Connect with us

Success Advice

The Best Career Advice You’ll Ever Get

Published

on

best advice

Listen up – this is going to be the best career advice you’ll ever get.

Are you an expert?

If not – You damn well should be.

Deep domain expertise is essential to really thrive in your working environment – especially in our modern society.

Why?

The world is speeding up faster and faster; We have an unseen rate of technological improvements, a demographic explosion, declining fossil fuels, an economic shift to Asia and so-on.

Basically; the world is getting more and more competitive by the day and you don’t want to be left behind, right?

You want to be prepared for what’s coming.

Here’s how:

Camels & Bananas

Ever since the paleolithic era we’ve been fighting over scarce resources. Whether this was food, shelter or trendy sabretooth skirts.

Times have changed – but the essence remains the same; it’s resources we’re after.

Money mainly.

In the old days, we used to have a trading system where hunters would trade their catch with fishers for example. This is an equal exchange of value of differently skilled people.

The same concept still applies today. Money simply has made trading your entire life easier (This way you don’t have to barter anymore about how many camels your banana’s are worth.)

Simplicity!

  • You pay money in the supermarket so you don’t have to grow your own crops
  • You pay money to the dentist so you don’t have to learn how to pull your own teeth
  • You pay money to the plumber so you don’t have to manually declog your own sink.

This system allows us to tap into the expertise of others. The more difficult the task, the more money they get.

Being able to do what others cannot is what makes you valuable.

Anyone can sell shoes, anyone can run behind a dumpster truck, anyone can sell fast-food. But not everyone knows how to build a house, lay electrical wiring or perform an open-heart-surgery. The more difficult and in-demand your skills are – the higher your pay-grade will rise.

If you want more income – You have to deserve it first.

How?

By building up difficult skills that are high in demand based on your strengths.

For illustrative purposes I’ve made this fancy info-graphic;

Untitled Report (1)

This means that the barrier of entry for competitors will be high (less competition) and you work in a field where your skills are highly valued.

Additionally, building on strength gives you an “edge” on others.

Sounds sweet right? 

So what are strengths?

Strengths are the things we naturally excel at – the things that come “naturally” to us.

Build. On. Them.

“One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first rate performance to excellence” – Peter Drucker

So how do you start?

How Do I Find My Strengths?

You find strength through self-analysis

The best way I’ve found to do this is by keeping a journal of my life in which I’m able to spot different trends. Over time you’ll be able to hone down on what you’re really good at.

“Know thyself” – Socrates

Here are three ways to discover your strengths:

1. Self-Assessment

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when looking for your personal strengths:

  • In what did I grow up around? Competence can arise from early practice, what types of activities were you involved in as a child?
  • What do strangers compliment me on? You/your direct surroundings often notice your natural strengths faster than you do. Just ask around.
  • What did I want to become as a child? What were the underlying trends?
  • What have I been doing the last 10 years? Competence comes from doing a certain thing for a long period of time.
  • What can I effortlessly talk about without losing drive?An interesting topic is most likely something you’re highly skilled at or highly interested in.
  • What are the things I effortlessly excel at? What activities come easy for you?
  • In what areas do I learn quickly? Some skills are perfectly suited to our temperament and therefore we’re able to pick these up much faster than others.
  • Who do I envy/admire? Jealousy is a nasty but beautiful emotion as it shows us what we truly want. The same goes for admiration.

 

2. Reading

Furthermore, a great book that will help you find more strengths is Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker.

Read the summary and define for yourself:

  • Am I a reader or a listener?
  • How do I learn best? 
  • Do I work well with others or do I perform better alone?
  • Do I produce results as decision maker or as an adviser?
  • Do I perform well under stress or do I need a structured environment?

Alright – what’s next?

 

3. Personality Tests

A great way to explore further is by doing some personality tests (although they are often too general – it’s quite likely that they’ll give you some more career-indicators)

Here are the ones I recommend:

  • MBTI-test
  • DISC-assessment
  • Enneagram

Learn more about each type by simply Googling the results you’ve gotten.

Put all of these answers in a separate word-sheet and try to determine for yourself the answer to this question;

How can I combine my skills (based on strength) and my interests to solve a need for other people?

Now go do exactly that.

jack-dorsey-entrepreneur-picture-quote-for-success

Going Deeper

In our current information society it might be not enough to be simply highly skilled in only one particular field. The combination of different, highly valued skills is also often what elevates your pay-grade.

