Skip to main content

GUEST POST: The Encouraging Mentor #5 - Triangulating Your Skills, Abilities, and Interests


Triangulating Your Skills, Abilities, and Interests to Find Your Future

What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at (i.e., your natural gifts)? Where do you want to learn more? These three items, together, can powerfully steer you toward your desired future. Let’s talk about that today.

Most people have multiple gifts. Many people can do a variety of jobs, and career paths are frequently not linear. Anecdotally, my friends and former students share that their journeys have been directed more by chance than any plan. That’s okay if you are lucky. But many folks find themselves in ho-hum jobs they could take or leave.

So how can you change this approach?

I mentioned in a previous post that we often prompt children to think about their future and possible professions by asking that age-old question: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” But even if they have taken some high school career assessments, the Myers-Briggs, or other employment interest instruments, many younger people have never thought through what they enjoy doing, what they are good at (natural gifts), and where they want to learn more. When these items are coupled with what is needed (in business, society, the home, etc.), it is the trifecta that can point to future career satisfaction.

An exercise: Consider these questions. Grab a piece of paper and jot down a few ideas under each. Then review this list and consider it over the next few weeks. When answering these questions, do so in the context of considering your future career or potential employment.

Skills, abilities, interests:

  1. What do you enjoy doing?

  1. What are you good at (natural gifts)?

  1. What do you want to learn more about?

This simple exercise can help you begin directing your career path while simultaneously aligning it with personal interests and life goals. I hope you’ll give this a try. Then, look for opportunities to use the items above in your current work… or to help you find a more fulfilling role.

Dr. Brian Raison

Add Comment

Comments (0)


About the Extension Foundation

This website is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of use at

Link copied to your clipboard.