Because life is constantly moving and things around us are constantly shifting, yesterday’s knowledge and skill-sets may not work for tomorrow’s challenges. But that’s ok, because we were made to be curious, to learn, to expand; not only our knowledge base, but our skill-set. Here are five ways to sharpen your skills.
- You sharpen your skills when you read good books. What a great day for publishing, for authors, and for those who need the content they create. E-books are available almost instantly. And even out of print books can be acquired without much work or effort. If you’re not reading, you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing, your skills are not only not expanding, they may very well be diminishing.
- You sharpen your skills when you attend a training event. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to show up in a place and time with other people and learn new skills. I’ve been doing this for over four decades. I’ve traveled across the country and paid lots of money to sit for days and listen to people smarter than me and more accomplished than me teach me best practices. There’s something about being there that helps you focus on the new skill-sets. And being around other people also helps you find practical ways for implementing them.
- You sharpen your skills when you teach. I can’t tell you how important it is to develop the heart of a teacher if you’re going to be a leader. If you’re going to do anything of significance, you’re going to have to teach. And one of the best ways to sharpen your skill-set is to do the hard spade-work of study and preparation that is required of teaching. If all you do is receive, there is only so far you can go.
- You sharpen your skills when you enlist a coach or mentor. The most successful people I know constantly employ the services of people smarter and more experienced than they are. We call them coaches or mentors: the people who come alongside for a period of time and actually transfer their knowledge and wisdom without us having to make all the same mistakes ourselves.
- You sharpen your skills when you engage in conversation. Unlike any day in our history, we now have the privilege of talking to people all over the world, instantly through email, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Linkedin, we can actually reach out and find knowledge, and research a subject with the click of a mouse. There’s no excuse for you not knowing everything you need to know about how to master a subject for which you have a sustainable passion.
What are the things you do to sharpen your skill-set? What would you add to this list?