5 Ways To Be Invaluable At Work Part 1

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10 invaluable skills to learn right now

5 Ways To Be Invaluable At Work

In today’s job market is incredibly competitive. Your technical skills pertaining to your job need to be excellent, but there are also important soft skills employers and hiring managers are looking for.  These skills will give you the extra edge and help accelerate your career.

skillsOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed Best-Selling Author, Maya Grossman.

They shared tips and personal stories about why these 5 skills will help you become invaluable at work and how you can apply them right now. This Soulcast Media | LIVE event is brought to you by our amazing sponsors at Sabobatage.

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The Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are one of the most important sets of skills you can learn to accelerate your career.  The reason for this is soft skills are intangible – you can’t necessarily force someone to learn a soft skill, it really has to come from within. As you get higher in your career, learning how to engage, motivate, and inspire others is all about soft skills. Soft skills are what move a business forward and help you get the next promotion or raise. 

During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Maya outlined five skills to help you become invaluable at work.

1. Developing An Owner’s Mindset

Developing an owner’s mindset means looking beyond your job description and thinking about what you do from an owner’s perspective.  Having an owner’s mindset is critical for career success.  That’s because if you are able to see your role from an owner’s perspective, you will be more in tuned with what the overall business needs to succeed.

There are several ways you can develop an owner’s mindset.

  • Think about the business as a whole. This means thinking about the bigger picture.  In other words, think about the overall business, the customers, the processes, and connect the dots.  This is important because it forces you to think beyond just your job’s role.  When you do this, you are able to see not only how your job integrates with the business, but also what needs the business has. For example, you may be a receptionist working your way up.  You may think the receptionist position isn’t very important.  However, the receptionist is essential if you think about your role with an owner’s mindset.  The receptionist is generally the very first interaction anyone on the outside has with the business. The way you interact with a client, or customer, will set the tone for how they feel about the business. Changing your mindset will give you perspective on the importance of your job!
  • Look For Problems/Issues – Thinking like an owner means looking for problems or issues.  This doesn’t mean creating problems or issues simply to find them.  It means, as you go about your day, and run into an issue – you take note. And then you find ways to solve these problems. Think about problems and issues as opportunities to fix them. This will help you stand out amongst your peers because you will be seen as someone who initiates change. For example, let’s say you are in charge of incoming invoices.  You’ve noticed the incoming invoices are delayed because there is a hold-up in the processing department. Now, the processing department isn’t part of your job description.  You could decide to not do anything because it isn’t your job.  OR, you could harness an owner’s mentality and figure out how the problem could be solved.  You can bring the issue and solution options to your direct superior or solve the problem yourself. This is how you will accelerate your career, but being a fixer! 
  • Ask Smart Questions – When you have an owner’s mindset, you are able to ask smart questions.  What this means is looking at your job and the processes and asking yourself why it is being done the way it is being done.  It also means thinking about how it could possibly be done better or more efficiently. This is important because you are always thinking about the business as a whole and being aware of how you can make a positive change. 

Developing an owner’s mindset will help you stand out amongst your peers and accelerate your career.


2. Becoming A Life-Long Learner 

Becoming a life-long learner means always being open to new ideas, growth, and a different way of doing something.  This is so important for career success because if you aren’t willing to continuously learn, you will get left behind. There will always be a new technology to embrace, or a new way of doing something to try. The mark of a great manager is someone who may not understand this new idea, but is willing to learn it for the betterment of the company.

There are a few ways you can practice being a life-long learner:

  • Keep An Open Mind – To become a life-long learner, you will need to keep an open mind. Keeping an open mind is important for career success because as you move up in your career, you will be presented with different ways of doing things from many people. If you are a life-long learner, you will be able to embrace change that benefit the company.  For example, let’s say your team pitches you a new process for what they do.  If you aren’t open to this new way of work, you may miss out on not only improving productivity, but also promoting a positive company culture. Your team may feel they can’t come to you with any ideas. This is why keeping an open mind is critical to your success, and your company’s as well.
  • Set Aside Time To Learn – Setting aside time to learn means creating space to allow yourself to learn.  This can be keeping up to date with industry news, taking a course, or learning a new tech. You need to set aside time to do it, thus creating a healthy habit.  For example, virtual meetings have become the norm, and if you are in the habit of learning, you may decide to take a course to help you maintain your executive presence while on video calls. This will not only help you be seen as a leader on your next call, but you will also continue the habit of being a life-long learner!
  • Create A Plan – In order to become a life-long learner, you will need to create a plan for learning.  This means deciding what you want to learn and focusing on it.  This is important because when you have a plan, you are more likely to stick to it.  Having a plan also gives you the opportunity to track where you’ve been and where you want to go. For example, if you want to learn how to code.  You may write down your ultimate goal: code a website.  Then you can go back and write down all of the steps necessary to get there.  Most likely, these steps will include taking courses and practicing. A plan helps you focus on your learning.

💡We recommend the e-course “Developing A Learning Mindset” to help you get into the habit of learning every day. 

Getting into the habit of learning can greatly accelerate your career, especially as you move up the ladder.


