How To Succeed
by Following Your Natural Aptitude

See also: Self-Esteem

Do you know what you're good at? Most people have a decent idea but aren't exactly sure where their strongest talents lie.

That's because personality, unique preferences, mental capability, emotional maturity, and interpersonal skills combine to create a completely different array of talents in each human being.

You can get a clue about your inborn aptitude when you perform tasks that seem to come naturally and make you feel as if you're in a zone of perfect performance and effortless accomplishment. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to discover what your specific aptitudes are. After that, you'll be in a much better position to add schooling and experience as icing on the cake.

Schooling Is the Other Ingredient

Formal schooling, either in vocational programs, college, or graduate school are the most frequent way people top off their inherent skills with solid training. Unfortunately, some people stop short and don't earn the degrees that could propel them to the next level of achievement. For instance, you might have the best legal mind around, but unless you attend law school, you'll never have the chance to practice the craft. Fortunately, many college grads who believe they have what it takes to enter the legal profession take out law school loans to round out their formal school work. Getting a loan from a private lender is one of the smartest ways for future lawyers to get all their schooling paid for up front so they can focus on earning high grades during the three-year course of study.

Talent Is Not Enough

When people find out what their real strong points are, and then boost that inborn talent with formal training, they tend to reach the pinnacle of success in their given fields of endeavor. For example, if you were born with a strong ability to understand people and how they deal with one another, chances are you will make a highly successful detective. But you can't take on a job like that without several years of experience and education. Natural aptitude alone is almost never enough to get the job done. In other words, you might be born with all the key ingredients to succeed, but it's essential to put those components together in the right way and carefully prepare them before you get a good result. Here are some of the most important steps to take if you want to understand your natural skills and aim to build a career based on them.

Take a Battery of Tests

Whether you're currently in school or working full-time, consider contacting a licensed career counselor and taking a series of written tests to determine your strengths. Many professionals in the job counseling field will have you take between five and nine tests, each of which takes about 30 minutes. After you're done, the counselor will sit down with you and explain the results, which are not always obvious. You'll learn the two or three most promising career paths unique to people who have the same strengths. Plus, the career professional will usually offer suggestions about the kinds of jobs that would suit you and what types of schooling and training are the best ways to enhance your skills and boost chances for employment.

Get the Degree or Training You Need

Get the education or experience you feel suits you best, based on the several strong areas the testing uncovered. For example, if you don't yet have a four-year diploma, maybe a degree in computer science, literature, engineering, education, business, or some other area is the obvious next step. For some, the track to a productive and rewarding career is vocational school, a graduate degree in law or medicine, or a certificate program in preschool education or social work. There are hundreds of paths to the ideal job, but you'll never know until you explore what you're truly good at and what kinds of things you enjoy doing. Of course, the final step, training or education, is often the most important because it gives you the social credibility that so many fields demand for entry.

Explore Your Two Top Aptitude Areas

Few people are adept at just one skill. If you take the aptitude test battery, chances are you'll discover three or more categories in which you naturally excel. Consider choosing the two that appeal to you most, and those won't necessarily be the ones at the top of the list. Many people who possess excellent math skills, for instance, have no desire to enter a career along those lines. So, remember to cull through the testing results and choose a pair of skill that are near the top of your list but that you also have an attraction towards.

Get Job Experience or Training

Talent and education are not everything, even if you earn a high-level degree with excellent grades. After that, it's time to polish off your readiness with real-world training. For folks who attend vocational school and earn certification as licensed auto mechanics, for example, it's vital to get at least one year of on-the-job experience before moving ahead or going into business for themselves.

Continuing Education

Okay, you've followed your natural gifts to the final stage. You're educated, trained, and successful. What's next? For nearly every profession, continuing education is a must. And, don't assume the requirement only applies to doctors and lawyers. Nowadays, nearly everyone who holds any kind of license or certification needs to earn hours of CE each year. Massage therapists, automotive mechanics, physicians, yoga instructors, hair stylists, accountants, horse trainers, security supervisors, IT professionals, and many more are either required to obtain CE hours or do so voluntarily in order to keep up to date.

Getting Started

Even before you make an appointment with a counselor and take a battery of tests, do some soul-searching on your own. Carry out your own personal SWOT analysis. And compile a list of five things you can honestly say are your strong points. Be honest and finish off by listing what you think are five areas in which you aren't naturally adept. From there, you begin the quest for a rewarding, interesting career journey.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

About the Author

Jenna is a corporate relations specialist with over ten years’ experience in employee relations and brand development roles. She is a dedicated volunteer within the disability advocacy space, and loves to bake and run marathons.