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A few years ago, I saw the movie McFarland, USA. It was an inspiring film about a high school cross-country team from a small, poor town in Central California that succeeded against the odds.

At the beginning of the movie, the main character (played by Kevin Costner) moves to McFarland with his family to be the assistant football coach. When the football thing doesn’t work out because of a conflict with the head coach, Costner is disheartened.

However, in his role as PE teacher, he notices some of his students are very fast. When Costner realizes this, he immediately talks to the principal about starting a cross-country team.

Catch What You’re Already Doing Well

I think there is an important lesson we can take from this movie, especially if you are struggling in your career or having trouble finding meaningful work. Sometimes if you are having difficulty finding a direction, it is helpful to catch what you’re already doing well. Costner didn’t try to force the kids into doing something that was totally at odds with their abilities. Instead, he noticed what they were already good at, and came up with something that fit.

Take some time today to think and journal about your life. What are you already doing that you are having some success with? It might not have anything to do with a job or career (at least not right now)—it might be a hobby or something you do for fun. That’s okay. What are you already doing well?

You might even think back to when you were a kid. What kinds of activities were you naturally good at? What things came easily for you? What sorts of activities did you have some natural talent for?

Connect the Dots

The next step is to think about those activities, and consider how they might fit into a job or career. The key is not forcing yourself into something that doesn’t fit your gifts and talents. You might find more success if you catch what you’re already doing well.

Discussion

What came up for you when you thought about what you are already doing well? How might that fit into a job or career?

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