New year, new resolutions, right? Riiight… resolution junkie or not, there is surely something you want to start, improve or change this year. Lose some weight, make some money. Go on more vacations. Spend more quality time with family and friends. Heck, maybe you want to start your own business or meet true love. Either way, your focus should shift towards softer skills that make a valuable difference in your life – career wise or not. Since there are so many levels you can upgrade within yourself for personal development, spiritual awakening, wealth and career success, where should you start from?
Well, start SIMPLE. With simple changes.
Simple is always better. It makes the difference on the long run in anything you do or think, especially for your professional progress. Whether you’re a rookie or a skilled superhero/guru/ninja, stick to the basics. This way you’ll lay the foundation for the BIG changes on your way to awesomeness.
Let’s sum up some of the best career advice & best skills of a professional folk who’s successful but also happy. Of course, this is just our list, based on various daily interactions with so many different people in the past 10 years of eJump.
Be consistently consistent.
It doesn’t matter if you have talent. If you don’t practice, practice some more, and then practice in order to get darn good at what you do or want to do, you can’t become the best in what you do. And that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? Accomplished people aren’t the ones with simply raw talent. They are those who are persistent through failure, through criticism, through anything. Be stubborn and don’t stop. The same with anything in your life. If you work out for a day, you won’t see any results. If you work out for a month, you won’t see any results. But after six months of constantly getting there, you’ll see the bad-ass transformation.
#2 Flexible mindset
Being flexible means you leave room for growth.
Maybe you’ve watched the excellent comparison between Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset (if not, click on the link now!); then you know how a fixed mindset considers intelligence, talent and basic abilities rather fixed, leaving no room for you to improve or get out of the comfort zone. Those with a flexible mindset are capable of seeing opportunity in “failure” and valuable lessons in critical feedback, so they thrive. Being flexible is a must-have skill especially since everything changes at a fast pace in the world. You need to have a healthy mind in a healthy body, and learn to adapt and embrace new challenges. Make yourself ready for anything that arises and engage in greater things. Hone your flexible mindset.
#3 Time management
Overwhelmed with tasks to do? Accelerate, Maintain, or Terminate.
Maybe you’ve heard about this concept in rather professional contexts. There’s a lot to do, a lot of stress to cope with, a lot of genius ideas to make happen in the meantime. There are many stressed out people who seem to have never-ending tasks and so little time for themselves. And there are the focused and organized people who manage to finish a substantial amount of work and yes, still have time to, well, enjoy life. Learning to organize and plan your time spent on specific tasks enables you to work smarter – not harder – and get things done in the optimal amount of time! There’s no room for stress and delayed responsibilities if you consciously plan your day ahead. Start with a daily list of priorities in the morning– including breaks for meditation, a little walk, some stretching – oh yes, your health is important. Keep your desk tidy and neat. Don’t multitask – there’s no such thing anyway. Step by step.
#4 Ask for feedback
Communication is KEY in everything.
Including in networks formed by machines, equipment and computers like in the IoT field. No one can read minds, so don’t assume there’s someone who can do that for you. Honest and frequent communication is one of our strengths precisely because it’s important for the team, but with the clients as well. Unfortunately, sometimes human behavior has a little bug in its code that tells: be afraid of feedback because it’s either negative or personal criticism. Instead, feedback helps you learn about what you can surely improve – work or behavior – and how to get the resources you need in order to become better. Moreover, feedback is not a personal evaluation of you as an individual; it’s a judgment of work quality or an objective aspect. Stay focused on that. Feedback is neither positive nor negative; it’s just an amazing resource to know more about your potential.
#5 Listen to feedback
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
We talk again about honest communication as a valuable skill because a constructive dialogue is essential in learning more about yourself, your peers and your environment. It improves someone’s life and career. But it’s not helpful at all to ask for feedback from your managers, your colleagues or other people if you’re not going to actually listen to it and take it seriously. Filter the message and see what your strength points are, as well as your pain-points that can be improved. Of course, stay away from malicious or mean feedback that doesn’t provide anything useful. The listening part is the most underrated aspect of communication, so make sure you’re aware of how much or what you listen or pay attention to.
It all starts with self-respect.
