Professional skill sets

We spent the past week in Tzfat  (Safed) – situated in the northern part of Israel and with a 900meter elevation, the weather is cool and dry and a welcome relief from the humidity and heat of Tel Aviv.

We met a couple at dinner one evening – the husband is a retired aerospace software engineer that had done cutting edge work in his career, including the embedded software for one of the first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).  He took early retirement 15 years ago and today is hustling real estate and odd jobs.   At age 62, he’s overweight, after a triple bypass, technology-obsolete and convinced he will never get back into the tech game.

For sure – this recession is helping us understand the importance of family and friends and the difference between needing something (really) and wanting something.  This is a natural inward-looking reaction. However, in order to really take something of value out of the recession you need to look outward and challenge a lot of your base assumptions – it doesn’t really matter if you are (or soon will be) a self-employed consultant or a salaried (or soon to be ) sales professional. I submit that there are several important takeways that most people miss:

1) Invest in knowledge – spend 1 hour a day in constant learning, if you’re a tech person then work on keeping your edge and learning some new tools and technologies. If you are a sales professional – remember that sales skills are like basketball – practice your shooting 1 hour/day and your stats will go up.

2) Remember that what counts in your business is free cash flow – adding value and having some cash left at the end of the transaction. It’s not definitely not about  leveraging credit cards, mortgages and derivatives.

3) Invest in your health – spend 4-5 hours a week in physical activity. There is no point reaching 60 with a heart condition and proficiency in a programming language that was obsolete in the 70s.

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