Successful confident businessmen standing in line. Progress in career.jpegContinuous learning keeps us sharp and relevant. If we fail to continue learning, we won’t tap into our full potential. Consistent dedication to learning will help you develop skills and propel your career forward. Here are five key business skills that I believe deliver the biggest payoff.

1. Leverage time.

Have you ever gotten to the end of the day only to find out that you haven’t accomplished anything on your to-do list?  You probably worked hard all day and maybe even skipped lunch. This likely happened because you did the little things you felt were important instead of the big things that really mattered. Your email is an example of a little thing that draws your focus away from more important work. Instead of nipping away at your inbox or small fires that pop up through the day, schedule specific times to check and take action. Give 100% of your attention to whatever you are currently working on. In other words, leverage your time. Do this, and you’ll find yourself performing at a higher level.

2. Take the initiative.

If you’re like most, your desire is to get the job done and get it done right and on time. There are times, however, when lack of motivation keeps us from tending to an unpleasant task. That’s where initiative comes in. Be a risk-taker and step out of your comfort zone. As you take risks and explore new horizons, taking the initiative will become second nature.

3. Say no.

A study conducted at The University of California tells us that those who find it difficult to say “no” are more likely to suffer from stress, burnout and depression. For this reason alone, don’t be afraid to say “no” commitments that you are not uniquely qualified to handle. You’ll have success in fulfilling upon important commitments when you say no to new ones that fall outside of your unique abilities. Learn to say no and free yourself from unnecessary constraints and you’ll have more time and energy for things that really matter.

4. Be emotionally intelligent.

Emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to recognize individual emotions and act with integrity using five key skills: personal awareness, integrity, empathy, internal motivation and social skills. Your willingness to persevere through difficult-to-manage situations and raise your level of emotional intelligence will directly impact your ability make critical decisions. When you’re emotionally intelligent, you’ll have more success in navigating social complexities and making decisions that result in positive outcomes. Various research studies show that emotional intelligence is a key factor in star performers.

5. Choose success.

Success does not happen by accident. It is a process that occurs as you choose how to deal with events and circumstances placed in front of you. Each moment of your life provides an opportunity to make critical decisions and work toward victory. Everyday you should expand your vision, stretch out to accomplish your goals, and assume full responsibility for living, growing and contributing. When you do this, you are choosing success. Anything else is just survival, which is the opposite of success.

Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 80 or 20. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Embrace these five skills, engage in continuous learning and keep your mind young!

Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.