Maybe you’ve just finished college, or you’re in a career and struggling. You don’t have to figure everything out on your own! Many people have been in your shoes and know how to steer you in the right direction. The following are four key skills for success in professional life.
Ability to Learn
You don’t need to be in a technological field to have a changing pool of knowledge you need to keep up with. Laws change, technology changes, and trends in management change. You need to aim for the cutting edge, always. In fact, Forbes.com says learnability is the most important trait to have for professional success.
Learning new things is an important tool to keep around, especially as you age. If you keep challenging your mind, it will stay sharp even into your twilight years. If you haven’t decided that learning is fun yet, cultivate that mind set. If you’re always learning, then you will never get behind.
You can also share what you’ve learned with others!
No matter where you work, the workplace is full of people. Even if you work from home, you need to communicate with clients and bosses clearly. In the office you will often need help from colleges who know how to do stuff you don’t. You will also need to clearly communicate your needs to your boss so that you can succeed at work tasks.
The first rule of communication is to be as clear as you can. Be clear with yourself and with others. If you are asking a favor, make sure that you communicate why you need it and be open to favors others need of you. Be clear and considerate.
Empathy is also a huge part of effective communication. If you can put yourself in other people’s shoes, you won’t step on their toes. People will appreciate that you are considerate of their needs and be happy to work with you.
To cultivate empathy, you need to practice. Pause your own thoughts, get out of your own head, and consider what the other person is thinking. Be careful, some people have vastly different experiences than you and you will have to take that into consideration. Not everyone would do what you would in their situation. Keep learning what makes others tick.
Be a Problem Solver
Professional life is all about finding and solving problems. The better you can do it, the more opportunities you will have.
Effective problem solving consists of four main steps: identifying the problem, brainstorming solutions, trying solutions out, and evaluating results. This too is a practice, you may not be good at it at first, but you need to keep re-evaluating your results and trying new solutions.
Maybe the problem isn’t what you thought it was. Maybe there’s a solution you aren’t seeing. If all else fails, ask someone who might know more about the problem than you.
Eye on the Prize
Don’t give up. Make up your mind that you are a professional and eventually you will carry yourself with the integrity that inspires others. Aim to do things the right way, not the way you think you have to. Be creative and try as many solutions as you can. Never stop learning.
Confidence is the key to any endeavor. Gain it for yourself, because you deserve it. Do things right because you know you can. The success will follow!