Regardless how successful or experienced you are, you can always learn new skills. Most people tend to focus on skills that are marketable. Meaning they can use them to trade time for money. Things like software development, content marketing, and design are all examples of marketable skills.
Then there are skills that benefit you well beyond your line of work. If mastered, these can pay dividends forever. Here are five skills that you need to master if you want to excel in both business and in life:
1. Finding The ‘Silver Lining’
I can’t stress this one enough. Throughout your career there will be constant ups and downs. Often times there will be struggles in your personal life that affect your work and vice versa. Throughout all these hurdles it’s extremely important to remain positive at all times.
The saying negativity breeds negativity has a ton of truth to it. If you succumb to your negative thoughts they will only continue to bring you down. Instead of welcoming negative thoughts try to find the silver lining in every situation. This will challenge you to find even the slightest glimmer of positive light in the worst of predicaments. Over time it will train you to stay positive and keep pushing forward when times get tough.
2. Developing Strong People Skills
The ability to understand and manage your emotions is powerful. The ability to understand, manage, and navigate other people’s emotions is paramount. This concept is known as Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
Have you ever wondered what separates great leaders from good ones? Emotional intelligence is a huge factor. Think about the head coaches for world-class professional sports teams. With a team of star athletes how much more coaching do they really need? Aside from tactics and strategy it really comes down to managing emotions. More specifically managing egos.
Emotions are what make us human. Emotional intelligence is something that is in each and every one of us. If you can tap into that intelligence you’ll be able to influence many individuals along your life’s journey.
3. Self Control
Similar to knowing people skills, self-control is also a huge piece of emotional intelligence. There will be decisions you dislike. There will be bosses and managers that you loathe. In these situations it can feel great to unload your disdain on the person responsible. The only problem is that feeling is temporary. Now that you’ve sent off that nasty email or screamed across the table what happens next? I can almost guarantee the decision wasn’t reversed and your boss most likely didn’t get fired.
In these situations it’s incredibly important to check yourself and practice self-control. You can be upset but you need to hold your tongue and be rational. Determine how you can turn your anger into something constructive.
For example let’s say your manager chooses a colleague for a job you were planning to take lead on. Instead of getting upset you can channel that energy to outperform the colleague anyway. Then next time that job comes around you’ll (hopefully) be a shoe-in for the position.
4. Knowing When to Ask For Help
If you’re always the smartest person in the room then you’re in the wrong room. The ability to identify and surround yourself with mentors is a skill that will pay dividends forever. Even the smartest and most successful entrepreneurs still turn to others for guidance.
The big misconception is that when we ask for help it’s a sign of weakness or that we aren’t confident in our decisions. Sure if you’re constantly looking to others for answers it’s a problem. However, if you’re able to swallow your pride and seek help it’ll actually give those around you more confidence in your abilities.
5. Optimizing Every Single Day
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s how we use them that makes all the difference. As we get into more routine lifestyles our time seems to slip away much quicker. Time management is not something that is taught overnight. To be quite honest – some never gain the ability to properly manage their time. In fact, the majority of business executives use a personal assistant to manage their calendar. If time management can be a full-time job you need to understand it’s not a walk it the park. However it’s a skill that you need to master.
Now here’s the key. Your calendar should be used for much more than just scheduling meetings. Take a look at what needs to be accomplished each day and use it to block out time for certain tasks. The more you can get into the habit of blocking time for various tasks the more efficient you will be at finishing them.
Unlike marketable skills, it’s tough to learn these in school or through formal training. These are acquired through years of experience and interactions. That said, if you can master the five skills above, the sky is the limit.
Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner, and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley. He consults for several startups in the Bay Area and is pursuing a few ideas of his own.