Understanding Your Interests -vs- Your Strengths

After our Camino walk, seven of us peeled off from the others and drove seven hours to the Basque Country. Our goal was to visit the relatively new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. One of my fellow pilgrims is an artist in her own right, meaning she can and does actually make visuphoto (2)al arts her vocation as well as her avocation. As both a student and professor of modern and post modern art, she has interests and talents in teaching as well as making visual arts.

Here was a marriage of interests that really worked on this day. I reviewed my own Know Thyself Guide® and here is what I read:

  • You have a significant level of interest in the theory underlying the way things work.  (In other words, I ask why a lot.)
  • You have an above average interest in the way things look.  (So not surprising I am in an art museum.)
  • You have an above average interest in what is heard. . . How things sound.  (The reason this is important became apparent later.)

Unlike my fellow pilgrim, I do not have any real strengths as an artist, and I fail to like or even appreciate much of what I saw this day. There was one piece of “art” that I swear was exactly like the plastic awning under which I sat for lunch. I did not get it. So I kept asking my artist pilgrim, “why?” Why did the artist do this? The teaching professor in her patiently explained how to view these pieces and the why’s and why not’s. It was a perfect match of interests–my desire to understand and her interest in teaching.

So the plastic piece still looks like an awning to me. I don’t really like it, but I appreciate it more.  There were two other pieces that made a significant impact on me and all because of my third interest–how things sound. There was a large room filled with steel structures that you wondered through.  My pilgrim buddies loved it. I could not wait to get out. Why? The sound. I could not take the noise. Conversely, there was a video exhibit that had deconstructed an Abba song. Each piece was a lovely sound and you could almost hear the whole piece the whole time you were concentrating on one component. That I really enjoyed.

This experience was a great lesson for me in the power of interests, as per the Know Thyself Guides®. Interests are those things which you would enjoy if pay or prestige were equal and it does not necessarily have anything to do with talents.

Understanding your interests -vs- your strengths is important when finding a job you’ll love.