Seven Skills You Must Master to Thrive in Your Career (Part 2)

In the first part of this two-part post, I outlined the first four of the seven essential skills for thriving in your career. Here are skills 5-7:

5. Curiosity.

Try to keep a beginner’s mind. Staying open to new perspectives is imperative in leadership and career mastery. I work a great deal on helping candidates prepare for job interviews, and a big part of that is cultivating a sense of curiosity.

My clients have done the work to figure out what they want in their next opportunity, so in the interview, their primary task is to ask great questions to ensure this is the position and organization for them. It’s a totally different mindset than, “I sure hope I impress them with my knowledge and qualifications so that they will hire me!” It shifts the interview to a two-way investigation of fit.

Professionals who do this give the interviewer a window into how they think, letting the hiring organization experience how they will be on the job.

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6. Connection.

In this technological age, human connection has never been so important. From our parenting style to our leisure pursuits to our work, it is imperative that we get out from behind our screens and connect with other people. Whether this takes the shape of traditional networking, weekly lunch with colleagues, or tech-free Sundays, make a deal with yourself to not hide behind your devices, especially when you are in job search mode. When one of your employees goes above and beyond to meet a company objective, walk down the hall or jump on Skype so they can see your face as you tell them how much you appreciate their hard work.

7. Permeable Boundaries.

This idea comes from friend and colleague Meredith Haberfeld. You must figure out which energies to let in and not let in. Some people are so open that anything negative or constructive shared about them feels like a dagger to the heart. Others are so closed off that they don’t let anything in, in an effort to protect themselves.The alternative is the sense of letting appropriate things pierce our hearts while others deflect off the boundary we’ve built around ourselves. A tricky concept to master, it is a powerful tool to practice when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

Consider this: when you receive feedback that stings, immediately ground yourself in your body, whether it’s pulling an Amy Cuddy stance or taking a walk around the block, or simply taking five deep breaths. Feeling your body helps you return to the present moment, and helps you become an observer in the situation. When you are an observer, you are detached, viewing the situation as if from the outside, rather than being “had” by the feelings (shame, anger, frustration, etc.) Often, with this grounding you can see that the feedback you are receiving says more about the other person than about you. Further, you can see that you can survive the emotions that well up in you. In fact, you will find, with practice, that they pass over you like a wave.

Mastering these skills takes practice. And when you do master them, you step lighter and make the impact you truly want to make in this world.

I’d love to know:

  • How will you begin to practice these skills on a daily basis?
  • Which one resonates with you the most, as a way to develop some muscle?

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via flickr cc

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