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The Answer in Your Inbox

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*My brand-new book, Born for This, is all about helping you find the work you were meant to do. This series explores some of these lessons.

Lesson: When you’re trying to win the career lottery, sometimes the winning ticket is right in front of you.

The answer to your most pressing questions—and the path to the work you were born to do—may come from those around you.

When you’re not sure what your “thing” is—when you don’t know quite where to look to find that job or career that brings you joy, flow, and a good income—the people you talk to every day can help you find it.

The answer may come from your inbox, whether that inbox consists of the actual emails you receive with the same questions over and over, your social media feeds, or just the conversations you have with your friends.

In other words, the people in your network may actually have a better sense of what your most marketable skills are than you do.

The key is looking to the questions they repeatedly ask you, the favors they repeatedly request of you, and maybe even the books or articles they send you simply because they think you’d be interested.

When someone says, “Hey, can I ask you for a favor?” and you already know what that person is going to ask, you have your answer.

  • If you have trouble updating your phone, whom do you ask for help?
  • If you’ve been going to the gym but not seeing results, whom do you ask for workout advice?
  • When you’re planning a trip abroad and need to find a hotel, whom do you ask for recommendations?
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Now think about it from the other perspective. Does everyone ask you for help updating a phone, or improving a workout, or recommending a place to stay while traveling? If you look closely, you’ll probably find that there are certain types of advice that people ask you for over and over.

Whether it’s recommendations for books and movies, investing tips, or your thoughts on the latest gadget to hit the market, the advice people solicit from you is a huge clue as to which of your skills and expertise is in the most demand—and therefore probably the most marketable.

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Born for This is available from Amazon.com or your favorite local bookseller. You can also take the free quiz or join me on tour in your choice of more than 30 cities.

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Image: Gary Knight

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