Read a New Years’ resolution list from a top leader, someone I greatly respect who gives honest, good advice; one of the suggestions is to ‘learn a new skill’. This leader does not get (probably never heard of) the Skills Culture growth mindset, which means being conscientious and ‘in the moment’ as you practice skills properly.

The ethos is: ‘Every Experience is an Opportunity to Apply Skills’. So, this is pervasive in everything you do; you practice skills every day, every experience. I thought of a New Years’ resolution more in line with Skills Culture.

Master 1 skill (this year). It takes anywhere from one to ten years to master a skill; a de facto measurement is 10,000 hours (working on Skill Points ®, a better measurement). If you started to master a technical skill, try to commit a work week (30 hours) on developing the skill.

Try 10 new skills (this year). Best way to understand how you enjoy and / or excel applying skills is to sample them. At every opportunity, spend at least 20 hours deliberately applying and practicing a skill. Use YouTube, online courses, and books to acquire them.

Learn 5 new technical skills (this year). Choose to learn skills, which might be valuable to you in the future whether or not they are required now. For example, if you code websites, you might also learn graphic design or sales. Be an agile worker, willing to learn skills on an ‘ad hoc’ basis. (Think this is what the leader was suggesting, but why try just one skill?)

Practice 5 skills properly (daily). In every experience (working, learning, or playing), you are applying thinking and soft skills. These foundation skills effect how you apply technical skills. They also effect how you interact in life, what makes us human. (Need skills to interpret and create art, communicate, and be rational.)

Re- skill and up-skill your current skills (this year). Average shelf-life of more than 50 percent of skills is less than 5 years. You must keep working on the skills you need for your education and career track to remain relevant.

Manage and track the development of skills. You should: get an intimate knowledge of the skills you are working on; know your expertise; and plan on taking necessary next steps. I created Skills Label as a system to manage and track the development of skills. The goal is to make you aware how you are applying skills on a granular level (tasks, experience, or projects) and choose your learning when possible.

For 2020 and onwards, consider adopting a Skills Culture for your learning and personal growth.