Serial entrepreneur and founder of Modern Market, Anthony Pigliacampo, emailed me an excerpt from a company-wide message he sent out in response to how his team was handling the coronavirus.
“While driving around to our locations this past week I was reminded of a book I read called Deep Survival. It’s a collection of amazing stories of humans who have overcome incredible odds to survive crazy ordeals. Think shipwrecks, plane crashes in the wilderness, etc.
A theme of the book is that preparation is NOT the predictor of who lives and who dies. The main correlation is adaptability. The people who come out the other side are constantly adapting their mental maps to the current reality. People who don’t make it are constantly attached to the way things were and refuse to quickly change their actions based on what is actually happening around them.”
Anthony is in the restaurant business, a sector we all know has been hit hard during this time. Having his team spread out over 50+ locations and six states hasn’t made his job any easier. But he has the right attitude.
You will seriously hamstring your impact not only in the coming months — but coming years — if you do not choose to adapt to the new reality we are all faced with.
Regardless if you are in the restaurant business or not, Anthony’s advice applies.
We are in the process of taking our first steps into the new world. The future is now. As a career coach with clients across three continents, below are the 5 skills I’d double-down on to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
1. Focus on being the most empathetic person in the room
We are all hurting right now. Those who take the time to put their own problems aside to think about how they can help other people solve their problems will win.
Being empathetic, however, isn’t only about understanding the needs of others today. It’s also about being able to anticipate their needs tomorrow.
Taking the time to critically observe your surroundings is key. No matter how strong your skillset, it is worthless if you don’t take the time to understand how your talents can be of benefit to others.
- Ask other people about their fears.
- Become a master at pinpointing the pain points of others.
- Dive deep regarding the challenges they are facing.
- Map out the possible problems they will face by taking one course of action over another.We all have the same job right now: to help people sleep a little better each night.Taking the time to clearly understand the fears, desires, and pain points of others are the first step in being able to do this job well.
The world will move fast again. How you treat people today will determine the opportunities you are presented with tomorrow.
Both individuals and organizations will choose to collaborate with those who not only listened to them in their time of need but also helped them to better ride out their storm.
This will never happen, though, if you don’t get out of your chair and learn how to walk comfortably in the shoes of others.
2. Become a master at building online relationships
If you scan over Linkedin, Facebook, and Youtube you will quickly see who has made the decision to lead.
They are running online events and bringing people together on group calls. They are running mastermind groups and turning their Youtube channels into live training sessions.
Take advantage of this. Get to know these people. Introduce yourself to a few of the other members whose work and words resonate with you.
The days of trying to find your tribe are over. It’s time to build one.
The ability to forge relationships online just became a seriously important skill.
Make a point to form one new relationship a week. Carve out an hour to send outreach messages to connect with people who are doing things you think are cool. Get them on the phone to see if the two of you mesh.
I’ve written in detail about how to connect with people you admire online in the past. The beauty of this, much like conversations in “real life,” is once you get down a formula that works, you can recycle it over and over again as you build new relationships.
- Tell people you admire their work.
- Help them solve a problem they are facing (clues are everywhere).
- Let them know how their efforts have improved your career.
- Make an offer to introduce them to someone who they benefit from getting to know.I’d be willing to bet the last time someone sent you a message saying they liked the way you think or how much they admire your work, you felt pretty good about yourself. As human beings, we aren’t all that different.
Many of us are going to have to piece together our incomes.
New companies will replace the ones that have fallen.
Having your finger on the pulse as to when and where these opportunities are coming from will help you to hit the ground running when our doors open up again.
The value of getting more comfortable reaching out to people you admire as we head into the new world is too big to ignore. The beauty of the internet is with a few well-crafted words we can begin to build relationships with people we admire today.
Just don’t make the mistake of only getting to know people who play in the same sandbox as you. The people who are presented with the most opportunities have the most diverse groups of friends.
3. Get your writing skills tight
Like I said above, the ability to build relationships with people online has suddenly become a seriously important skill. A big part of this will come down to how well you express yourself in your writing.
- Writing a strong cover letter will land you interviews.
- Writing a kind outreach message will get you in front of people you admire in a timely manner.
- Writing persuasive copy will land you clients and get people to your website or social media profiles so they can learn more about you.
- Writing will help you build a reputation at work as a clear communicator who respects people’s time.Just like sales, we all write. Learning how to do it well will help you stand out from a sea of competition.For me personally, the most effective way to improve your writing skills is by starting a blog. Prior to three years ago, I could barely write my own name.
Today I have three four-digit monthly income streams from my articles alone. Learning about the experiences of others and what their values and thought-process look like before speaking to them makes it so much easier to make connections with them. Plus, it’s a major help when it comes to building a personal brand.
