Mind the Skills Gap – Bowie & Rickman Masters of Reinvention

This week we lost two highly skilled and talented geniuses, David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

With my mind and heart still reeling over the loss of these entertainment industry greats, I’m drawn to the answer of why they continued to be relevant after working decades in their careers.

They were masters of their crafts.

They never “settled;” they constantly reinvented themselves.

David Bowie

Alan Rickman

To thrive and not just survive, we can follow their leads and go after the skills needed to improve and reinvent our lives.

Working as an employment recruiter, I frequently read about “minding the skills gap.” Whether addressing soft skills or hard skills, most articles directed the burden of solutions toward senior executives, human resource professionals and community leaders.

The skills gap is an enormous issue that is deeply affecting America and needs to be addressed, however, in this blog I propose that individuals take responsibility for minding “their” skills gap.

Ask yourself:

What skills do I need to get one step closer to my dream? To get a promotion? To increase my production?  To have better relationships with family and coworkers?

What skills do I need to communicate more effectively? What leadership or management skills are missing? What behavioral skills are lacking?

Be open and willing to learn, not because someone told you to, because you are self-motivated and want to take yourself to the next level.

Here are five strategies for improvement that “reinventers” can use.

WHAT “ROLE” DO YOU SERVE?

You can’t know where you’re going, what skill(s) are missing or lacking, and how to improve if you don’t know where you are.

How to assess yourself honestly, accompanied by the willingness to be taught, is a valuable skill that lasts a lifetime.

There are tons of self-assessment tools in books, magazines and online, including Tony Robbins, “Wheel of Life.”

If literacy is an issue (you can’t answer the questions if you can’t read them) ask a trusted friend or family member to help you. Don’t let them answer for you – answer from your own heart and mind.

Take time to evaluate the function and responsibility you serve in all areas of your life.

Focus only on yourself. This isn’t the time to think globally (other people’s issues or America’s issues.)

  • Are you happy in the role(s) you’ve taken on?
  • Does that role lift you up or drain your energy?
  • Is that role bringing you success?
  • Where are you struggling?
  • Are technological advances overwhelming you?
  • Where are you not keeping up, or not working at your highest capacity, or as efficiently as you know you could if you had the right skills training?

Once you recognize and pinpoint frustration or the areas you could develop, take steps to improve and empower yourself. You can:

  • Train with a career coach.
  • Train with a spiritual coach.
  • Work with a financial advisor.
  • Hire a personal trainer.
  • Work with a literacy counselor.
  • Meet with your supervisor, manager, or owner of the company and ask about training. Come to the meeting with some suggestions and solutions for skills training, such as employee cross-training and mentoring.
  • Read books or listen to audio books on skills training related to your improvement topics.
  • See a therapist or psychologist – they can help sort out self-defeating thoughts and bring awareness to issues that are holding you back and you don’t even know it.
  • Use the Internet to research ways to acquire your desired skill training. Blend e-learning with face-to-face learning.
  • Ask for and thank the Divine for guidance.

CARRY YOUR “SCRIPT” & REHEARSE IT DAILY

Your “script” is your skill training goal with an action plan.

Write your goal(s) down by hand. Carry it with you. All the time. Everywhere.

Read your goal(s) every morning and every night preceded by the words “I am” or “I am willing to believe I am.”

Write an action plan on how you are going to achieve the skills training. If you don’t know how, ask a trusted friend, coach, or advisor. Ask the social media connections you’ve worked so hard to build relationships with if they or someone they know has advice.

To keep you motivated, remember to visualize (and write down) what you will achieve by getting skill training.

TAKE CLASSES ONLINE, LOCALLY, OUT OF TOWN & PUT THEM TO USE

If you work for an employer, pull out your company handbook and read the “Education” or “Continuing Education” policy that outlines what is supported. Your employer may reimburse your tuition as long the knowledge gained can be used within the company and you earn a passing grade or certificate of completion.

Whether your company has a reimbursement policy or not – go for the education or training. If the company tells you training isn’t in the budget – go for the education or training anyway. Seek skill training for yourself because YOU are worth the investment and reinvention.

Classes can be found online, so you can learn nights, days, or weekends and at times convenient for you. Udemy has tons of courses and it’s amazing what you can learn via YouTube.

If you are seeking a hard skill that needs hands on training, research your local resources and ask every one you know (including your social media contacts) where training can be found.

Training center located out of town? Can you take vacation time or weekends to get the skill training you desire?

Remember to use your newly learned skill(s) on a daily basis. Practice, practice, practice. Ask a trusted coworker or advisor to give you feedback on your performance and keep you learning.

COLLABORATE & COOPERATE

If your company offers employee cross-training and mentoring take them up on it! Be willing to learn from your coworkers and cooperate with the system in place. If you see a way to improve the current system, let management know or put your idea in the Suggestion Box and keep learning, keep learning, keep learning.

Work alone?

Put the word out to all your contacts and the local community that you are seeking training. Contact career coaches and trainers and let them know what you are trying to learn and if they know where you can get training.

Find or start a group of skill seekers (different from Job Seekers) on LinkedIn and/or Facebook.

Start Brown Bag Seminars with local resources and individuals who are willing to offer skills training.

SEEK MASTERS AND ASK FOR COACHING

Find “masters” in your desired field of study and ask them for advice on how to get the skills training you need. Ask if they would be willing to coach you.

Have a definition of “coach” in mind and share your thoughts. Be able to articulate why you are seeking skill training and what you think you can learn from a “master.”

Be open to feedback. A master may recommend someone else. They may see you as needing other skill training in addition to or previous to gaining the skill you’re seeking.

Say, “Let me think about that.” Process and assess their assessment. Don’t quit if their opinion doesn’t match yours. Either accept their evaluation and work with them or move on and keep seeking. Perhaps that person wasn’t the “right fit” for you.

Employers:  Invite masters (especially people who just recently mastered the advanced skills you would like your employees to learn) to come in and teach your staff. They are usually quite excited about what they’ve been taught and want to share. Reach out and go get it while the information is fresh in their minds.

I urge you to become a Master of Reinvention. Be mindful of your skills gap, fill it and stay relevant.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you Mr. Bowie and Mr. Rickman, for everything. Always.

© 2013 – 2016 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

The author of this blog does not presume to offer psychological therapy nor advocates the use of any technique for the treatment of any specific or traumatic psychological condition without the approval and guidance of a qualified psychotherapist. The writer’s intent is to convey personal experience in the hope it may be of help in others’ personal quests for mind, body and spirit improvement. If you use any of the information as a form of self-therapy, the author / writer assumes no responsibility or liability for your actions.

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