Here’s some other tips to prepare for the future:

  • Learn how to learn. Optimize your learning process.
  • Life-long learning. Never stop growing – aspire to become a polymath (a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.)
  • Keep track of global trends. Where is the world going and how can I prepare for this? Especially the technological boom is very prominent – stay ahead of the robots!
  • Work for yourself. Everyone will need to become an entrepreneur in the future

 

Essence

The world is an inherently competitive place. You’ll need an edge to become indispensable & the only way to become indispensable is to excel at things others cannot do.

What about passion?

Competence at a skill will lead to enjoying the activity more – enjoying it more means you’ll be doing it more which in turn makes you more competent.

It’s an endless loop.

Eventually you’ll start to love it and it’ll become your “passion”. So don’t go searching for something until it “feels just right” but create it by building on strengths. Don’t waste time and energy on an endless passion-chase.

Note: Strengths are solely performance indicators (not unchangeable truths). So don’t obsess about them. You can still “be whoever you want to be”, but you won’t perform optimally if you build your life on weakness. It can be stretched – just not indefinitely.

“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. – Peter F. Drucker

So tell me;

What are your strengths?

I hope this advice is timely for you. There’s so much wasted time & energy (and frustration) in fields where we just don’t have a natural advantage in. And the world is simply too much of a competitive place not to use this.

  • Why can’t I perform like colleague x?
  • Why do I need to put in all this effort when colleague y is slacking to get the same results?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post! I hope you liked it. If you think someone you know might benefit from this post be sure to share it around. If you’re having anymore thoughts or questions about this topic, feel free to share them with me in the comment section below!

 

I’m Simon! Fitness-fanatic and self-development addict. I’m on a quest for happiness and fulfillment in my life to become everything I’ve set out to be, and so are you! I write about Creating Yourself on BasicGrowth.com

Advertisement
10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Dayo

    May 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I suspect that you are not really excited about medicine and that it might not be what you are destined to do. If it was, you’d have no problem sticking to your schedule. Visualise, how you would feel if you became a doctor. Imagine yourself in the hospital, and then keep this image. I would also suggest praying too ask this has helped many with their drive and vision.

  2. saugat

    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Awesome article

  3. Saugat

    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I find it really awesome to read such an article in addicted to success …But my problem is I set goals to achieve on my study and follow up the routine but eventually it doesn’t work for more than 4-5 days …and I try another and the process goes on and on …really I want to study medicine but I can’t make my routine to stick in day to day activities…can you suggest me on this topic simon!!

    • Simon Somlai

      Jul 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Hey Saugat,

      That’s simply the process of building up willpower. Each time we push passed our own laziness/fatigue it increases so next time we’ll be able to go 5-6 days. Next time we can go even further and can go 6-7 days. It’s a delicate balance between pushing yourself hard enough and accepting yourself for never being able to reach perfection.

      I suggest using smalls steps to build up one solid habit at a time and letting those compound on each other. I use a thirty day challenge calendar where I routinely try to implement new habits. I think you should give that a try!

      Take care,

  4. Ram

    Apr 17, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Thanks for your article Simon.

    It just made me to think why I am pursuing my job in which I am very weak!!! I need to find my strength. With the steps you provided above , I couldnt able to find my strength . I keep on thinking what I did best for the past 10 years . I DID NOTHING BEST.

    Now I am 27 . Is it possible still I can make to a new career where I am good with strength and skills?

    • Simon Somlai

      Apr 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      Hey Ram,

      The best time to change is now. Find skills that are more suited to your strengths and practice those in your spare-time and see if you can’t combine those in an entrepreneurial ventures.

      I’d recommend to read “managing oneself by Peter F Drucker and re-consider the other questions as well.
      > Ask around to people who know you well
      > What do you excel at effortlessly?
      > Take the personality tests to find more indicators

      Hope that helps somewhat, take care!

  5. Puranjay

    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Top post Simon.

    You hit the nail on the head – you can’t be a generalist anymore. If you want a top career, you need to have at least one highly desired skill, and you need to be really, really good at it.

    If you are a digital marketer, you need to know how to grow traffic. If you are a UX designer, you need to know how to design websites that get top of the line conversions and engagement. A programmer would need to constantly improve his/her skillset with latest industry trends.

    The fun part is that mastery is its own reward. There is no greater source of joy in the world than knowing you are one of the best at someting!

    • Simon Somlai

      Apr 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Hey Puranjay,

      Thanks man, glad you liked the article!

