I often believe the ‘early career’ people in our office think I’m completely insane. I walk around talking about “goodness vs greatness”, “attitude. effort. actions”, or my favorite phrase of all – “don’t be in the story of what should have been, be in the deep acceptance of how it is as you become what you do.” But here’s the real completely insane part…I believe everything I say! Not only do I believe it, but I work hard to live by the principles of them every day. Being intentional about being better today than I was yesterday. Personal and professional development, a skill that must be practiced daily, must be constantly developed or you’re almost certainly destined to lose in the arena that you’ve chosen in life.

It’s the intersection of preparation and knowledge that defines “skill”. When skill is achieved and you can execute the fundamentals of your craft, it’s then and only then, that you’ve earned the right to…well, keep learning! This is not only necessary in every profession, but also at any stage of one’s career. A surgeon must have it – he/she must not only be able to perform delicate surgery, but they must do it with laser precision so the patient is not lost. An attorney must not only have the skill of the law, but they also must be able to react quickly in situations that occur in courtrooms so they don’t lose a case. In our business, the business of technology transformation, the ability to be prepared and knowledgeable is the difference-maker in staying relevant in the eyes of our customers vs a competitor taking that customer.

Beyond the skills development of our trade, our mental skills need to be developed too. I recently read an article on developing the skill of one’s mindset. While I’m not able to recall the article verbatim, it’s narrative resonated with me more than anything I’ve recently read. The overall message was our ability to develop a growth mindset and that mindset’s requirements for winning. Regardless of if a lesson is formal, informal, social, shallow or deep, a growth mindset places a high value on learning. This mindset is also open to feedback and is confident in it’s ability to cultivate new skills over time. Ultimately mindset skill development will distinguish the winners from the survivors.

Here’s the net of all this – if you choose to be the best and most authentic version of yourself, you must be committed to being a lifelong learner. After all, it’s what you learn after you know everything that ultimately counts.