It’s easy to see the potential in our friends and family but overlook our own. This is often the case for women who have taken a career break and are now redefining themselves. Some may have been confident in their careers before having children, but now feel lost and confused about what to do next. Redundancy, international relocation or major life changes can also shake one’s confidence.


Here are four questions to get you thinking about your hidden potential when you’re feeling stuck.

1) What do people compliment you on?


What would your friends and family say are your strengths? I would encourage you to go ahead and ask them what they admire about you – you will likely see some common themes emerging. Also think about what people rely on you for. Maybe you’re a great listener, a top-notch organiser, give the best advice, know where to find the best deals, are always on time or don’t take no for an answer. Start thinking about your unique value.


2) What are you proud of?


What aspects of your life make you feel proud? They don’t have to be career related; in fact, they likely won’t be. Maybe you’re great at putting people at ease, standing up for what you believe in, solving problems, being an empathetic listener or charming a crowd. You could be an excellent writer with great attention to detail. Generate a list of achievements or qualities that stand out to you.


3) When do you feel most energised?


What is it that you love doing the most? If you won the lottery, what would you do every day? While our favorite hobbies don’t always translate into lucrative careers, there might be something about that hobby or activity that illuminates what drives you. What activities or tasks leave you energised, even if they’re difficult? Make a list of things that you enjoy and come naturally to you. Look for clues as to what this says about your hidden potential.


4) What challenges have you overcome?


Think of a time in life when you’ve persisted even though it’s been a challenge. How were you able to tap into your perseverance and overcome the obstacles in front of you? What resources have you used in the past during hard times? These inner resources can indicate strengths you haven’t recognised yet.

When you ask yourself these questions, what patterns or themes do you notice? What does this say about your transferable skills? Use this new learning to push yourself into a growth mindset. Think of how your main strengths could be combined, perhaps in a unique way.


Working with a career coach can be highly beneficial to delve further into this process of self-discovery.

This article was written by Shannon MacDonald, career and life coach working with women to gain clarity during times of change and uncertainty. You can get in touch with Shannon via her partner coach profile page.