Wisdom//

Doing Skills + Being Skills = Career Success

What we're not being taught at work

Where did you learn how to adapt or how to be present? If you are like most people, you probably didn’t answer “at work”. The elements of creating a successful career are just as much about knowing how to DO the job as they are about your quality of BEING on the job.

Most of us know the steps needed to learn how to do a job. First you need basic skills; reading, writing, and math. Then you identify a career path and develop specialized skills, these skills are technical and/or occupational in nature and industry specific. Basic and specialized skills, (doing skills) are considered cognitive skills and they rely on conscious intellectual effort for success.

Next, you seek the job. This includes connecting to the right people, interviewing, and showing positive attitude. These are soft skills and they include your ability to communicate, solve problems, motivate yourself and others and build rapport. Soft skills are considered noncognitive skills as they are subconsciously expressed via your behavior through your temperament or attitude.

Ready for career success? Not quite yet. Enter being skills. Being skills include things like presence, awareness, resiliency, patience, discernment, vulnerability and authenticity. Being skills are a deeper layer of noncognitive or soft skills. As important as being skills are, they are not likely to fit into traditional training curriculum at schools or companies. Yet they are skills that are necessary for a successful career, as reported by Business Insider; and according to a recent LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends report, they are a top hiring trend in 2017.

Programs like Daniel Goleman’s that develop emotional and social intelligence, or Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication are help build noncognitive skills that support the development of being skills. Company sponsored programs like Google’s Search Inside Yourself and Intel’s [email protected] program also teach these skills as well as consultancies like Potential Project, The Energy Project and my company Simple Intentions.

Being skills are the glue that bind specialized, basic and soft skills. To learn them you don’t need a formal training program, though the structure can be helpful for many. What is needed is the desire to enhance how you show up at work and a commitment to practice each day. There are 3 simple actions you can take to develop your being skills.

Pay attention to when you’re not paying attention

An easy and free place to start is to just notice when you are not present. At work, pay attention to when and how often your mind wanders. That’s it. Just notice and come back to the moment. A meditation practice can be helpful in building this skill, however it is not required to learn to pay attention to when you are not paying attention.

Consider your words carefully

Begin to pay attention to your words, BEFORE they leave your mouth. By considering your thoughts and word selection, if even briefly, before sharing them with others, you will begin to build the skills of discernment (‘Do I need to say this right now?’) and authenticity (‘Is this really what I want to say?’).

Be real

Practice saying, “I don’t know” when you don’t know, and “I need help” when you need help. Notice when you feel the need to know everything and do everything on your own and explore what happens when you ask for support. This will help you build the skill of vulnerability, a foundational soft skill from which trust is constructed. When you are vulnerable you invite others to do the same, thus strengthening team trust.

Career success includes both conscious intellectual effort and awareness of your temperament or attitude – the right mix of doing and being skills can not only make you more employable but also make the experience of work more enjoyable for all. 

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