4 Things More Important Than Your Ability
Nov 27, 2016
Good workers are a dime a dozen. Sure, if you think outside of the box and are able to push the envelope that can help you stand out. But there are other ways to do that, and they have nothing to do with your actual ability and skill level at work.
The skills, they will come, in the meantime, these should help and will certainly help in their progression.
1. Curiosity: The desire to figure things out, to ask questions, and the desire to understand why things are a certain way. If you’re a cook, it’s not enough to just know what a Maillard reaction is — you need to be curious enough to want to know why it happens — then you can use it to your advantage and apply as a science, not just a tactic. When you start becoming curious, it becomes more and more a part of you, you continue to ask those important questions, and at the same time, attempting to figure things out, to truly understand, your creativity and ability to solves problems thrives and will take care of itself.
2. Work Ethic: There are a lot of great players who just don’t have enough heart — maybe it’s someone in your organization, or someone at school, or maybe it’s an athlete that could have been the next Lebron, but thought he didn’t have to work for it, because things always came naturally. At the end of the day, someone with a strong work ethic will figure out how to be better than their uninspired peer. It really comes down to the fact that their heart is in it — they just want it more. That’s what made Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time, and it’s why certain incredible potential superstars, in whatever field, fall so short of who they could become. If you don’t think you have to work for it — for anything worth having in life, you’re living in dangerous reality. Coaches see this, leaders see this and mentors see this and are drawn to have these types of people on their teams and in their organizations.
3. Team Player: If you are a team player, not only will the people around you LOVE having you in the building, you’ll be taken care of and appreciated for by the ones at the top, because you are in the game for something bigger than yourself. This makes you trusted, respected and an indispensable part of the whole. If you go to bat for the people around you and for the organization, they will both do the same for you. On the other hand, if you’re just interested in yourself and getting yourself ahead, it becomes apparent to the people around you — the dynamic won’t work, and you’ll be the dispensable one, even if you are better than the ones around you. The selfish mentality might get you ahead in the very, very short term, but it almost never pays off in the big picture.
4. Growth Mindset: In anything in life, things are going to happen that set us back — we try things at work that fall flat on their faces, we get our hearts broken by the one we thought we’d spend the rest of our lives with, we get passed over for the promotion — all of that sucks. It stings. BUT, it’s also an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to either sit back and feel sorry for ourselves (which accomplishes nothing and puts us further behind), or we can see these types of situations as opportunities to learn and grow and get better at whatever it is what are looking to do. Anything worth doing is going to have it’s fair share of adversity. I recently had a conversation with Seth Godin at his office in New York and we talked about this very idea. The head chef gives you free reign to put together a special for the weekend — you totally blow it? Okay. What’s done is done. What can I learn from this experience? What can I do better next time? Figure out what it is you need to do, in order to keep growing and moving forward, instead of falling backwards into the mentality of I’m not good enough, this won’t work, or I’ll never amount to anything. If you resolve yourself to the fact that it won’t work and that you truly won’t amount to anything, newsflash — that’s exactly what will happen. Everything we face in life is an opportunity to grow, and if you don’t buckle up and take full advantage of it, you’ll never reach your full potential — whether you’ve got the skill or not. The only way to become great at anything is to commit yourself to growing into what it is you want to be. Expect it to be hard along the way, that’s how you know it’s worth it.
Talent is great, and ability is essential, but if you aren’t born with talent and you haven’t yet developed the skills and ability to perform, that’s okay, but you have to give an employer, a coach, a partner a reason to invest in you. Investing in yourself and the people around you is the best way I’ve discovered that does this — along the way, the rest will take care of itself.
— Chris Hill