No matter who you are or what you do, there comes a time when you’ll find something you are passionate about, have a move you’ll want to make, or get your eureka moment when the timing is right to make something happen.  Every person is unique; and everyone has their own gifts and talents to share with the world.  So until your time comes, what do you do?

There’s a beauty in preparing for a rainy day or your window of opportunity.  You never know exactly what will come your way or when, but you’re  certainly in a better position to tackle anything if you start preparing today versus tomorrow.

As the proficiency and aptitude in a particular area, skills can be leveraged to propel you forward and to combat obstacles.  Some may be innate, but others are acquired through practice and in conjunction with additional knowledge and experience.  They enhance your performance, expertise and also your adaptability and mobility.  No matter where your destination will be, here are some skills that will facilitate your journey.

Finance & Accounting Skills.  We live in a numbers-driven world.  So everyone needs to understand numbers and how they work.  For example, if you’re a business owner and you want to increase your bottom-line, you should understand that you have the options of boosting your top-line or decreasing your expenses. You don’t have to be the one-man accounting department; but you need to understand numbers well enough to know what is happening with your business and about its performance.  Numbers not only lead to fancy spreadsheets but they display relationships that are explained by words; therefore it is important to understand how numbers drive other relationships.  Even when you have qualitative decisions to make, there may be implications that translate to numbers so be able to cut through the surface and understand the analytics and ratios and know what they’re telling you.

Money Management Skills. This goes beyond business and is personal.  Cash flow is glamorous, but it can disappear by nightfall if it isn’t handled appropriately.  How are you allocating the income you’re generating?  Are you living above what you can truthfully afford?  You may be saving, but are you saving enough?  Being consistent with tracking actual expenses, creating realistic budgets based on this and holding yourself accountable for staying within your means are  not learned overnight and take a lot of discipline.  In addition to managing your current financial situation, knowing ways to make your money grow and increasing your net worth are other challenges.  Once you understand the concepts, however, the application process can be mirrored whether it is from your personal life to business or vice versa.

Marketing Skills. If you’re in business, you’ll quickly learn that a good marketing plan can make or break your business.  Another secret that many don’t realize is that even for business, much of the impact comes down to personal branding and relationships.  At the end of the day, people do business with those they know, like an trust.  As an extension of this, a personal brand is essential in business, but it doesn’t end with business.  Know yourself, your strengths and what you do best.  Be able to market yourself when you need to.  Be consistent in your message and commit to your brand.   Learn how to tell a story and a great compelling one at that.

Communication Skills.  Some days you my have to write, others you may have to speak, and others you may have to present.  Be ready for each of these.  If preparation entails doing impromptu speaking to get better, joining organizations where you can practice, writing for yourself, or learning how to use PowerPoint, get started as soon as you can.  Communication is very important anywhere from our everyday interactions to the boardroom.  There may even be a time when all you have is 30 seconds for your elevator pitch.   Be ready.

Social/Networking Skills.  None of us can survive in a bubble – not in this world.  Knowing people, being able to interact and relate, sharing stories, networking, and knowing how to treat people well are all very important.  If you are in a client-serving role, it is important to be attentive, responsive  and understanding to your clients.  Being able to show that you are working with them and not just telling them what to do is also a key way to differentiate yourself.  As basic as it may seem, the Golden Rule always applies.

Do you struggle with any of these skills?  Do you excel at any of these?  What other skills have been vital to you in life and business?

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