Photo Credit: Nathan Mills Guitar
There’s this guitarist I know. His music is a work in progress. Not his music itself, because he hones his craft daily. Still, his career in music is a study in skill development. No industry stands still. The ability to silence a room with the sound you bring out of a guitar does not a living make. Usually.
There are so many other skills called to bear in a successful career in music today. Composing, arranging, teaching, performing, collaborating, marketing, production, diversifying style or instrument. Whew!
Then there’s your day job (by necessity, or for other reasons). Wisdom is to bring the same disciplines and desire, of that skilled musician, to work every day. To be the best asset you can be for your employer or your company. Shirking entitlement and nurturing an attitude of graciousness and gratitude.
Who is this person?!
Jon Acuff talks about becoming such a person in his book Do Over. He tackles the subject of sharpening and developing skills as imperative to any career, and especially to break through a Career Ceiling.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a job? No, I’m not talking about being ungrateful or feeling entitled to a better situation. I’m talking stuck – as in getting to a place in your job where you can’t see being able to ever advance or be more creative or grow professionally?
Acuff invites us readers to take a good look at our skills to see what exactly we uniquely bring to your job. This would include skills we might have discounted or even forgotten we had.
Below are 10 bits of wisdom from Jon’s section on skills:
- Relationships get you the first gig, skills get you the second.
- When you hit a Career Ceiling, skills will be the hammer you use to break through.
- Don’t let fear hide a skill you’ve always had or wanted to pursue. Just because you’re afraid of doing something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
- Small skills have the tendency to add up to big careers.
- Master the invisible skills – Go to work; add value; own your attitude.
- When you have a bad attitude it flavors every part of your performance.
- If you want to get better at something, it always costs time. If you don’t have any, steal some from…Facebook or any number of things that are requesting that resource without paying you anything in return.
- I’m convinced that fear beats the “You don’t have enough time” drum because it never wants you to invest in your career. This is a lie.
- Your willingness to discipline one part of your life creates freedom in another.
- You will need skills most when you find yourself stuck. The ceilings are designed to filter out the lazy and uncommitted. Every skill can be a hammer. Start banging. Career Ceilings were meant to be broken.
Like with looking at our relationships, he calls for us to use note cards and list (one per card) all the skills we can think of – whether currently using them or only in the past; whether work-related or not so much. Once we’ve exhausted our ideas on skills then, he says to look for patterns.* It’s so easy to settle into a rut of doing the same thing every day. Going after new skills and sharpening old ones help us to be good at our jobs and, at the same time, love our work.
Whether you are a musician, a teacher, an I.T. guy or a caregiver, you have skills and you can build on those skills. Determining to be diligent to grow your skills and grateful for the opportunities to learn will take you farther than you know. Right through that career ceiling.
Photo Credit: Forbes.com
Learning new skills on-site with Habitat for Humanity