N order for you to transit from where you are now, to where you want to be, you have to undertake multiple jobs and embrace new careers. It is estimated that on average, a person starting work today will have 14 full-time jobs lasting two years or more and four full time careers in different businesses before he reaches retirement age.
Thus, it is inevitable that your career will change continually as you grow and advance in your march toward financial freedom. Therefore, you must be constantly looking down your road on acquiring new skills and competencies for the attainment of your goals. Every job is made up to five to seven key result areas. In sales for example you have: one, prospecting; two, establishing rapport, three: identifying needs; four: proffering solutions, five: answering objections; six: closing the sale and seven, getting resales and references from satisfied customers.
Then as a salesman, you have to grade yourself on these seven areas. You should take the list to some of your customers for them to grade you. That will be an eye opener for you. Whatever your grades, select your weakest points and work on them, for your weakest skill sets the height of your income, determining how fast and how far you go in your career.
In order to move onto the fast track of your life, you would need to develop the skill that would have the greatest positive impact on your career. It should become your focal point for personal and professional development. Once you have achieved mastery in your weakest area, you then broaden your knowledge in preparation to excel in your career. Thereafter, you set personal improvement as a goal, then you go to work to improve yourself in that area everyday. In a year, you will be absolutely excellent in that skill area. You will have become a champion of your vocation.
A most important step in your career is to identify what it is that you are really good at, then put your whole heart into becoming excellent in that area. Mary Parker Follett, an American management consultant in the 19th century wrote: ‘‘The very best direction to ride a horse is in the direction it is going.” The very best way to develop yourself is in the direction of your natural talents. Nurture your nature is the best advice that you should follow throughout your life.
There are eight ways for you to identify your forte in life. First, you will always be happiest at doing something that you love to do. This brings out the best in you, and you are tremendously happy doing it. Second, you do it well. It is a cinch for you to do. Thirdly, this talent has been responsible for your success, recognition and happiness in life up till now. It has brought you the greatest rewards and compliments from other people. Fourthly, it is something that is easy for you to learn and do. Fifthly, it holds your attention all the time. It fascinates you. It attracts you like a moth to a flame. Six, you love to learn about it. You have a deep inner desire to excel in this particular area. Seven, when you do it, time stands still. When working in this area, you don’t remember to even eat, and eight, you really admire and respect other people who are good at what you are most suited to do. You like them, want to be like them, and emulate them in every way.
If the above descriptions apply to what you are doing now, then they can lead you to what you were uniquely put on earth to do, to your heart’s desire. Your natural talents are inborn and easy to develop. They are programmed into your subconscious as what you were put on this earth to do. Your job is to discover it and develop it throughout your life. Skills are complementary to each other. This means, you must have one skill at a certain level in order to use your other skills at a higher level. Sometimes, you have to learn and develop skills that you don’t love.
This is the price you have to pay to be able to achieve excellence in your chosen field. Hence, you could be only one skill away from doubling your productivity and income. You may only need to bring up your skill in one area for you to be able to use all of your other skills at a higher level.
However, business skills are not genetically determined. They are learnable. If you need to learn any business skill in order to realize and utilize your full potential, you must learn it by practice and repetition. But don’t fall into the trap of the poor performer who ditches responsibility by saying: ‘‘I am really not very good in that area.” Or, ‘‘I don’t have talent or ability in that skill.” If any skill is important, you should learn it. Your very worst decision is to allow yourself to be held back because you lacked a skill that is readily learnable through dedication and determination.
Excellence is a journey. It is imperfect practice that makes perfect. You must pay the price of success. That price often involves the hard work of mastering a difficult skill that you need to move to the top of your profession. Your magic wand of success is the need for you to become a lifelong do-it-yourself project. Invest two or three years to become absolutely excellent in your chosen field. Be willing to pay any price, make any sacrifice to become the best at what you do.
Our champion this week is Maurice Blondel, the French Philosopher whose influential works aimed at establishing the correct relationship between reasoning and religion. He formulated a philosophy of action that integrated classical thought with modern Pragmatism in the context of a Christian philosophy of religion. Blondel was born in Dijon, France, in November 1861. He came from a family of lawyers but chose early in life to follow a career in philosophy. He was educated in Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris.
In 1893, he finished his thesis, Action, a critical essay of life and of a science of practice. Because his philosophical conclusions were deemed to be too Christian and therefore compromising of philosophical reason, he was refused a teaching post. But in 1895, he became a master of ceremonies in Lille, then shortly after at Aix-en Provence, where he became a professor in 1897. He remained there for the rest of his career.
In Action, Blondel developed a philosophy of action. For him, the term action was comprehensive and meant the dynamism of life, including all the conditions that contribute to the gestation, birth and expansion of the free act. He argued that proving that God exists is not the question, it is determining what attitude a man should take regarding the possibility of his receiving eternal life with God. This and subsequent works unleashed enormous controversy at the time of publication. Pope Pius X’s encyclical of 1907 targeted Blondel’s thought and for decades Blondel remained associated with the Modernists in Western philosophy and the school of French Spiritualism. Between 1934 and 1937 Blondel published a trilogy dedicated to thought, being and action. In 1946, he published the Christian Spirit. He died in 1949. A nine volume edition of his complete works is being published. Two volumes have been published as of 2013.