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Category: Skills

Shift Your Energy from Mistakes to Skill Sharpening

50 presentations in 30 days.

That’s the test I’m currently facing in my new role. Repeating the same information to 50 different companies.

There’s bound to be mistakes made with that many meetings. Brain freezes, missed information and voice cracking like a teenager in puberty.

The good news? I can mess up on 6 of them and still have 44 chances to create excellence.

Don’t give mistakes the time of day they haven’t earned the right to get. Shift that same energy to sharpening your skills and kill the next one.

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Easily Upgrade Your Skills

I’m not the best negotiator, possibly because it’s never been a large part of the career roles I’ve occupied.

So when I accepted a new role at a company that involved negotiating at a larger capacity, I immediately looked for training and tools to improve that skill set.

I gained some insight on negotiating from a free online Ivy League course, but most of the knowledge I collected came from the popular book: Getting to Yes. Through Amazon i purchased the book for only $11 with shipping. $11 to upgrade a skill that led to me being more effective and valuable in my role.

We shouldn’t avoid situations or opportunities because we lack the appropriate skills. It’s those skills we need to spend the most time upgrading and practicing so we’re more effective in our businesses, workplaces and communities.

Most soft skills can be learned or improved with minimal financial commitment. We just need to be up to the task of seeing it though to the end.

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Record it, Always

A few years ago I read probably one of the most epic bedtime stories ever told to my four kids (their words, not mine). But it didn’t come from a book.

The story took several days to finish from beginning to end and it all came creatively from the top of my head at that very moment. The entire storyline, character development, scene depiction, plot twists and story action never existed previously on a written sheet of paper or electrical document.

To say the least my kids were entertained each night and often refer to the story of ‘Prince Edward’ as the best story I’ve ever read.

Too bad I no longer have any idea in what the story was about. I made the mistake of not recording or writing down any details of the story. Nothing. Not even jot notes. At the time I was just trying to get my kids to sleep not realizing a literary master piece was being created. Any chance of passing the story to my grandkids was now zero to none.

Ideas, thoughts, plans, names of new network contacts and where you met them, and yes stories you tell you kids – write/type/record it all down. Trust the capacity of your mobile phone note app over the capacity of your mind in remembering hundreds of hours of creative thought in detail.

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Welcome Complex Ideas

The other day my teenage son was sitting in our living room with his portable gaming device, fully engaged in the application he was playing.

I glanced over to quickly see what was so fascinating. The game was a simulation of a surgical procedure. A voice would give critical directions on the next step and he, acting as a surgeon, had to execute it virtually with his gaming stylus on the screen.

I was intrigued and continued watching him for a few more minutes. The game seemed complex and the fact that he used his leisure time to partake in what looked to be a stressful endeavour was pleasantly surprising.

Sometimes we avoid complex ideas or tasks because they come cloaked in stress. Stress because we can’t figure it out or we don’t hold any pre-existing knowledge of what we’re about to do.

That stress is actually our fear of failure. But we should always run towards complex ideas because it’s the only way we achieve personal growth. When we stick to only concepts that are ‘black and white’ and don’t entertain layered or more complex ideas, not only will our personal growth suffer, but our impact on a much larger scale will be minimal.

That’s assuming you want to have a greater impact in the personal and professional circles you frequent in. If that’s not the case then you will continually avoid the difficult, uncomfortable and complex discussions/actions that we sometimes need to take.

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Take Time to Be Meticulous

When great ideas come we tend to put our focus on the end results. The idea of what we want to see. The picture perfect manifestation of what it should look like.

As is the case since the beginning the 21st century, how fast we can complete something seems to be just as important as completing the project itself.

Our preoccupation with being the ‘first‘ almost always leads us to skipping important details along the way. Or wanting a title because it assumes a specific social status (entrepreneur or CEO) but not being meticulous enough to understand all the prerequisites required.

But that’s just it. As much as we aim to avoid the rat race we still subconsciously compete with one another and over look some of the most important life details that need to be considered.

As I’m writing this I’m 2 months into a new role with a new company. In an effort to prove myself to my new colleagues, jumping into projects and issues before understanding all the specific nuances and inner workings of the company is something I’ve fallen prey to.

Luckily I’ve had support from multiple executive level associates, including my manager, tell me to take time to learn and don’t feel pressured to jump right in, right away.

It’s not just in business or your professional career. In the many facets of life, taking the meticulous approach in all things will provide you with the insight to make better decisions and ones that ultimately will last longer.

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When Culture Shifts, Don’t Stop Learning

Moments in history always bring about changes to our culture. The way we interact digitally. How we do business. Our political system.

Having been born in 1980, it seems like every 10 years there’s an even on historical significance that takes place.

In 1988 it was the Gulf War. In 1999 it was W2K and then 9/11 in 2001. In 2008 to 2009 it was the financial crisis. And this year, 2020, the Coronavirus.

As time moves on its not just the new technology we need to understand better. It’s knowing how to effectively utilize these new tools to add value to the world around us.

Zoom has proved to be a beneficial tool for remote work during the COVID-19 quarantine. Still we need to learn how to use Zoom correctly to get the best out of it.

Additionally for leaders and managers how do we efficiently add software like Zoom into daily team operations and ensure it doesn’t become a hindrance to productivity?

What skills will now be in high demand? How will buyers you’re marketing to make their purchases going forward? What financial investments will be good bets in the next 5-10 years?

We can only answer these questions by giving our lives over to the process of continual education. Read, listen, discuss, work, and repeat.

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The Power of Asking

Two months ago I took a business trip to see a client in the U.S. Due to a booking technicality, my ticket was split between business class flying out and economy flying back home.

I’m usually not one to make a fuss so I left it. However, my travel partner had business class booked both ways and insisted I tried to upgrade.

After a few attempts over the phone with the agent, I was getting nowhere and concluded it wasn’t to be. My standard bag of roasted almonds was waiting for in the back of the plane while my coworker would dine with a glass of cabernet and shrimp.

When we arrived at our gate he nudged me again to ask the airline employee about any empty seats in business class. I reluctantly walked up and asked (they had called me up for a passenger screening anyway).

The airline employee happily advised me they were trying to move passengers up closer to the front of the plane to balance the weight and that there was one empty seat left in business class I could take. The one next to my coworker.

The upgrade ended up being free of charge.

Asking is such an underrated skill because we really don’t believe there’s a 50-50 chance we’ll get exactly what we were looking for.

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