Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows addresses the needs of a new generation of career seekers in a rapidly changing economy and job marketplace. Designed as self-paced career development workshop in book format, it provides self-assessment tools to enable individuals to explore their personal passions, values, strengths and skills along with sound strategies and resources for decision making, goal setting and networking to begin a fulfilling new career.
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At an early age Halimah Bellows became aware of her natural ability to listen to people non-judgmentally as well as her desire to be of service to others. In her life as an educator, a career counselor and a coach, she has been able to marry her fascination with people’s stories with her deep interest in the world of work.
A Pacific Northwest and California-based career/coach for more than 20 years, Halimah Bellows holds an MA in English Language Teaching from the University of Exeter, an MS in Counseling Psychology from San Francisco State University and received training at The Coaches Training Institute and Retirement Options to become a Certified Retirement and Professional Coach. Author of Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work and creator of CAREER QUEST CARDS, she is a seasoned workshop presenter, group facilitator and talk show guest.
In addition to assisting people through career transitions and supporting retirees to “retire with fire”, she also focusses on helping couples and business partnerships build powerful intentional relationships as well as empowering artists, entrepreneurs, and professionals to develop their business and achieve their dreams.
You want to use your dependable strengths as much as possible on the job. Knowing your dependable strengths will actually give you greater employability. It will give you renewed motivation. It’s like finding and growing your best self. The process is really powerful because you tell other people what your good experiences have been and they’re going to feed back to you descriptions and qualities of your strengths and skills and talents. Look for a pattern of experiences that you’ve had throughout your entire life. Of course you have to enjoy them. And of course, you must use it in the future to feel satisfied and happy. That’s really the fundamental principle. The ideal is to really focus on your strengths to the fullest.
Champion Your Career
Next, I want to share with you the process of finding your dependable strengths. This is a concept created by Bernard Haldane. I call him the grandfather of career counseling. He created the Dependable Strengths Institute. Finding your dependable strengths is a very powerful process.
The first step you have to take is to identify your life’s good experiences, because your dependable strengths will emerge through these experiences. So how do you define a good experience? Ask yourself what you have done well, what have you enjoyed doing, and what were you proud of? These are the essential ingredients in a good experience. You did it well, you enjoyed it, and you were proud of it. Go back to your childhood and think of a good experience you had before the age of 10. It is surprising how our talents and strengths start appearing at an early age and they carry through with us the rest of our lives.
For example, I remember being in a school play when I was about eight years old. It was Cinderella and I was the prince’s mother. Okay, here I was on stage and all dressed up and I had to get out in front of an audience. I still remember my lines. It was my first experience of being on stage. I said, “I love this, I love being in front of people.” Even though my life’s work was not to be in acting, I still love being in front of people.
So you look at a good experience you had before the age of 10 and then you can take it further. You come back to the present and you think, “What’s a good experience I have had in the last three to five years?” It could be work-related but it doesn’t have to be. What you need to do is come up with at least five good experiences because from there you’re going to pull out what your strengths are. It’s just amazing how powerful this is. Take this list of five good experiences and share it with some friends. Then write down all the strengths, all the talents, all the skills that you had to utilize to make this experience happen. Then ask yourself what you did in order to have that experience. What did you need to do? How did you prepare? What were the different steps along the way?
What I love about the concept of dependable strengths is that it really comes from inside you as a remembrance of a good experience. Once you have considered these five good experiences, you go through them and you look at “What are my dependable strengths?” The criterion is that a dependable strength shows up in at least three of your five good experiences. That’s one of the keys. The other key is that you enjoyed it. It’s so important—enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. You have to enjoy the experience. You may have skills and strengths that you don’t enjoy. We all have skills that we use but we don’t particularly like using them. These are not dependable strengths. Be glad you have them and can use them to serve you, but again, they are not your dependable strengths.