Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, was asked:
“What’s the most important thing people can do daily for their careers?”
His response was that the most important thing a person can do every day is to invest in yourself. In particular, how are you better at the end of the day than you are at the beginning of the day?
What if you were an athlete who didn’t train? If you went and played, you would lose to the people who did train.
To do this, figure out what you need to know, and how do you make yourself better? What are the things you need to know in order to be a better professional everyday.
He said, “That’s the thing to think about everyday.”
So how do you actually identify the skills you need?
What does the road ahead look like?
Once you see that road, how do you start to learn those skills?
And once you start learning those skills, how do you balance the rest of your life – which is already jam packed – with trying to get ahead?
It can seem extremely frustrating to figure out.
But that’s not the only roadblock. Top performers in particular fall prey to another trap.
Discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance and overcome it. Far too many people – especially people with great expertise in one area – are contemptuous of knowledge of other areas or believe that being bright is a substitute for knowledge. First-rate engineers, for instance, tend to take pride in not knowing anything about people. Human beings, they believe, are much too disorderly for the good engineering mind. Human resources professionals, by contrast, often pride themselves on their ignorance of elementary accounting or of quantitative methods altogether. But taking pride in such ignorance is self-defeating. Go to work on acquiring the skills and knowledge you need to fully realize your strengths. –Peter Drucker (Managing Oneself)
Part of what makes it tough is that these skills you need to get ahead are often soft skills. It can be things like your mindset, skills, connections, and experiences.
Soft assets are things you can’t trade directly for money. They’re the intangible contributors to career success: the knowledge and information in your brain; professional connections and the trust you’ve built up with them; skills you’ve mastered; your reputation and personal brand; your strengths (things that come easily to you). Hard assets are what you’d typically list on a balance sheet: the cash in your wallet; the stocks you own; physical possessions like your desk and laptop. These matter because when you have an economic cushion, you can more aggressively make moves that entail downside financial risk. For example, you could take six months off to learn the Ruby programming language with no pay— i.e., pick up a new skill. Or you could shift to a lower-paying but more stimulating job opportunity. During a career transition, someone who can go six to twelve months without earning money has different options— indeed, a significant advantage— over someone who can’t go more than a month or two without a paycheck. Soft assets are more difficult to tally than cash in a bank account, but assuming your basic economic needs are taken care of, soft assets are ultimately more important. Dominating a professional project at work has little to do with how much dough you’ve socked away in a savings account; what matters are skills, connections, experiences. Because soft assets may be abstract, there’s a tendency for people to underestimate them when pondering career strategy. –Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha (Startup Of You).
It’s with this premise in mind that I’m excited to tell you about a new course we are launching – Level Up.
Let’s go back to that example of an athlete that Hoffman gave. An athlete trains, practices, and adds something new to their game every offseason. They’re particular about what they feed their body, and have to make sure they are always at peak physical performance.
Why don’t we treat our minds the same way? Our minds should be in training mode, adding new skills, and operating at peak performance. This is why we have combined both personal growth and productivity in the Level Up course for professionals. This course is designed to help you get unstuck, operate at peak performance, and maximize your potential so you become indispensable. It gives you the exact blueprint you need to master these skills to get ahead.