Abilities vs Roles - Looking Beyond Typical Job Roles. - #044

Abilities vs Roles - Looking Beyond Typical Job Roles. - #044


Something that I've run into a lot when talking to people about their strengths is that people often think in the context of roles or jobs. I find that this really limits someone's perspective and idea of what they're good at and how that can be apppied. In a world where non traditional roles are becoming more and more prevelant, let's start thinking in terms of abilities instead.


It is Monday February 19th and I'm Josh Newton.

Welcome to the I'm Josh Newton Show where it is all about putting your potential into practice and today I want to talk about abilities versus job roles.

I think it's pretty typical, even if we're in a situation where somebody is asking us or talking about what we're good at, we typically say things that relate to a roll instead of a natural ability that we have. So if somebody says, "what are you really good at?" or if we're talking about where we're comfortable and what we're good at, we typically use of role. So we will say something like we're good at sales, or I'm really good at accounting, or bookkeeping, or I'm really good at engineering, or something like that.

And I think this comes from the fact that as we're growing up and as we're going through things like elementary school and middle school high school and even me the college, people are focused on giving us a vocation. They're focused on getting us into a place where we can make money and become a, quote un quote, productive member of society.

What this does is it puts the emphasis on two out of the three aspects of having a dream job or finding your calling whatever you want to call that. It puts an emphasis on what you're good at and probably even more so what you can make money doing. The problem with this is it often limits the way we're thinking about these roles or these possible jobs or these career choices to things that people have done in the past. To opportunities that probably exist typically but may not be a perfect fit for who we are.

So instead of focusing solely on the idea of a role or a job or a career title that you've heard in the past when you're talking about this, think about this in terms of your abilities. So if you're somebody who has often said, "I'm good at sales," think about what it is about sales that you're actually good at. What's the natural ability that you have that makes you good at the role called sales? Are you a good influencer? Do you develop rapport really quickly with people? Are you just somebody who's very good at convincing people they need something because you're able to create situations where you're painting a picture for that person and now they can't imagine their life without that reality that you just painted for them?

To use an example that goes kind of way back from me, I often had people tell me in school, whether that was middle school or high school, that I was very good at math. And in high school I actually took a pmats and Sciences but I took the kind of middle of the road or you know average level English and social studies and other classes like that. And it was true, as far as getting that work done, I was much better at math than I was at things like English for social studies but what I actually realized later on that I love about math, and its what I think made me fairly good at computer programming as well, is that I'm a problem solver. When there's something to be done, when there's a problem and there's an equation, I can't help but solve it. I really like to come to work my way through that and I do have a brain that kind of holds numbers very well and so memorizing equations and how things worked was not an issue for me. But what I found is instead of saying I'm good at math I should be a mathematician I should be an engineer whatever those things are that go into a role or a job field, what I've decided to say is "I'm good at problem solving."

The cool thing about focusing on an ability versus a job role is, it actually opens up your possibilities and it allows you to apply that ability on multiple different levels. So, yes I'm pretty good at math and I was pretty good at computer programming, but when I look at it more as problem-solving, that goes Way Beyond those types of things. I've actually applied that to developing trainings and curriculum because you know I see there's a problem to be solved. It makes me very good at almost any software package that I pick up because I just view it as a problem to be solved and I figure it out.

So focusing on your innate abilities and the abilities that you have that go beyond a job role, is really going to help you expand the way you're thinking about this and stop pigeonholing yourself or limiting you to things that you feel like you can understand a wrap your head around, existing roles and responsibilities that might be available to you.

As always I would love to hear from you. If you're listening to this on Anchor, you can give me a call in or leave me a comment. If you're listening to it anywhere else, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram under I'm Josh Newton.

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