The #1 Career Skill Every Professional Needs

Happy professional woman sits at her desk at work

As a career coach, I get asked all the time what the number one skill or trait is that people need most to be insanely successful—you know, what it takes to become the next Oprah or Richard Branson.

I've spent years working with thousands of people who have been deeply dissatisfied and unhappy with their career success level.

When I've compared them to people I've worked with who've become extremely successful, along with people like Oprah and Richard Branson, I've noticed that these people possess one very specific skill/trait.

It's something they've developed within themselves. It's not something they were born with.

This is good news for you because anyone can adopt this skill and learn how to execute on it. When you get really good at it, you'll be able to catapult—to quantum leap—your success.

So, what is this big thing?

#1 Career Skill: "Dropping The Rocks"

Professional man on computer finds career success after developing a key skill


If you want to be successful in your career, you need to learn a skill called "dropping the rocks."

What do I mean by that? Well, there is a process you go through in your career called "Experience + Learn = Grow." It's something I teach to all our Work It DAILY members. Every time you have an experience in your career, you process it, look at it, and learn from it.

When most people who stay dissatisfied and unsuccessful in their careers have an experience, they typically process it, attach emotion to it, and put this emotion into what we call their "career narrative." This is the story that runs in your head.

People take these experiences and put them into their career narrative like rocks. The problem I have with this is that while you've experienced something, and you've learned something from it, you actually haven't grown.

So, here's this "rock"—that failure that you had—that you haven't processed. Then you have another thing happen to you, and you don't really process it either. And then another.

And you keep going, going, and going. What I've found is that people who aren't successful, who are deeply dissatisfied in their career, have a pile of these rocks.

Imagine walking around with a bucket of rocks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That's what you're doing in your head. You've got nothing but a bunch of rocks dragging your career down. It crushes your confidence and holds you back from achieving things.

If you had all that extra weight to carry around, how fast (and far!) could you really go in your career?

Why "Dropping The Rocks" Brings Career Success

Successful people, on the other hand, process these "rocks" and actually grow. The sign that you've grown, and have thrown the rock away, is when you no longer attach any heavy emotion to a career experience.

Really successful people who you look at and say, "Gee, they've caught every break. They're so lucky," have had just as many challenges in their career as you—probably more—because they've been so much more aggressive in their career than you have.

But what they've really done is develop this incredible skill to process things and drop the rocks.

They experience it, they learn from it, but most importantly, they grow from it. They look at everything that's happened to them in a positive light because if it didn't ruin their career and it didn't kill them, they can do something with it.

When you get really good at this, you will be amazed at how much lighter you will feel. And when you're lighter and free of all that negativity, all those rocks that are in your head holding you back, you'll think differently about what you can do.

You stay curious, you stay creative, you take risks, and you move forward. And that's the very definition of those people—the Oprahs and Richard Bransons—that you aspire to be.

So, if you want to know the one skill that you should be developing in yourself right now so that you can take your career to new heights, it's learning to "drop the rocks." Because if you can do that, you can do anything.

Need more help with your career?

Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.