3. Focusing On Making An Impact 

This means thinking about what you are doing and how it will impact the collective.  In other words, instead of simply doing your job without giving it a second thought, think about each and every task you do.  Focus on the impact each task can or does make for the company, your clients, and your career.  This is an important habit to get into because it makes you think about every opportunity’s impact.  As opportunities come your way, you will be able to decipher which ones will have the most impact on your career, or whatever your next goal may be. 

There are several ways to focus on maximizing your impact:

  • Communication – Your ability to clearly and effectively communicate directly affects your ability to make an impact.  The reason for this is, your impact and intention can get lost if they aren’t communicated well.  Communication is imperative to career success. 
  • Make The Effort – If you want to make a positive impact at work and on the business as a whole, you have to make the effort.  This means showing up, doing your best, having a good attitude, and creating your own opportunities. The reason effort is so important is because it’s related to your reputation. Your reputation follows you.  If you have the reputation of someone who is always giving it their all, you will make the impact you are hoping to make.  However, if you do the bare minimum with a terrible attitude, you will make an impact, but it won’t be the one you are hoping to make.5 skills to accelerate your career
  • Speak Up – If you want to make an impact, you will need to be comfortable speaking up at work. Speaking up is important because it means you are engaged and interested in the company as a whole.  For example, if you want to make a positive impact at work, you will find solutions when you see a problem.  If you don’t speak up when you see a problem, you may end up getting into trouble when your superior finds out you’ve known about this problem the whole time. Speaking up helps build your credibility and can make a positive impact. 

💡We recommend the e-course “Communicating With Impact And Influence” to help you focus on making an impact with your communications.

Focusing on making a positive impact at work will help accelerate your career and build your reputation.


4. Being An Opportunity Digger 

Opportunities are out there, you just have to be willing to find them.  This means you have to be willing to put in a little extra effort, time, and work. This can also mean creating your own opportunities.  Finding and creating opportunities for yourself is critical to career success.  This is because, oftentimes, opportunities aren’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter.  

There are several ways you can be an opportunity digger:

  • Create Your Own Opportunity – Creating your own opportunities is important because you may not always be given an opportunity.  For example, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared how when she was a news reporter, she really wanted to switch gears and do a business show.  This wasn’t something being offered to her, so she decided to create this opportunity for herself.  Eventually, she did get the show – but it was due to her ability to create an opportunity for herself and put in the extra hours. 
  • Put In Extra Work – Being an opportunity digger means you will have to put in extra work.  The extra work can be taking on a new project to create more visibility.  Extra work can also be taking classes to improve a technical skill in order to get a better position. The key is to make sure the extra work is helping you move forward in your career.  This means focusing on taking work that’ll move you forward.  5 skills to accelerate your career
  • Always Be Looking For Opportunities – If you focus on looking for opportunities, you will be more likely to see them as they come.  This is important because if you are always looking, you will be ready to take advantage of the next opportunity. For example, if you are trying to be seen as a leader at work, you will want to look for opportunities to showcase your leadership skills.  If you know a special project is coming up, you can offer to be the point person on the project, rather than waiting for your boss to announce it and ask for volunteers. 

Being proactive and looking for the opportunities is one way to be an opportunity digger.

💡We recommend the e-course “Creating Career Opportunities” to help you understand how to create those opportunities for yourself.

If you focus on creating opportunities you will be more likely to find them and get them!


5. Becoming A Fixer 

This means seeing a problem and either fixing the problem or presenting the problem to your superior with solutions. This is important if you want to grow within your career because if you have a reputation as someone who can see issues and then fix them, you will be seen as invaluable to your team. This is because every leader wants to have people on their team who can find solutions.  If you simply talk about problems but offer no solutions, you will be seen as more of a complainer.  Being a complainer isn’t a reputation you want to follow you throughout your career.  

There are a few ways you can get into the habit of being a fixer:

  • Offer Solutions – When you get into the habit of being a fixer, you will look for solutions to problems.  This is important because offering solutions shows you have critical thinking skills.  It also shows you can take the initiative to problem-solve.  These are traits employers are looking for. When you offer solutions, you will build your credibility and reputation.
  • Mindset – Instead of problems becoming frustrations, look at them as opportunities for you to become a fixer. When you change your mindset and see issues differently, you won’t be afraid to creatively come up with solutions when problems do come along. This is important because problems will happen.  You will be faced with challenges at work.  When your mindset sees problems as opportunities, they won’t feel impossible to solve. Being able to come up with solutions will help you become an invaluable team member. 
  • Try It – This means not being afraid to try out your solutions and seeing what happens. This is important because employers and hiring managers want people who take initiative. For example, let’s say you are in the middle of a project and you’ve discovered a roadblock. You could note the roadblock and give your superior a few ideas on how to fix it.  Or, you could note the roadblock and try a few solutions yourself. You can then report the problem and show how you’ve taken the initiative to try a few solutions.  This extra step will go a long way in helping you build credibility and ultimately career success. 

💡We recommend the e-course “Critical Thinking And Problem Solving” to help you learn critical thinking skills to see problems and find their solutions. 

Being able to fix problems or even see a problem developing and fixing it before it becomes a bigger issue, is a huge asset to have.

It is possible to be invaluable at work.  By focusing on soft skills, you’re putting yourself in a position to stand out amongst your peers. 

If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Maya’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.


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