And that’s why it’s another core value of our company culture. And self-respect means the respect of others around you as well, right? When it comes to a successful career or your desired path, you must have faith in yourself and respect your skills, your determination, your passion, and every bit of your work no matter what. If you respect your time, your values, your abilities, it means that you know your worth and your team’s worth as well. Your teammate has his own journey to complete and obstacles to overcome, and his skills, his time and his passions are equally important. Try to take that into account whenever you feel conflicted at work for example.
When it comes to work, we talk about respect for our clients as well. We mustn’t forget they’re a central piece of our success and experience. So respect them in a way that it matters:
- offer your clients the best work you can deliver
- respect their needs and resources
- be flexible when possible
- listen to their concerns or ideas and propose the best solutions for a win-win deal
- always respond promptly, since time has a very important value nowadays
Also, don’t take things personally especially at work because it only breeds resentment without even a plausible reason. Keep things professional and involve in constructive criticism or technical disagreements if necessary. As soon as it becomes personal, you become unprofessional. And it shows immediately. So don’t make assumptions. Look for valid arguments or reasons for that unpleasant situation and keep doing your work amazingly.
#7 Set boundaries
“True strength is found in standing firm, yet bending gently.”
Setting boundaries is pretty important in any circumstances – both personal and professional. A boundary refers to a limit defining you in a relationship to someone or something. It can be physical or emotional. At work, setting boundaries helps you clarify your responsibility and the other’s, preserve your energy, stay focused and committed to your values and principles. First, you should identify your limits – what you can accept, what you can tolerate and what stresses you out. They can differ from the others people’s limits, but don’t compare yourself to them. Let’s say you got a job offer that seemed amazing. But at a closer look… you’d have to work overtime, do other people’s work, tolerate a bad behavior or compromise too much. You teach people how to treat you, so make sure you communicate your boundaries and values in an assertive, but kind way because this helps not only you, but also people around you – it’s a mutual good thing. Communicating honestly improve the entire system at work, promote good communication between your teams and respect as well.
#8 Get a new hobby
Never. Stop. Learning.
In case you’re wondering why getting a new hobby is on this list, well, a hobby can definitely unlock more creativity while having fun! It helps you see things from different perspectives and become more solution-oriented or even innovative. You can start a hobby related to your job or can be something totally strange that you’re just curious or passionate about. If it’s related to the field you work in then you already have the advantage of keeping up with the latest skills / tech in a time when industries evolve pretty quickly. If it’s not related, it’s still awesome. Any new hobby helps you stay focused and learn to be patient, while creativity and stress relief are at highest peaks. You already become better while playing and engaging in different, joyful activities! And it makes you an interesting person who can build stronger bonds with people who share the same values or passions – at work and in your personal life.
#9 Meet new people
It’s painless, we assure you.
It’s what we talked about in the previous text. We’re all virtually connected, but incredibly alienated. There’s Netflix, virtual games, VR, or there’s that small talk at the office just for the sake of it. But it’s important to meet your friends outside the office and get to know more people, perhaps who share the same interests or goals. These types of new connections keep you up to date, connected and get you a better change at finding the dream job or the best opportunity for your career goals. Get out there and go to industry meetings or events, show your passionate interests and support other people who try to make a change as you are. Solidarity and showing real interest for others can make a difference in your life.
#10 Be kind
“Being kind is the best way to inspire kindness in others.”
Being kind is not quite a skill or a professional change per se. But it’s worth practicing it to gain more freedom, creativity, performance and happiness! There are endless ways to be kind not only with your friends and family, obviously, but at work too. Random acts of kindness boost morale and even make work feel less like work. They even trigger neurological responses that help you cope with the struggles and become more resilient in general. It’s a fact that the emotional status of a team affects the efficacy and performance – we’ve seen this in our team as well. When we’re able to help a colleague with advice, a compliment or even a bad joke as it usually happens, or when the managers reinforce trust and a can do attitude by reminding us our specific accomplishments from time to time, our mood improves and so the results of our work.
If you need some ideas for kindness at work:
- You can surprise your colleagues with some coffee drinks
- You can share some food with someone who forgot to bring his own
- You can offer to help a teammate who seems overwhelmed with tasks
- You can be there for someone who needs venting his frustrations
- You can just listen to someone or you can make someone laugh with a stupid joke
- You can share positive feedback when a manager expresses it – but that person weren’t there to hear it
- What we love most to do: you can say “thank you” and “sorry” (if needed, hope that’s not the case). We practice gratitude challenges during the year and leave handwritten thank you notes for those who helped us.
Plus, it’s cool to be kind. And the best at what you do.