Use Your Skills

You are a person of many different aspects. Your identity and your ability to live, function and feel good about yourself is linked to your ability to meet your needs (physical, social, emotional and intellectual) as a human being. Some people have greater needs in one area than another, but we all need to be stimulated in order to feel alive or feel good about ourselves.

Four Components of Self

In addition to meeting our physical, emotional and social needs, we must also feed our intellectual needs to balance ourselves. These are called the four components of self. To be truly happy, we need to express each of these components in balance.


Learning is a process that continues throughout life. When we stop learning, we stop thinking and when we stop thinking, we die.

Learning may be formal or informal. You may choose to go to university, community college or your local public school in order to get a degree, a diploma or a certificate. Or you may learn to ski with a friend, make a better pizza with your neighbour or discover how a new type of fuel injection works on your car from your child or grandchild.

The main thing is that you maintain an interest in order to exercise your mind. Learning provides you with the opportunity for personal growth, a positive self-image, independence and personal satisfaction.

Skill Sampler

Use the Skill Sampler exercises to help you to identify your work/non-work skills and competencies from a list of some of the more common skills that can be used in a variety of work/non-work settings.

These skills are divided into two groups:

  • Transferable skills
  • Personal management skills

Use this activity as a starting point and add other skills to the list of your personal assets as you think of them.

Once you have completed both forms, go through the skills you've selected. Observe which skills you:

  • Enjoy and are good at
  • Are good at, but don't enjoy doing (and why?)
  • Enjoy but aren't good at

Summarize your top five transferable skills and top five personal management skills. You can list the skills in other ways that are meaningful for you. For example, you could group skills according to the ones you need for different work possibilities. Or you could put skills you already have in one group and the skills you need or want to acquire in another group.

Once you have identified your skills, start brainstorming about where and how you want to put them to use. Ask questions such as:

  •     How could you use the skills that interest you, or those you are good at?
  •     Which skills do you want to get better at?
  •     Which ones are you tired of doing in the same old way, but might enjoy if done differently?

Talk to people in areas you have identified to get their feedback. Be creative.