A recent post by productivity guru Darius Foroux explained that successful people don’t just excel in one area…they are a product of “skill stacking”. It’s a term I wasn’t familiar with, and yet, it makes perfect sense. And the more you look at your life in terms of skill stacking, the more you’ll see your contributions as valuable.
Skill stacking is about knowing a little bit in a variety of areas. For example, you might have a degree in history, take a painting course, volunteer as a coach for minor league hockey, and love to BBQ. While your history degree might allow you to find a job in the area of teaching, you might not feel like your knowledge of painting is worth much because you’re not at the level where you could sell your work. But those skills learned from painting—design, colour knowledge, patience, creativity–are all valuable skills that could be applied elsewhere.
Now add in your coaching abilities. Sure, you probably won’t be paid millions of dollars to coach a major hockey team, but you’ve certainly developed lots of skills to get you to your current coaching level. You understand management, team building, perseverance, personal development, kindness, and strategy. All of these are useful skills in many environments. And that BBQ passion? While it might not be quite as useful, it takes patience, learning how to problem solve, and might even involve learning how to light a fire from scratch.
So, how does skill stacking make a difference? When you are thinking about a career change, or career development, take a hard look at the skills you have, and “soft” skills that you might be able to use or develop even more. Think outside the box, consider everything you do in your life and see how it might apply to the job you want. Someone isn’t going to hire you to be a reporter for a major newspaper with a note on your resume about “having good handwriting”, but that skill can be broadened, made into something worthwhile. You might take that idea about the handwriting, and focus on the fact that it means you are conscientious, that you are detail oriented, and that you enjoy the art of words. Now, expand on that. Take a writing class, or work on your memory skills through study, and “earn” some of those soft skills until you’ve got a better stack.
You can read more about Foroux’s Skill Stacking in his article here. It’s fascinating!
What skills are you stacking right now?