It was a hot summer day, many years ago, much like the weather we’re having in Brussels right now.
I was poring over my books, studying complex sine and cosine trigonometry.
And I felt pretty good about myself.
I got this.
I was good at this.
And my exam the next day went really well, just like the 4 other math exams I had been taking that week as mandatory admission exams in order to start my engineering studies at university.
But the truth is – engineering wasn’t (and still isn’t) my thing.
Turns out, I didn’t love the extensive number crunching, or the technical problem solving, or the proper engineering work.
Taking those math exams and embarking on those engineering studies was a logical step.
It made rational sense to me– because I was good at math, and you sure need a lot of that when you want to become an engineer.
But a few years into my engineering studies, I realized that what you’re good at is not THE signpost for what you should be pursuing professionally– even though we often treat it that way.
What matters too, is the energy you actually get from doing that thing.
There’s friends of mine who actually LOVE the number crunching, the technical problem solving, and the proper engineering work.
And they’re damn good at it.
And that’s a match made in heaven.
But just being good at something is not the path to a rewarding, thriving, exciting career.
When you’re not getting energy from doing the thing you’re good at, you’ll feel drained and unfulfilled after a while, once the novelty of it all has been wearing of.
And then you feel puzzled because – even though on paper things seem to make sense – in truth, they don’t.
How do you feel about your current work – are you good at it? And do you love it?
Does it give you energy? Can’t you stop talking about it?
Or does it drain your energy?
Take a moment to honestly answer these questions, and separate out being good at something from getting energy from doing that thing.
Because they BOTH matter.
You need a resounding yesss! on both ends.
Just one is not enough for a jumping-out-of-bed-in-the-morning career.
And that’s what you’re really after, right?