Capitalizing On Your Skills

How to figure out what your skills are and use them in practical applications.

Many people wish they could use their skills in a more effective manner. However, they don't know where to start. Capitalizing on your skills is not difficult, if you know the right questions to ask.

First of all, what are you good at? Make a list, and don't overlook the "little" things. For example, are you good at comforting and understanding children? Cooking meals on a budget? Running a household? Juggling? No matter how small or seemingly "insignificant" your skill may be, add it to your list. If you don't have a comprehensive list of what you can do, you won't know what to capitalize on!

Next, think about how your skills might be useful. Helping children might mean you could tutor, or run a daycare center. Juggling might mean performances in your local parade. Cooking on a budget might lead to a book or article on how others can do the same thing you can. Don't be afraid to think outside the box -- if you're good at sympathizing with others, maybe you can volunteer at a rape crisis center as a counselor. Think about all sorts of possibilities for what you can do with your skills. Keep in mind that there is no "I can't" right now -- worry about feasibility later, dream now.

Look at your paper. What's jumping out at you? Do you have a particular thing you'd like to do? Can you group skills into a particular area? Maybe your interest and expertise lay mainly in one area; maybe they're very diverse. However, either way, you now have new possibilities open to you.

Consider showing your list to a close friend or family member. Ask them what else you're good at, or what other uses for your skills they can think of. They might surprise you by pointing out something you hadn't considered. Discuss the possibilities and think about putting one of your new plans in action.

Then, it's time to put your plan in action. If, for example, you've found that you're good at doing math facts in your head, and you're good at sympathizing with and understanding children, you could head on over to your local elementary school and volunteer as a math tutor. If you're an amateur musician, maybe you can join a community band or orchestra (most communities have one, and most are non-auditioned).

Volunteering is usually one of the best ways to capitalize on your skills, but you can turn them into a job, too. If you really like to write, maybe it's time to look into freelance writing. If you're good at organizing things, maybe it's time to share the system you use, through a book or by inventing a certain type of shelving or labels that you use.

Almost anything can be turned into a useful pastime, even if you're pretty busy. You may use your skills to help you get re-organized at work, so you end up with more time for your family. Simply realizing what you're capable of may afford you more effective ways of doing things, leaving you more time and less stress. Realizing that you have all these skills you never really thought about can also raise your self-esteem!

Always try to use your skills in multiple ways and in combination with other skills. For example, if you find yourself either disorganized or overly organized at work, maybe you can use the organization skills you've found you have at home to get yourself re-organized at work. Maybe you've found a way that you learn best, and you can use it to grasp the concepts behind the new project more quickly (which could lead to a promotion down the line!).

Capitalizing on your skills is something that everyone one can do, and it can improve the quality of your life.

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