“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
Hello, loyal readers! This dispatch comes directly from LOA’s European headquarters, currently based in north central London. As I write from a corner table at my local pub, the Autumn rain continues to fall steadily outside, and the resident pub dog is at my feet, begging for what’s left of my steak pie. It’s a very British setting, to be sure, and one in which a well-worn copy of Look Out Above! would not be out of place on the dusty bookshelf behind the bar.
The purpose of today’s blog post is two-fold: first, I’ll briefly tell you what you can expect from the LOA! team this Autumn in terms of content, and then I want to talk about skills. We’ve based LOA! around teaching certain essential soft skills, but I want to talk here about skills that we haven’t previously covered, at least not directly.
First, the administrative errata. Despite COVID’s persistence, the LOA! brain trust (such as it is) is anticipating a productive Autumn. We are confident that we can continue to provide great value to you, our readers (and Zoominar viewers!) as we continue along our mission: to help you make the most out of your first five; that is, the first five or so years of your professional life. To that end, we are going to continue our Zoominar series, which we hope you’ve been enjoying. We certainly have, and it’s been great getting questions from viewers and (hopefully) providing reasonably intelligent and useful answers. Our next Zoom session is on Friday, October 23rd at 12:15pm EST. Don’t forget to register if you’re interested in attending; the registration link will be available a week or so before the Zoominar date.
We’re also pleased (“chuffed,” as they say over here) to finally launch our YouTube channel this month, and to continue building it out over the Fall. On our channel you’ll be able to find Zoominars, LOA! One Minute Clinics (more on those in a second) and other content. We will of course send out a social media notification when our YouTube channel is officially live, so please be on the lookout for that and please subscribe!
That takes care of this week’s administrative stuff. Now, to return to the soft “skills” concept that we are constantly discussing and playing with. Skills such as writing, presenting, selling your ideas and the like.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “skill” as an ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practised it. Pardon the British spelling of “practiced,” but it is the Cambridge Dictionary after all (and I’m in London!). Seems like a pretty broad definition to me, which I like, because it allows me to introduce three new skills. Perhaps you haven’t thought of the following as “skills” before, but I believe that they are. And as such, they must be practiced and perfected.
How has your attitude been during the last few months? Mine has dipped more than I’d like to admit, but in talking to my friends, peers, and family, I believe I am the norm rather than the exception. If you’re reading this, then we are likely similar in age, and very likely at a similar point in our careers. So, from a peer, hear this: it’s completely understandable to have experienced a worsening attitude at times during this pandemic, but an attitude is something that you can work at. You can practice it. It is a skill. Practice your attitude by approaching your work with optimism, with energy, and with a desire to contribute, just as you would during the best of times. Every day. Your positive attitude will be appreciated, perhaps now more than ever.
The quarterback of a football team I support back home (I won’t name the team — I’m too embarrassed to publicly admit my fandom) was recently demoted to second-string. Tough news for sure, but this happens frequently in professional sports. So this player buckled down and showed up to work each day determined to work so hard that the coach would have no choice but to re-insert him into the starter’s role, right? Wrong. On the morning of the game, the player called in sick (eyeroll). The coach told him to just stay home; I would have done the same. He made himself unavailable, and his time with that team is now likely over.
Can your team depend on you? Are you going to show up every day and do everything you can to contribute to your team, and to your organization? If you’re a manager, are you going to show up every day and lead your team as best you can? Hopefully the answer is “yes” to all, of course. If not, change that. Make sure that your supervisor and your colleagues, and your reports if you have them, can depend on you, day in and day out.
I’ve named three skills, but there are many more. What are some that you’d like to master? And what are you doing to master them?
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned to our website and social media channels for much more in the coming weeks.
Here’s to happiness, success, and the mastery of new skills as “life starts over again” this fall!