How to Discover Your Strengths to Find Your Ideal Career

Want long term career satisfaction? Tap into your strengths as a personal compass. Learn how from John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, co-founders of Lumia Coaching.

The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!

Looking For Your Ideal Career? Start With Your Strengths

The world of work is changing rapidly. The majority of workers today no longer expect to spend decades at the same organization - nor do many of us even want to. With the rise of the gig economy, home based businesses, and the ability to work virtually from anywhere... there's more opportunities and options than ever before.

There's no single playbook that offers a proven, step-by-step guide to a career you'll love for the rest of your life. Truth is, the average person changes roles at least 7 times over the course of a career. It stands to reason, really. After all, we are ever-changing beings!

Whether you’re a new life coach who's unsure of the direction you want to take, or you're hoping to find a job that suits you but don't know where to begin... we see you. And no matter where you're starting from, know this: your strengths will be your compass.

How To Discover Your Strengths

STEP 1: What brings you joy?

This may not sound like direct career guidance, but hang with us.

Start by observing the way you’ve been living. Notice the places, people, and activities that make you most happy. Pay attention to those things that fill you with genuine joy. Find the activities that stimulate curiosity and excitement.

When you start seeing patterns, you’ll begin to discover your strengths and interests that may be hiding in plain sight.

The activities that bring you joy hold clues to what your ideal work looks like.

Considering becoming a coach? We'll bet your happy place might be talking to others, helping people find direction and reach goals, or keeping others motivated and accountable.

Once you start looking, you might be surprised by just how many career clues can be found inside your everyday moments of joy!

Step 2: Avoid Comparison

“Comparison is the death of true self-contentment.” - John Powell

Comparing ourselves to others is an easy thing to do... and also one of the most destructive.

Here at Lumia Coaching, we've met many students in the early stages of becoming coaches who compare themselves right out of the gates to more established professionals in the field with years of experience under their belts. The results are usually not pretty!

Nothing will kill your motivation and aspirations faster than using the wrong measuring stick.

One of the best ways to discover your unique strengths is to refrain from comparing yourself to others. If you need a metric for progress, try comparing where you are today with the "you" of three months ago. Note how far you've come. Determine where your growth edges are. Then wash, rinse, repeat!

Step 3: Ask people you trust

Others can often see us more clearly than we see ourselves. Hearing someone else talk about your strengths can be clarifying, especially in those moments when you aren't sure what your unique contribution to the world might be. Instead of running in mental circles, take a poll of your close friends, family and coworkers.


  • What do you see as my strengths?
  • What do I uniquely bring to the table?
  • What do you see as my top skills or talents?
  • If you were to describe me in three words, what would they be?

Gather the information from a variety of sources. Write it down! Look for themes, patterns, and similarities across those who respond from different areas of your life.

Step 4: What makes you tick?

At Lumia, we believe wholeheartedly that your story is your gold. Your history and life experiences make you uniquely qualified to specialize in specific coaching niches, and to help people who can benefit from your perspective and take on things. Wondering what we mean by this? Check out: Life Coaching Is Storytelling - So What's Your Story?

What's one thing you do or see differently than most others?

For instance, let's say you were interested in running a flower shop. What is it about floral design that you do differently? Perhaps you’re most passionate about sourcing from sustainable flower farms, or maybe you choose to work only with roses. Whatever it is, follow those impulses that set you apart.

Remember: you don't need to strive toward being "wholly unique". So don't put tons of pressure on yourself to think up something that has never, ever been done before. That's a recipe for frustration! Instead, simply think about what differentiates you from the pack.

Step 5: Be honest with yourself

There’s no way any of us can discover our true strengths without an honest self appraisal.

Here's what we mean by that. If you think you have good communication skills, but find yourself consistently enmeshed in misunderstandings or miscommunications... "communication" may not be the skill to hang your hat on just yet!

It takes guts to evaluate ourselves honestly, but there's a payoff for doing so.

Shedding whatever false ideas we may hold about ourselves makes room for our real skills and talents to emerge.

Woman hiding her face in turtleneck sweater

Taking Tests Can Help

Asssements are yet another way to help you identify your strengths and apply them toward  ideal careers. There are many credible websites that offer useful assesments to guide you. One that we like particularly is the VIA Character Strengths inventory, which will show what you hold to be most important, and where you're likely to find the deepest rewards.

While these tools will not provide absolute answers, they will often narrow down your options, inform your perspective about yourself, and introduce new ideas.

VIA Character Strengths Test

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

My Next Move Interest Profiler

MAPP Career Assessment Test

Steps to Finding Your Ideal Career

Jump right in... AND calculate the risks

Finding your ideal career is a process of self-discovery and risk-taking. That said, it's important to be informed. So do your homework! If you're thinking about entering a new industry, learn about it. Talk to people who are successful in the field, and find out how they got there.

If you're thinking about becoming a life coach, here's a few resources you might like:

Balance money, passion and values

Whether you want to work for someone else or you’re considering building your own business, calculate your personal "triple bottom line."

We've met so many people in our coach training programs who were making great money on their current career paths, only to walk away in order to pursue coaching. Why? Because money doesn't equal satisfaction.

In the process of discovering your strengths, you will also discover those things you value the most. Allow your core values to serve as a steady compass in determining which career path you should take.

Define your ideal lifestyle

What kind of life do you want to live?

  • Are you a happy homebody who likes staying in your own corner of the world most of the time?
  • Do you prefer to be on the move, exploring new places as often as possible?
  • Do you gain energy from being around lots of other people... or not so much?
  • How about collaboration - do you enjoy working as part of a team, or prefer to be an individual contributor?

Your personality and the kind of lifestyle you want to live can be a great help in discovering your ideal career.

Ready to Become A Coach?

One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our life coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like a partner in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

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