      Most definitely – Expertise in different areas (being a polymath) combined with a desire to keep learning is what will get us ahead in the future.

      “The fun part is that mastery is its own reward. There is no greater source of joy in the world than knowing you are one of the best at something!”

      Agreed – as long as we pursue a direction suited to our strengths. I don’t believe everyone can excel at anything.

      For making more money; Pick a difficult, high in-demand skill suited to your strengths and reach expertise in that asap.

      Take care,

  6. satpal

    Apr 14, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Well explained . I am pretty it the best career advice i ever got.

    • Simon Somlai

      Apr 20, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Satpal, I hope it comes in time for you!

      Take care,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

The 6 Step Process for Delivering Critical Feedback in a Constructive Way

Published

on

how to deliver constructive feedback
Image Credit: Unsplash

We have all been in the position where we knew we needed to have a difficult conversation at work that involved delivering constructive feedback. Maybe a major deadline was missed, there was a clear decline in performance, or someone blatantly dropped the ball. Most of us avoid delivering the feedback, and the conversation can get pushed back again and again, wasting valuable time and money.

Delivering constructive feedback is challenging, and uncomfortable for most people, even highly trained leaders. Yet, delivering and accepting feedback is one of the most important keys for success. So why do we avoid these conversations? Because we never learned how to have them.

Open, honest, direct communication is not a skill we are taught in school. There is no “How to Have Tough Conversations” 101. As a clinical psychologist that specializes in couples work, I see just how important communication is in maintaining thriving relationships. I understand that good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship; both intimate relationships and your work relationships.

Below is a 6-step guide to providing constructive feedback:

Step 1: Clarity on the Goal of the Conversation  

The first step is to get clear on the goal of the feedback conversation. Are you planning to see a change in performance, simply communicate how you felt, or receive an apology? Get clear on what you are hoping to get out of the conversation. Be honest with yourself about what you need, what is most helpful to the relationship, and what is most helpful to the organization. Getting clear on the goal also ensures you are speaking with the right person.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

Step 2: Invitation

Set up a time to talk. Feedback conversations are not meant to be had in the hallway. It is important that both parties can set aside adequate time and have the space needed for dialogue. Additionally, there must be respect for both parties’ need for time to process information. For example, if you are delivering feedback, and the receiver needs time to process the feedback before responding, setting up a subsequent meeting will be most helpful.

Step 3: Ownership

Own the role you played in creating the situation. When you model ownership of blind spots, failures, or missteps, you set the stage for the receiver to do the same. For example, you may acknowledge that you were not aware of how to support your employee and not aware of the problem until x situation occurred. Equally important as owning your role, is owning your emotions. Own your emotions using “I” statements. For example, “I felt disappointed when I realized your sales performance had substantially declined”.

Step 4: Open, Honest, Direct Feedback

Feedback that dances around the problem does not do anyone any good. It only increases anxiety on behalf of the receiver, and potentially causes the feedback to get totally lost. The conversation needs to be open, honest, and direct. For example: “I felt concerned when you did not attend the last two strategy calls this month…It brought up questions for me about your commitment to the company.”

Step 5: Listen, Validate and Accept

When providing feedback, it is important both parties maintain an open mind, and respond in a way that communicates validation and acceptance. As soon as an individual gets defensive, feedback cannot be taken in, and the value of the conversation dramatically decreases. When providing feedback it is important to listen, validate, and accept your receiver’s viewpoint. Notice, I did not say agree. This looks something like saying: “I can see why X led you to commit Y , I understand you were under a great deal of stress/dealing with a personal situation/frustrated.”

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

Step 6: A Clear Plan for Moving Forward

In providing feedback, the magic is that now things can change! If feedback is never given, relationships end, things will stay the same, businesses will die, and money will be lost. If you have gotten to this step, that means you did the hard work, and now you get to put change into action. A clear plan includes an acknowledgement from both parties regarding what they will do differently to prevent the situation from occurring again, and how they will stay accountable in making the change happen.

The good news about delivering feedback is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, giving and receiving feedback is one of the most surefire ways to open yourself up to massive growth.

As a giver of feedback, it is your job to model openness and a desire for growth, so that the receiver may take in the feedback and make the necessary changes. Exceling at feedback delivery will help you set you apart from others and enable you to achieve extraordinary relationships, in both your personal and work lives.

Continue Reading

Success Advice

Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

Published

on

why you should have a podcast
Image Credit: Unsplash

Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

Continue Reading

Success Advice

5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche

Published

on

skill building
Image Credit: Unsplash

There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.

Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:

1. Ambition

When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?

The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.

2. Listen to those around you

While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.

You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.

On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Courage

When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.

Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.

Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.

4. Creativity and imagination

If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.

Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

5. Continuous learning

If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.

Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.

The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.

No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.

What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!

Continue Reading

Success Advice

5 Key Investment Principles from Warren Buffett

Published

on

Warren buffett investment tips
Image Credit: Forbes

Warren Buffett is a mentor for a lot of traders. Why shouldn’t he be? After all, his investing principles have earned him the title of the world’s greatest investor. His way of working is a little contradictory to many others in the arena of online trading. He doesn’t invest the way it’s depicted in the popular media. He is the kind of investor who likes buying and holding.

Buffett has taught us that once you buy a stock, hold it no matter what. Forget that there is a recession in the economy or it is at its boom. Whether it’s good times or bad, you’re supposed to hold onto the stock.

Buffett doesn’t just buy stocks for the sake of holding them. He buys them for a specific reason. When those reasons no longer exist, he sells the stocks. He not only looks for good prices but sound management and a competitive advantage. He shared his opinion that companies such as IBM, Sears, and GM are great but they cannot stay competitive for long. Therefore, these companies shouldn’t be a part of your portfolio.

Why not learn from the pro himself and invest the right way? Here are 5 key principles to begin with:

1. Invest In What You Know

Before investing in a stock, it is very important to understand what a company does and how it makes its money. Ever wondered why Buffett has always avoided investing in tech stocks? It’s because he does not completely understand their business model. He sticks to what he knows.

This also explains why he prefers investing in Berkshire’s stocks. It represents a diverse mix of stocks such as utilities, banking, and insurance and consumer products. All of these are businesses that Buffett understands very well. No wonder he has invested a significant amount of money here.

“Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.”  – Warren Buffett

2. Before Buying a Stock, List the Criteria

It makes sense to buy stocks on the basis of criteria, right? After all, you’re ensuring that you don’t end up investing in something unfavorable. You could be searching for stocks in a certain industry with a set price to earnings ratio.

Buffett never makes the price of the stock the sole criteria of his buying decision. Sometimes, great companies end up taking a price dip because of the market situation. However, holding onto these stocks could still turn out to be favorable.

3. Be Aggressive During Tough Times

Generally, it’s not recommended to time the market. But if you’re a long-term investor, you’ll be fine no matter when you buy. This means that even during the tough economic times, you shouldn’t settle down. Keep on looking for opportunities. This is what Warren Buffett does because he knows that things will eventually turn around.

Buffett is known for capitalizing on opportunities during and after the great recession. Bank of America investment is one of the best examples of this. In his latest annual letter, Buffett said that “dark clouds will fill the sky almost after every decade. But it certainly will rain gold.” So don’t despair, keep on investing.

4. Don’t Worry About the Day to Day Market Movements

Along with other tips, Buffett also said that you must only buy a stock if you are comfortable holding on to it in case the stock market shuts down for a decade. Since you are holding onto the stocks for 10 or more years, there is no point in losing sleep over the minor swings.

Ignore the headlines about the trade wars, the government shutdown, and other chaotic news. Instead, you focus on learning the potential growth of your company over the course of time. The fact is, stock prices keep on changing, but it’s not significant if the company’s business still has a bright future.

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.” – Warren Buffett

5. Buy Buffett’s Stocks

Buffett keeps everything simple when it comes to investing. If you don’t want to do the guesswork and research to figure out which stocks to buy, simply invest in the stocks Buffett already owns. But, make sure you understand the business. Buffett discloses his holdings publically each quarter. He has capital in companies such as Wells Fargo, Apple, and Bank of America. To keep things simple, you can buy the shares of Berkshire Hathaway itself.

Warren Buffett hasn’t been successful all by himself. He has a team of investors who help him do legal work and give him investment tips. He’s also a part of an advisor network because he understands that an investor needs all the help he can get. It’s amazing that a billionaire like him still listens to others.

Now that you know how to invest like Buffett, it’s time you prepare your investment strategy. These principles are not hard and fast criteria, they are simply a discipline strategy all investors should stick to. Along with these, you can use math, technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and even stock charts to make a decision. You may not end up a billionaire, but you will avoid losses and make more profits than your fellows.

Which one of the 5 key investment principles from above resonated with you most? Let us know below!

Continue Reading

Trending