Even though you possess talent or technical ability, having and honing is not enough. Here are six critical, transactional success skills to stimulate your most meaningful and fulfilling career.
1. Exploring: Most of us remain a prisoner of our obligations instead of listening to our instincts. A necessary step to make any kind of change, whether it is up or around, is not only fulfilling the basic assigned tasks, but looking for areas or projects that peak your interest and structuring them to get done in a more satisfying way. Instead of trying to get better at things that you don't like or your gut tells you aren't worthwhile, delegate someone else to those tasks so that you can focus on the parts that interest and will benefit you.
2. Risking: All risk involves moving ahead in spite of your fears -- fear of rejection, fear of looking like a fool, and fear of being found out to be a fraud. All success is learning to cope with (and maybe pruning) fear, never actually beating it. Acknowledge your fear, but then make a bargain with yourself to start the next step anyway -- whether it is taking the next step to develop your skills, increasing your responsibility, or asking for a raise or promotion. Look at your past to see where having taken risks helped you; look at the examples of people you admire for risks that they have taken to advance themselves. Notice what's stopping you and take a step toward that -- today.
3. Connecting: At work, just like at parties, it is easier to be the guest rather than the host. Just showing up is not enough. Being passive -- letting the responsibility to direct and engage fall on someone else -- will only keep you from advancing. Today at work, imagine that your nametag reads "host" and think about new behaviors to try out. Starting from how you walk into the office to stepping up your behavior during meetings, take more control over your own ideas and responses to see what you can make happen.
4. Presenting: Instead of waiting for an invitation to tell about your talents and accomplishments, promote them yourself. Start simple. When introducing yourself, say your name loudly and clearly enough to be heard and remembered. When someone asks how you are doing, don't just answer with "fine." Make a point of briefly answering with what you're working on, something you've researched, or something you are keenly interested in. It's up to you to share your accomplishments and areas of expertise in an engaging manner (and without bragging) so that your liveliness and thoughts don't get overlooked.
5. Pole Vaulting: Look around for people who have arrived where you would like to go, and begin a relationship that could help catapult you into that next arena of ideas and contacts -- an arena that you otherwise would not have access to. Don't see it negatively as "using" someone, but rather as the positive career skill of "using people well" -- all successful people have learned to do it and expect that you will too.
6. Shining: Be a star player. Share your knowledge with up-and-comers by becoming a mentor. You'll learn more when you teach and develop a group of admirers. There's a surprise benefit to you in altruistically helping other to succeed. And by highlighting the achievements of others, you are placing yourself in the same limelight.
Doing your work yourself is the bare minimum. You need to be able to work with others, and that's why these transactional skills are critical in addition to developing your talent. These skills will ignite your ambition and guide you to achieve more, whether your goal is to play a more important role within your field or organization, or to start your own business. You can't do it alone.
Make Your Success Happen!