4 Skills for Success in School, Work, & Life

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Stuart Miles/http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Stuart Miles/http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

If you practice these four skills on a regular basis, I guarantee you success in school, work, and life. Let me explain why.

Two colleagues and I from BrightBytes were seated around two outdoor café tables in downtown San Francisco. We had our laptops open for a late afternoon work session.

Partway through our session, a man sat at a nearby table. As he was getting up to leave, he asked us what we were working on. Rob shared that we were discussing a work-related project and he told him a little bit about our company.

In turn, our table neighbor explained that he was in town on business and that his own company was headquartered in Portland, Oregon. In his work, he advised companies just like ours.

When he said this, I could feel my muscles tense. Frankly, I expected a sales pitch and, like most people, I loathe sales pitches.

Instead, he asked a few questions about our company’s mission and goals, questions that demonstrated a genuine curiosity about our work. When we responded, he really listened to our answers. He then provided us with a very helpful resource that spoke directly to a project we were working on.

He could have tried to sell us on his services. He could have spent most of his time talking about himself and his company. Instead, he asked terrific questions, displayed genuine curiosity, and he shared a resource directly related to our work.

Human interactions can be powerful. There are important skills involved in asking thoughtful questions, in listening intently, and in sharing related knowledge.

Since this interaction, I’ve drawn on the resources he’s shared for a follow up project, and we’ve had terrific discussions about these resources. In addition, I continue to reflect on how powerful this brief interaction was for me.

Why? What’s the takeaway? I’d say there are four:

  1. Be curious
  2. Ask thoughtful questions
  3. Listen well
  4. Share related knowledge

His skills and behaviors made me want to write this shout-out. That’s pretty powerful. His name was Gavin White. His company is Genius Engine. Check him out!

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