Have you ever thought about what it would be like if all our relationships remained static?
Admittedly, it would be extremely comfortable. The “Honeymoon” phase would be eternal! We wouldn’t have to work to maintain them. We would not feel the need to make new friends. We would have a relatively fixed perspective of life.
The truth is that no relationship is static…and neither is it meant to be. A static relationship indicates a lack of personal growth in the parties involved. A dynamic relation provides us the opportunity to learn about compassion and empathy i.e. the two key factors needed in the art of relationship building and problem solving - two very important life skills!
Let’s take a look at some similarities between skill sets and relationships.
Static Skill Set
If we do not strive to gain new skills sets throughout our careers, we will be left behind. We will not be able to deal with new challenges and/or opportunities in the changing market place.
Imagine trying to parent a teenager in much the same way as you dealt with an infant. It just wouldn’t work! Infants need basic nurturing, but a teenager requires a balance of nurture, discipline, empowerment, encouragement, support and, yes, PATIENCE!
Outdated Skill Set
Some skills beat the test of time. In other words, they can be used throughout your life. Being able to write or read is a basic skill that will never go out of style. On the other hand, there are some skill sets that fade in importance with time due to advances in technology for example.
This is similar to how we outgrow some friendships. New circumstances or changes in personal preferences or goals makes us connect with new people that share those interests. This also causes us to naturally drift away from old friendships. The old friends remain a positive memory for us but are not at the core of our lives.
Diverse and Random Skill Set
Have you heard the phrase “Jack of all trades but master of none”? You could refer to this as being a “Generalist”. Although this versatility can be a good thing in certain situations, it can be perceived as and/or a direct result of a lack of focus in some scenarios. Not having your purpose or “Why” could cause you to waste your time and energy on the wrong things. At the end of the day, this will not give you any sense of accomplishment. It will even make you question if you are adding value to your organization.
Think about this in terms of our social lives. Do you have a large "network" or a small set of friends? In most cases, people feel more fulfilled after meeting with a few friends in a personal setting rather than schmoozing with a large group of random acquaintances. At the end of the day, the conversations in the large group tend to be superficial and meaningless. Harsh but true!
Specialized Skill Set
At some point in our career, we find a unique skill that we really enjoy. We tend to excel at it too! Although we have a portfolio of other relevant and useful skills, we are drawn to work that utilizes this specialized skill. We go out of our way to develop and apply this skill to achieve positive results for our organizations while expanding our knowledge base.
This is the same as that close friend that each of us have and treasure. Although we have plenty of acquaintances, the close friend truly enriches our lives. We learn to be less selfish and realize the importance of being a reliable friend. It is a mutually beneficial situation in that it makes both people in the relationship a better person.
Skills sets are like relationships. Not tending to our skill sets can cause us to lose what may be importance to us. Not being in the moment and recognizing current market needs is as good as conceding our best friend to someone who is more observant and caring. Not defining our “why” will make us follow a long windy road of wrong jobs before we land on "the one" we truly care about.
So be aware, be there and nurture your skill sets in much the same way as you would your most important relationships!
(Originally published on LinkedIn By Aruna Krishnan - here)