How to Find your Niche?
Most of the time, we take our decisions based on circumstances. We grow up pretty much expecting whatever comes next, and adapting to the lemons which life gives us. Usually, when it is the time to take a long-term career decision, we find ourselves confronted with choices of which we are not sure.
As Paul Webster puts it, it is always more of a collision between need and circumstance: You need a job, a job comes up and you do it. A profession comes up, you need an income, so you do it.
“The reality is we all need our niche; we need our place where we can contribute to others and get rewarded for it.”
But the process of understanding what skills we have and how we can be useful to our community is even harder. No wonder we’re left speechless when somebody asks us to talk about ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses, or qualities. But there comes a time when we all have to reflect.
And here is some basic advice, some well researched, some coming from personal experience, on how to find your niche.
Distinguish between your soft and hard skills
Sometimes when deciding about a career path, we analyze the situation and our ambitions without identifying the type of skills we have. Of course, we know that there are soft skills, the ones you cannot see playing out such as listening, communicating, memorizing, or analyzing things.
It is important to understand which one of these skills corresponds to your type, because they will be essential factors when deciding upon a career. However, be careful not to confuse soft skills with personality traits.
Personality traits do not have to be changed over time or be adapted to your workplace. For instance, if you’re a kind person, you don’t have to be less kind to adapt to a working environment, that’s basically who you are.
But soft skills like listening or communicating better with people can instead be improved for the sake of your career advancement. Make sure to check the articles on the top 10 soft skills of the future we’ve published in our magazine earlier!
After you have identified your soft skills, start thinking about the hard skills you possess. Hard skills include measurable abilities that can be learned along the way, such as writing, reading, math, or the ability to use computer programs.
These relate to concrete actions from which you can get direct results. After you have identified your hard skills, make sure to put them down on paper, as you will need them for further comparison.
Ask for external perspectives and find your niche
Sometimes we can be very hard on ourselves, and we may think that we don’t really own any abilities that make us great.
We all have something that we’re good at, but whether you’re aware of this or not is another thing. That is why getting some feedback from others is truly useful, although this feedback can’t be from just anyone.
Pick the people whose opinion you truly value, and ask them about how they see you.
Remember that it is a part of human nature to look more self-assertive or confident to people than we really are, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Ask your circle about what they think are your best soft or hard skills, about times when they’ve seen you nail something, or for the times when you’ve managed situations that were very stressful. Y
ou will understand a bit about how people perceive you, and these bits can help to complete the puzzle of whom you’re trying to become.
Take time to be introspective
Although we truly advise you to ask for people’s opinions regarding your skills and capabilities, we emphasized earlier that asking for those opinions can only fill in a part of the puzzle.
Getting to know yourself is really what matters the most, and that you can only do by taking some time to reflect.
We know that the pressure is always on us to keep achieving and striving to be the best version of ourselves ASAP, so that we can keep up with our friends and counterparts, but understanding that we all work at our own pace can be life-changing.
Seek for answers within, and scenarios during your life when you were most in your element.
Think of the skills you had to use to be in that state of mind, and use them to guide you to hidden gems in your brain and personality.
Put these thoughts in a journal
I’d say that if we were disciplined enough to keep a journal throughout our lives, we would be so much better at knowing our truest selves, and understanding where or how we have changed as time has passed by.
You can think stuff over several times; however, I have the perception that once you see them written down, they seem a bit closer to realization.
So I advise you to practice keeping lists, and writing your thoughts down on paper.
Consider this process as “the map of getting to know yourself”, and strive so that the destination will lead you to your niche. Putting skills, thoughts, and the perspectives of other people together in one place can help you to specify which aspect of yourself you want to improve, and give more attention to.
It may take a while, but it will turn out to be a well-conducted research where you’re trying to come up with the patterns and bits that make you – you!
Invest in raising your awareness
If you’ve become lucky enough to understand or simply have a slight intuition of what it is that you want to be in life, then use the best resources to build on that aspect.
Thanks to technology, we now have access to tremendous, wonderful content, even for free often, which we can use to make wonders of our skills. Research for ways to practice your skills, internships, courses, communities that will help you grow, and pick out something from each of them.
We don’t guarantee that this will not be tiring, as it will be, but we’re sure that you’ll be rewarded fully once you understand that you have become aware of what makes you fulfilled in life (and you’re actually making money out of it).
More similar articles on how to find your niche you can find here.
Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney