Over the past few months, I’ve started to think about my own pathfinding journey after college. So much so, I wrote an in-depth analysis we are sharing in our next newsletter about what my life was like a year after college, versus where I am today.
Along that journey, one of the skills that I’ve had to learn fast and early is self-awareness and emotional intelligence. While you could say those are critical skills at any stage of life, I’m a firm believer those and the others listed below are very important to develop early on in order to succeed in life to stand out on your own terms.
Pathfinding Survival Skills From me and my Community
Let’s break down the two skills I shared, and then I’ll break down the other people in our Pathfinding Community shared were their ‘best skills to have’ as a young professional.
- Self Awareness & Emotional Intelligence [Bryan]: One of the hardest skill-sets to develop is emotional intelligence because it takes paying close attention to both yourself and other people, their reactions in conversations, body language, gestures, and ultimately understanding their ambitions. Personally, for myself, up until I graduated, I lacked a lot of this “sense.” So many people around me told me I came across as “too much” because I never took the time to understand them, ask them questions first, and then respond accordingly. Understanding how you’re perceived and how your communication style will affect others is necessary to understand.
- Art of Negotiation and Creating Win-Win Outcomes [Irina Crigan]: “Early in your career, when you don’t have a lot of experience, understanding the motivations of others and what you want for yourself is equally important. Many go into what they want way too quickly without realizing the ambitions of the person “across the table.” Or, they don’t know what they want themselves and give in too easily. Negotiation is about two people walking away with mutual value.”
- Knowing what you Dislike [Juan Pablo Quintero]: “I think these are formative years to point yourself in correct directions and the best way to do so is by starting to know what doesn’t resonate with you. Knowing your true likes and what you’re truly good at, come later in life.”To build on that, for much of my life, I’ve been the believer that experience is understanding what you don’t like so you can spend your time on what you do like. That took the form of many internships and apprenticeships under people and opportunities I respected. Most people just jump into a prestigious brand to slap on their resume in a role they’re not interested in and don’t give the necessary forethought and take the right actions that align with their long term plans.
- Financial Literacy/Budgeting [Beth Panday & Paul Michael Baria]: “Truth is, financial skills are not taught much during school. Money can also be a sacred conversation at home. Dollars and cents is not a normalized conversation. And, it’s extremely hard to put a financial plan together on your own without expertise, and people around you who have been smart with money.”
- Time Management [Jasmine Ramos]: “During college, you have a ton of distractions with friends and passion projects. Then classes. After college, your schedule becomes your job first to provide for yourself, but no one teaches you how to separate work from play and boundaries become blurred. Understanding your priorities outside of work [e.g. Health, Personal Relationships, Experiential Learning, and other “buckets” that are important to you] can help you block off times in your schedule for these activities. Additionally, understanding the times of the day you best operate is also essential. Here’s an article I also wrote on organizing your life daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Identify Your Best Skills for Pathfinding Success
While these are no easy skills to conquer overnight, they’re skills to consider focusing on at a foundational level of your career to set yourself up for success personally and professionally in the long term. They’re skills that will help you at critical junctures and cruxes and carve pathways as you navigate the game of life.
The best part about these skills is that the more uncomfortable situations you put yourself in, the easier it is to learn overtime – growth happens in places of discomfort. Growth supervenes discomfort.