical aspects of a job search, the education system has failed us. Sure, we can put together a decent resume and write a five-paragraph essay (maybe). But knowing ourselves and clearly identifying our true strengths? Good one.
And because we don’t understand this about ourselves, we typically fail to find a job that’s a good fit. Instead, we try to mold ourselves to whatever the job description says. And this strategy may get you a job, but it’s probably the wrong one.
So if you’re ready to like your job more and create a career you love, you need to get to know yourself and your strengths better—and learn how to speak about them with confidence. Here’s where you can start.
The Secret: Know Your Zone of Genius
When I was researching the science in search of what made great performance, it was clear. You needed to be challenged, in a good way, and you need to be intrinsically motivated – which means you have natural endless energy for your work. If you’re challenged and intrinsically motivated, it’s nearly impossible not to love work and achieve the kind of long term success that you desire.
So how do you do that? Your first step is to identify your Zone of Genius, which consists of two data points, your Genius and your Purpose.
Genius: Your Genius is the thinking or problem-solving that you’re best at. It’s often hard to see it because it’s so ingrained into how you think, but if you’re conscious of the moments that you’re in the Zone, that sweet spot where you’re so challenged by the thinking or problem-solving that you’re doing that you lose track of time, then you will notice it.