The Highlands Company Blog

From Fired to Fired Up

“I got laid off recently and I need to find another job quickly; we can’t survive on my wife’s income alone. I’ve applied for several jobs but deep down inside, I hope they don’t respond; I can’t picture myself being happy in any of them. I just feel lost and unsure about what direction to go.”

I sensed frustration and desperation in Aaron’s voice.

Aaron knew a bit about my work in helping people discover their ideal career and had questions about choosing his next job. “What would you really like to do for work if you could?” I asked. With a blank stare on his face, he said “I really don’t know.” I had seen and heard this before from many clients, and unfortunately, this is true for most people in the workforce.

After I described the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) and how I use it to help people identify their natural abilities and ideal work types, Aaron signed up to work with me. Better to take a few weeks now and learn how to find his ideal job than to jump into another unfulfilling job.

Aaron finished the assessment in a day. Most clients take a few days to work through it. When he walked into my office for his debrief session, his first statement was “Man, I’ve taken many assessments in the past, but this was different. It was very deep and detailed.”

I get that a lot.

Assessments are great tools for better understanding yourself, but they should never define you. They should help affirm or confirm things you already know about yourself or shed light on why you act or think the way you do. They help you see yourself in a better light.

Some of Aaron’s results were:

  • High Specialist: Sees the world in a unique way and loves to dive deep into things of interest to him.
  • Mid-range Introvert-Extrovert: Has some traits from both sides.
  • Long Time Frame Orientation: Prefers to plan and work towards long term goals.
  • Very high Idea Productivity: Generates a lot of ideas and loves to brainstorm.
  • High Classification: Quick problem solver and enjoys a fast-paced work environment.

As we talked through the implications of each result, Aaron had many “aha” moments. His high Specialist score made the strongest impression on him. When Aaron is interested in something, he will learn all he can about it. “On several occasions, while watching a show or movie, I’ll hear about something that piques my interest. I’ll pause the program if I’m watching alone, open up a browser on my phone and do multiple searches on the topic. Remember when we moved into our house and the yard was a wreck? I spent all summer learning about lawn care.”

Aaron continued, “In my last job, I wasn’t very fulfilled. I wore many hats and got to learn different skills, but I couldn’t dive deep into the things I wanted. I knew a lot but did not feel I was exceptional at anything. I got bored easily. Now I know why.”

This also explained why he wasn’t excited about the jobs he had been applying for. Aaron was looking for a marketing position because that’s what he had done in his previous jobs; he also had a Marketing degree and enjoyed the industry.

Get ready for some technical talk. Stay with me, it will make sense at the end.

What Aaron realized through the coaching process was that as a Specialist with Long Time Frame Orientation and High Classification, he was wired to solve problems in a unique way. As a person with Mid-range Introvert-Extrovert scores and Mid-range Concept Organization, he also found it easy and natural to connect with people of different personalities and explain his solutions to their problems in a logical manner.

His interest in digital marketing started as an interest in design and technology. Remember, a Specialist will learn all they can about a topic of interest to them. The more he learned about digital marketing, the more he wanted to solve related problems for clients.

Find the Right Career in 3 Steps

By the end of our first session, Aaron could identify why some parts of his past jobs were not satisfying, the critical elements that must be part of any job he takes, and most importantly, the value he brings to any organization.

If you don’t know your value, others will undervalue you.

As Aaron worked through the coaching process, he had an epiphany. “I don’t need to find another job, I can start my own business!” He always dreamed of starting a business. Now that he knew exactly what value he offered to corporations, he decided to market that value directly to clients. He started a marketing agency that would work with nonprofits and small businesses; sort of an outsourced marketing strategy officer. He used his skills to build a website and implement a social media campaign via Instagram and Facebook. He was up and running in three weeks, and clients started calling.

Before taking the HAB and working with me, Aaron was desperate to find another job and ensure their household income did not drop. Less than a month into the coaching process, he started his company and is well on his way to replacing his income from his last job.

The story gets more interesting. His wife Lauren has a photography business, and now they are both self-employed. One passion they share is camping and traveling and have dreamed of someday buying an RV and touring the country with their kids for at least a year. Since they could now work from anywhere, they made the decision to pull their kids out of school and fulfill that dream. As I write this article, they have sold their cars, purchased a truck and an RV, rented out their home for one year, and will hit the open road on November 5th, 2018. (Read their story on

If Aaron had not discovered his natural abilities by taking the Highlands Ability Battery, he very well might have gotten stuck in another unfulfilling job without ever realizing why. And their dream of traveling? Who knows when that would have become a reality.

The results of the HAB and coaching process helped Aaron go from fired to fired up! The same can happen for you as well.


Highlands Consultant Kene Iloenyosi is a talent discovery coach who works with his clients to discover and develop their innate abilities, and then figure out how best to put these talents to work in a fulfilling and engaging career. Kene also works with leaders and teams to uncover the collective talents (of team members) and how best to engage and maximize these talents at work. His books Finding Your Sweet Spot and DNA of Talent have helped put thousands of people on the path to discovering their talents. 

Meet Kene in his Put Your Talent to Work Webinar
Ready to find the career you’ll love and will excel at? Find out what causes job dissatisfaction and one simple thing you can do about it.