Do Over shines a light on the four core skills you need to build an amazing career: relationships, skills, character and hustle, and shows you how to develop each one of them and use them in different stages of your career.
Today’s a big day. It’s the day Jon Acuff’s book trilogy is completed on Four Minute Books! After Quitter and Start, Do Over now completes this set in the four minute hall of fame.
Quitter was about quitting your job. Start was about starting your own. Do Over is what happens before, after, and sometimes in-between those two. It shows you how to intentionally build your career by focusing on developing four skills, each of which is particularly helpful in a certain stage of your career.
Here are 2 of them, plus another valuable lesson from Jon’s book:
- Look at what’s in your Career Savings Account™.
- Break through any career ceiling with new skills.
- Take a career jump by investing in your own character.
Ready to call do over? Let’s do it over then!
Lesson 1: Take stock of your Career Savings Account™.
Jon says just like a filled bank account helps you through a financial slump, a filled Career Savings Account™ helps you through a career slump.
And it happens quite often. According to the 2014 Gallup poll around 70% of Americans are either not engaged (=enthusiastic) in their jobs or downright hate them. But changing your career and rebuilding it requires courage.
The way you build that courage is by making sure you have the abilities to handle whatever comes next. Jon suggests the following formula to calculate what’s in your CSA so far:
Relationships + Skills + Character x Hustle = Career Savings Account™
Knowing you have a good network, solid technical skills, and a strong character, plus being prepared to do what it takes are the foundation of a strong CSA. Jon even created a quiz to help you take stock.
Lesson 2: Learn new skills to break through career ceilings.
Sometimes everything seems to be going fine, even though it feels like it doesn’t. When you can’t really put your finger on what’s wrong, because technically, everything is well at your job, that’s often a sign you’ve hit a career ceiling.
You’re paid well, you routinely handle all your tasks and are in good standing with all your colleagues. However, even though you’re doing great, you just can’t get to the next level. No promotion, no head hunters contacting you, and no promising side projects on the horizon.
In that case, your Do Over requires an objective assessment of your skills. What are you good at? What are you missing? Which skills do you need to take your career to the next step?
Dig deep, Jon says a lot of our skills are often invisible, hiding beneath the surface. For example, if you’re the one organizing the annual company Christmas party every year, that’s probably a good sign you’re very organized in general. But once you see that, you’ll probably also notice that another skill you don’t have would go quite well with it.
For example, if you’re good at organizing, how about actively creating and marketing events too, so you have something to organize and an event to pull off? By going out and acquiring exactly those skills that complement the ones you already have you round out your skill set, which is just what you need to smash through that career ceiling and rise up!
Lesson 3: Invest in your own character to get ready to take a career jump.
But maybe you don’t want to break through a career ceiling. Maybe you want to leave that building altogether, take a career jump, and start your own thing.
In that case, the most crucial aspect you need to develop first is your character. Once you take the leap a lot of responsibility will rest on your shoulders and you’ll have to be a leader, first leading yourself and eventual co-workers later on. The strongest business is built on the strongest you.
The three most important character traits Jon’s observed in his 16-year stint through corporate America are generosity, empathy and presence.
Generosity is simple: give more than you receive. I remember the very first day at my internship my advisor won tickets to see Pompeii in the cinema, and he invited me and another intern to join him. I’ll never forget that. For him it was probably a small gesture, but for me it was huge to be treated like a friend when it was just my first day as an intern there.
Empathy can be trained by asking yourself one simple question, over and over again, when you talk to others: “How would I feel if I was in his/her shoes?”. That’s all you need. Just mentally stepping into someone else’s perspective will help you understand them so much better and judge them a lot less.
Presence is about being in the moment and paying attention. So the next time a friend tells you a story, put down your phone, look at her and really listen to her problems.
Invest in your character whenever you get a chance. All it takes is time, and you can never know when the next career jump opportunity presents itself, at which you’ll be glad you did.
My personal take-aways
Simple, funny, straightforward advice. Jon is really cool. He tries to bring out the best in others, without sounding preachy or like he knows it all. The phrases and formulas he coins make his work more memorable, and it’s easy to recall the concepts later on.
If you’re just not feeling it at whatever work you’re doing right now, this is a great book to pick up and learn from!