Jane is an amazing photographer, but after her family's holiday party she was offered a job in her sister-in-law Kerry's company calling clients to collect on invoices. No one in Jane's family feels her photography skills are going to help her earn a living for herself.

After several months of Jane working at Kerry's company, both Jane and Kerry have had enough of each other. Jane once again feels like a total failure. And Kerry has an even bigger problem than before with clients not paying on time.

What are some lessons to learn from this scenario?

There are, of course, the standard cautionary tales about hiring your family. But more importantly, this scenario shows the consequences of failing to draw from your innate strengths in choosing your career path.

Jane could find a more fulfilling and lucrative career by using her innate strengths in these key ways:

1. Leverage your innate strengths

... even if those closest to you have no appreciation for who you are (which is more often than not the case). Every single one of us has unique strengths that, when used correctly, help us create more success, fulfillment and happiness in life.

The more you know how to build off your strengths, the more value you create for both yourself and others.

2. Use your innate strengths

... to better learn, get things done and build off others' innate strengths. Who you are, when used in targeted and focused ways, can enable you to succeed in ways that are unique to only you.

Success means something different for each of us, but what is universal about "success" is that it is the expression of how well we are using our innate talents. Don't just use the closest and most available person to take on your biggest challenges (like Kerry did).

Jane needs to seek out those opportunities where she can develop the skills required to make it as a professional photographer. While learning how to collect on delinquent accounts is a valuable skill if you don't set up your business correctly, it's not the best use of an aspiring photographer's talents.

3. Find and create better opportunities

... based on your innate strengths. Jane here is the one at the family party who stages some amazing group photographs. But her family generally thinks she needs to just give up on it and get a "real" job.

Think about the "ugly swan" metaphor here — when you work in alignment with your innate strengths, you are able to seek out opportunities that better fit who you really are. This takes some inside information about who you are and how to make who you are create value for others.

Can you imagine a career that is aligned with the best of who you are, the people you prefer to be around, the work you prefer to do, when and where you prefer to do this work, and in which you achieve results you know you are capable of achieving if only you had the necessary support?

This can be your reality. When you identify your innate strengths and develop skills to best use your strengths in coordination with the development and implementation of a feasible career plan that works for you, you can succeed in a career best-suited to who you are.