If you are interested in starting a blog, here’s a cheat-sheet with 28 writing prompts that will help you generate ideas.
If you’re not, below are a handful of exercises and resources that will help you write more effectively today.
- Join the email list of people like Noah Kagan and Ramit Sethi and study their messages.
- Buy the classic writing books like “On Writing Well” and pick up a few books on how to write compelling copy like “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.”
- Go to Linkedin and reach out to people you admire. You’ll be limited to 300 characters which will help you explain who you are and why the person you are reaching out to should care.
- Sign-up for a course from someone like Niklas Göke. The guy knows his stuff.Despite our words playing a massive role in both making connections with other people and moving them to take action, most people take their writing skills for granted.
When it comes to both our careers and our lives, it pays not to be like most people.
4. Develop your persuasion skills
Competition is going to be fierce in the coming months. New businesses are already popping up. Others will regain their momentum over time.
Decision-makers in organizations will not be as patient as they were in the past or take a chance on someone who has “potential.”
They will have loads of candidates to choose from.
Your ability to not only connect with people but persuade them to bet on you will be more important than ever.
If you get an interview in the future, you will need to nail it. The 5-step process below will help to ensure you do just that.
- Write out the answers to the 20 most common interview questions in our industry.
- Put them in front of someone who will help you to improve them.
- Record yourself giving the answers.
- Put your videos in front of someone who will help you improve them.
- Fine-tune them by doing a role-play with someone who will give it to you straight.Two months ago I ran my client Kristina Howard through these exercises. Today she is the managing director of Tusk Ventures, a venture capital and political strategy firm.
If you want to maximize the opportunities you are presented with in the future, take these steps. Becoming a master at acing interviews is a highly underrated skill and is an easy way to practice being more persuasive. Plus, it doesn’t even take that long. We’re talking about 10 hours of work that can potentially make you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the span of your career.
In addition to getting your interview skills tight, below are a few more exercises and resources that are tremendously valuable.
- Study the videos of leaders like Conor Neill on the basics of persuasion.
- Spend an afternoon watching your favorite speakers. Pay attention to not only what they are saying, but why they are saying it. This article here has a long list of questions to consider while taking notes.
- Practice your storytelling ability and public speaking skills (loads of exercises here, and here),
- Study the marketers you follow who write the most engaging copy.
- Last, but not least: incorporate these 9 phrases into your everyday vocabularyI grew up with a severe speech impediment. These 9 phrases have played a key role in being able to start 4 profitable businesses across three continents over the last 12 years.
We are all salespeople. Some people are just better at it than others. If you want to thrive in the new world, just like in the old world, this has to change. Clear and persuasive communication will always be king.
5. Become a skillset mixologist
In an interview with Lewis Howes, relationship expert Matthew Hussey said that the people who keep us awake at night always have an “AND.”
Being ambitious can be attractive in the beginning, but if that’s all you are, it can turn into a massive weakness. Someone who is ambitious “AND” patient, however, is hard to get out of our heads.
When it comes to our careers, the same advice applies.
The fastest way to create an interesting profile is to take two or three of your strengths and tinker with ways to position them in a way that makes people stop and say to themselves — “That’s interesting.”
For me personally, I’m a career coach and a writer. This may not sound that interesting, but they overlap beautifully.
When one is down, the other is usually up. It also allows me to go into communication and marketing consulting roles with ease. Plus living in Spain, I can help people improve their English while learning valuable business skills.
In short, I can go into numerous circumstances and add immediate value to both individuals and companies.
Take a look at the people you admire most. They always have an “AND.” Steve Jobs was a tech visionary “AND” one helluva communicator. Oprah Winfrey is bold “AND” caring.
- What’s your primary skill?
- What’s your secondary skill?
- What garnishes can you sprinkle around them to make yourself look more appealing to the people around you?Someone with incredible coding skills who can also command a stage will always have opportunities.
50 percent of Americans already have a side-hustle. This number will explode in the coming years. The more ways you can package together your skills, the more recession-proof you will become.
The list of skills and exercises above may sound exhausting. But they’re really not.
Start by writing out your answers for the 20 most common interview and record yourself giving the answers. In that one practice, you will improve your writing, persuasion, and interview skills.
Practice reaching out to people you admire. You will practice your relationship building, writing, and persuasion skills.
Become a mixologist. Look for the exercises that allow you to improve sub-skills to make your primary offering look more enticing?
It may seem like there aren’t a lot of opportunities right now. What goes down, however, over time usually comes back up.
Take the steps to get these skills tight today so you aren’t stuck climbing out of a hole tomorrow.
Like Anthony alluded to in his message to his company in the introduction — the world belongs to the adaptable.
The best way to ensure you fall into this bucket is by getting real about what skills will be the more relevant and leaning into them.
This article originally appeared on Medium.