We tend to overcomplicate things unnecessarily.
You’re probably familiar with the adage, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” It’s also the title of a famous book by Robert Fulghum, praising the kindergarten-rooted lessons of things like “share everything” and “play fair.”
Those early nuggets of wisdom have staying power because they’re simple to understand and easily transferable to our lives, whether we’re five or 55.
Though you were likely a bit older than kindergarten age when you learned them, the same is true of basic math functions, especially as they relate to your career. Knowing what to add, subtract, multiple, and divide in your professional world can give you an edge; here’s how.
Things to Add
The first step in preparing for your future career plans is to identify what you want, even (and especially) if that is vastly different from what you’ve previously wanted.
When you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them, and how they can assist you. Having clarity enables you to align your goals with a plan to achieve them—and stay away from the things that can derail you.
But here’s the thing about clarity: it demands specificity, and there is no room for a wishy-washy answer. You can’t make progress if you “kind of” want something. The more focused you can be about what matters most to you, the better.
Value by sharing your wisdom
You’ve likely amassed a wealth of experience, insights, and understanding; put it to good use by helping others. Position yourself as a trusted thought leader by regularly sharing your wisdom in your area of expertise through social media, which amplifies your impact and reach. Provide value by serving, not selling, and focus on sharing real-world business experiences and leadership lessons learned.
Things To Subtract
People and things that no longer serve you
Your environment, which includes your friends, colleagues, location, habits, and lifestyle, impacts you far more—for better or worse—than you realize; it always wins. You’ve likely grown and evolved, and what once worked for you has probably changed. You can’t make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.
Remember to be mindful of the company you keep and the activities that you engage in, and ask yourself if they support what you want to do, not just what you’ve done. Real growth happens when you align yourself with people and things that support your destiny, not your history. Remember, saying no to people and things that no longer serve you means you can say yes to those that do.
Those negative stories in your head
The stories we tell ourselves are the most important words we speak because they play on repeat in our heads. When you fill your head with negative self-talk like I’m not good enough, I’m not ready, or I’m just a __________ (whatever you are now), not a _________ (whatever you’d like to be), you prevent yourself from learning, growing, and stretching your wings.
Instead, use a little compassion, and treat yourself the way you would a treasured friend. Words have power, especially the ones you say—or don’t say—to yourself. By replacing self-sabotaging talk with self-affirming talk, you’ll abandon limiting beliefs and adopt a growth-focused mindset.
Things To Multiply
Your usage of soft skills
Soft skills like awareness, empathy, and the ability to actively listen refer to personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people; hard skills refer to occupational expertise like engineering, graphic design, or accounting. Said another way, if hard skills are about specific knowledge and technical tasks, soft skills are about how you do those things.
At its core, business is about relationships. No matter your job function or title, to succeed, you must interact with other people. And those who find a way to combine their hard skills with soft skills create environments that empower and ignite their teams, delight their customers, and fuel sustainable growth.
Your knowledge base
There is a plethora of knowledge in a variety of formats and timeframes available to consume. Reading books and articles, watching webinars, TED talks, and masterclasses, and listening to podcasts and audiobooks opens your world to new ideas and possibilities, keeps you current with trends in your industry (or the industry you’d like to join), and gives you interesting fodder for chatting up your colleagues and clients. Work it into your daily routine by swapping a Netflix binge session for reading a few chapters or by giving up some scrolling time to catch up on your favorite podcast.
Things To Divide
Big challenges with your co-creators
Boost collaboration with your colleagues by upping your communication to get everyone on the same page, establishing expectations and deadlines to encourage accountability, adjusting your mindset to reframe situations, and always looking for solutions. Remember to see your teammates as the human beings they are.
(Tasks) and conquer
Even with the best time management, no one person can do it all (or would want to). This can only lead to frustration. Practice good self-care and cut yourself some slack. Identify those unenjoyable but necessary tasks that take too much of your time or patience, and consider delegating or outsourcing them. When you stop multitasking, you can better use your time to focus (preferably on one thing at a time) and get it done.
This article has been reprinted with permission from Amy Blaschka’s LinkedIn page.