4 Skills You Should Master that will Pay Off Forever
By Taylor Varco
The further you are in your career, the easier it becomes to fall back on the assumption you’ve mastered all the skills you need to succeed. Most will focus all of their energy on getting the job done, and assume the rest will fall into place. That’s a big mistake! Believing you can improve yourself for the future is every bit as important as your current skillset.
But time is limited. Dedicate yourself to mastering skills that will deliver the greatest payoff, both in what they teach you and their tendency to keep the learning alive. Below are some of the top life skills that are the toughest to master but will always help you succeed.
Mastering time management is not as easy as it seems. The biggest challenge are the dominating urgent issues that pop up daily. These are the tiny tasks that need to be done “right now;” getting in the way of what really matters. When you succumb to “the urgent,” so much time is spent putting out fires that no real work is accomplished. Successful individuals have mastered prioritizing their to-do list. Learning to actively manage your time effectively allows you to perform at your highest level every single day.
Another skill that sounds easier said than done. If we’re not talking we should be listening, right? Not exactly. Many people think they are listening, but they are really planning out what they are going to say next; not retaining concepts others are saying. Listening means being present in the moment and focusing solely on what others are saying. Beyond the spoken word, there’s invaluable information that comes through tone of voice, body language, and even what isn’t said. Failing to recognize this could leave you out of the game. Learning to suspend your judgement and focus on understanding the other person’s point of view is one of the most valuable skills you can develop.
Asking for Help
This may not seem like a “skill,” but it is. Asking for help is surprisingly difficult because no one wants to be perceived as incompetent. It takes a lot of confidence and humility to admit you need assistance. This skill is about knowing your limits and, in reality, perceives you as being more capable for that. In addition, asking others for advice validates their intelligence, making you more likely to win them over. The last thing a leader wants are employees who continue down a wrong path because they are embarrassed to admit they don’t know what they’re doing. The ability to do your best work, recognize when you need help, summon the courage to ask, and then follow through on the help is an extremely valuable skill.
At some point in your life, you’ve probably received advice to “stay positive.” Reality is, many times it’s hard to find the motivation to focus positively. Our brains are wired to look for threats. In today’s world, this survival instinct breeds pessimism and negativity through the mind until a threat is identified. These “threats” can magnify perceptions of how things are going and/or what the future will bring. When a “threat” is imagined you’re left with a soured view of reality and may spend all your time convinced a project or initiative is going to fail. Maintaining positivity is a daily challenge that required focus. You must be intentional about staying positive to overcome the brain’s tendency to focus on threats.