“Left untended, knowledge and skill, like all assets, depreciate in value surprisingly quickly.”

“Left untended, knowledge and skill, like all assets, depreciate in value surprisingly quickly.”

—David Maister, former Harvard Business School professor

Image from Unsplash by Fredy Jacob

Where are your skills and knowledge not keeping up with the times?

Where have you dropped your intellectual anchor, letting the whole world know you have stopped at what seems like a safe spot to rest and sit things out?

I was recently asked to help a friend with her printer, to make copies of her resume to secure a new job. Although she had brand new cartridges installed, her computer couldn’t communicate with her printer due to an old, unsupported operating system.


Where are you falling a bit behind in the skills and knowledge needed to be successful professionally or personally? What investments can and will you make that will appreciate in value in the years ahead?


“The word ‘listen’ has the same letters as the word ‘silent.’”

“The word ‘listen’ has the same letters as the word ‘silent.’”

—Alfred Brendel, Austrian pianist, poet and author

Image from Unsplash by Jodie P.

How high would you rate yourself in the category of listening?

How close do you come to the two-to-one ratio implied by the fact that you have two ears and only one mouth?

What makes this skill so very difficult?

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we almost always listening to our own inner thoughts and opinions instead of granting others the respect and honor of our silence and full attention.


With whom in your personal or professional communities would it make the biggest difference if you silenced your inner voice and listened far more deeply?

Friday Review of Skills


We don’t all have the same skills. What are yours? Here are a few skill-related posts you may have missed. Click the link to read the full message.


“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”




“Life is a lot like Jazz… it’s best when you improvise.”





“Today will be what you make of it.”





Friday Review Skill


We don’t all have the same skills. What are yours? Here are a few skill-related posts you may have missed. Click the link to read the full message.


“One of my greatest talents is recognizing talent in others and giving them the forum to shine.”




“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”




“Figure out what it is in life you don’t do well, and then don’t do it.”




Our antagonist is our helper

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.”

Edmund Burke, 18th Century Irish Statesman

Image of wrestling competition

Image from Flickr by Christopher Paquette

My dad was a physical education teacher and coach for multiple sports, one of which was wrestling. Young men of equal weight would compete in one of the most challenging and physically exhausting sports I’ve ever experienced.

In a matter of minutes, while engaged with your adversary, you would likely find yourself gasping for air and having already worked up quite a sweat.

Not surprisingly, wrestlers are some of the most fit athletes because of the struggles they face in competing at a high level.


Who are the antagonists/adversaries that strengthen your nerve and build your personal or professional skills? How can you appreciate and perhaps seek even greater challenges to further your personal excellence journey?

We never do anything well

“We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.”

—William Hazlitt, 19th Century British Social Commentator

Meme of today's quoteHow many activities in the following list have you engaged in over the past year?

  • Giving a speech or major presentation
  • Writing a book or significant article for publication
  • Interviewing for a new job or promotion
  • Playing golf, poker, or a game of chess
  • Building a piece of furniture or other handy-person activity

If at least one of these activities occurred this past year, how well did you do? How competent, skilled, or masterful were you? How much effort, struggle, or ease and flow did you experience?

Hazlitt’s quote points to the fact that when we are so focused on doing things correctly we often diminish our own ability to do things well because of our preoccupation with our potential to make mistakes.


How and on what activity might a more playful approach, without much thought about doing things perfectly, help you enjoy the process and perhaps do far better than you might have imagined?

Today will be what you make of it

“Today will be what you make of it.”

—Author Unknown

Image of "Mindsight" book

I recently learned about a new skill called “Mindsight,” based on the book of the same name by Doctor Daniel Siegel.

Siegel suggests this skill is a kind of focused attention. Mindsight allows us to see the internal workings of our own mind, including our mental processes, without being swept away by them through the autopilots of ignorance and habitual responses.

How often do you notice each day blending into the next? To what degree do you experience a bit of insanity and upset by not seeing better results, and feeling less engaged and alive?


How would a greater awareness of your inner thinking and outer efforts help you make more of each day?

temporary setbacks

“Temporary setbacks boost your skill to open locks with previously unknown combinations.”

—Laurent F. Carrel, Messages from Melanie

Image of a combination lock

Image from Flickr by Rob Pongsajapan

Think about the places and things you secure with a lock. In our youth, we locked our bicycles, and our personal items in a school locker. Today, most of us have far too many passwords to keep all of our important accounts and electronic devices secure.

What if we considered an unsolved problem or a setback we are facing as merely having a temporary lock placed on it?

What if our job is simply to increase our safe-cracking abilities to reveal the treasured solutions inside?


In addition to coaches, mentors, advisors, and answers on Google, what additional strategies or tools could you employ to boost your skills at opening locks with unknown combinations?

“Life is a lot like jazz…”

“Life is a lot like Jazz… it’s best when you improvise.”

-George Gershwin, American composer and pianist

Photo from Flickr by Renzo Ferrante

Photo from Flickr by Renzo Ferrante

As I drive to and from work each day, I listen to contemporary jazz on Sirius/XM radio. Over the years I have also attended numerous concerts by many of my favorite performers.

Quite often the songs and tunes with which I am familiar sound a bit different from those I hear on the radio. Perhaps the reason for the variations is the fact that “real jazz” played in “real life” must be an act of improvisation. Many famous performers utilize local musical talent, who need to adapt to the other’s style with little rehearsal, unlike the weeks and months it can take in the studio to record and get it right.


Where would your professional or personal life benefit most by being more flexible, and improvising with those around you to play beautiful music together?

“Figure out what it is…”

“Figure out what it is in life you don’t do well, and then don’t do it.”

—Doug Copeland, former president and publisher of the Triad Business Journal

QC #820

As I observe individuals and organizations pursuing success in our increasingly dynamic world, I see a great deal of frustration and stress.

Our collective drive, intelligence, and creativity has never been greater, yet it still feels as if something is missing.

Our efforts to have it all, do it all, and be it all seem possible when we look to the media.  In the real world, this formula for the perfect balance is elusive, if not improbable.

Navigating today’s world requires more filters and focus, to design our own imbalanced yet more workable, satisfying, and fulfilling lives.


Take a personal inventory of all the things you don’t like doing or that you don’t do well. Stop doing them as soon as possible. This should make more room in your world to focus on your strengths, so you can do the thing you are good at and love to do.

Consider reading Marcus Buckingham’s “The One Thing You Need to Know” for more insights into great leading, great managing, and sustained individual success.