What was your favorite subject in school?*
That seemingly innocuous question can be quite telling. (Which is why I like asking it of my new clients. 😉)
I’ve always loved learning, so I’ve had a few, some of which may surprise you:
Woodshop because I loved to create and build things, transforming a scrap of oak or pine into something beautiful and functional
Science to understand how different systems are connected and the way the world worked
Psychology to learn why humans (including me!) behaved the way they do so I could communicate better
Art and creative writing to express myself and bring to life the visions and stories in my head.
Believe it or not, I also used to love math, especially geometry, which I took as a freshman in high school. (Maybe because I’m a visual person, and it deals with shapes and perspectives?)
Whether you were the kid who couldn’t wait for debate class to argue your side or the one who willingly spent hours solving the puzzle of writing code, your favorite subject can provide insights into what matters most to you.
Equally as telling are our least favorite subjects.
Though I can appreciate history, it wasn’t my fave (I’m too future-focused), and advanced math sucked the life out of me (far too rigid and binary — pun, intended! — for my taste).
By examining our early years, we can find clues that inform and shape our present-day professional choices.
Now that I’ve amassed more than three decades of experience, I can easily connect the dots of how I ended up as a professional writer by revisiting an unlikely place: my childhood.
Here’s how to look back to move forward in your career:
Remember what you wanted to be when you were a kid 🦸♀️
Did you want to be a firefighter, astronaut, or the first veterinarian/pop star? Allow yourself to return to that time where anything was possible and rediscover what your younger self most desired.
Dig a little deeper to discover your overarching theme 🤔
Did you want to become a doctor? You may possess a strong desire to help people and positively impact the world. Dreamed of having your own store? You may value autonomy over security. Examining your preferences as a child can speak to themes that matter most to you.
Review your career path to see how (or if) that theme applies ✅
If it does, congratulations! Continue to keep that theme front and center when weighing new roles. If not, you’ll likely feel frustrated and unfulfilled in a role and may not understand why. Moving forward, do what you can to incorporate your theme or seek a new position that better aligns with what matters most.
Even though I’m more of a word girl these days, I can still find creative ways to apply basic math principles. In my latest Forbes article, I share what to add, subtract, multiple, and divide in your professional world to give you a leg up in your career.
P.S. Hey—did you know I share fresh new content (with occasional #TBT pieces) Monday-Friday across the interwebs? Get first dibs by following me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, and on Forbes to get notified of my new articles. (I’m also on Clubhouse if you dig that audio-only kind of thing.)
P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or asking potential clients about their favorite subjects, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing.) I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
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* I’m curious: Does your favorite subject align with your chosen (or dream) profession? I can absolutely see the relevance and influence of all my favorites, and I’ve found the same true for my friends and extended family. Even more interesting is what happens your favorites are denied. In a word: unhappy and unfulfilled. Okay, that was two words, but the point is when you don’t embrace what lights you up, you’ll have a whole lotta “un” words that will describe your state of being.