11 Core Competencies

In my journey of personal and professional development, I’ve often found myself caught between two contrasting philosophies.

On one side, Silicon Valley influencers, modern-era gurus, and Steve Jobs-like figures advocated for focusing solely on activities I enjoyed.

On the other, principles drawn from Daoism and Catholicism pushed me towards embracing tasks I disliked (and this extends way beyond work.. think about waking up early, taking cold showers, or fasting).

It might sound trivial, but this dichotomy has profoundly impacted me—more than you might imagine. Mostly because thoughts like these are energy drainers, and let’s face it, our energy isn’t limitless.

The resolution came to me during one of my meditation sessions. That’s when I decided to focus on what I term “Core Competencies.”

This concept is simple: engage in activities you are skilled at, or could excel in, regardless of your feelings towards them.

Consider public speaking. Am I proficient? Yes—at least that’s the feedback I receive. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. So, I pursue it.

What about writing? Am I good at it? Again, people say so. Do I like it? Not at all. Really. But that doesn’t matter—I go for it anyway.

Advising clients? They say I’m skilled (and if they say so…), though my enjoyment varies. Nonetheless, I embrace it. And try to take the best out of my experiences.

Years ago, I identified eleven core competencies—11 is my favorite number—and committed them to paper. This list serves as a guide: if my time isn’t invested in these competencies, it’s probably wasted. Clearly, mundane necessities like commuting, eating, or sleeping don’t qualify as core competencies, but recognizing what truly deserves my time is crucial. Because time is a finite resource. And it doesn’t come back.

Is aimlessly scrolling through social media a core competency? Definitely not. So, I should to avoid it (doing it, as always, is way harder than it seems)

Is spending time in meetings useful? If it’s connected to one of my competencies (think about mentorship sessions, client work, business strategy, etc.), yes. If no, better avoiding the meeting.

You might wonder why I’m sharing this.

Firstly, this is a blog, a space for personal reflections

Secondly, writing this helps clarify my thoughts and holds me accountable.

However, the real reason traces back to one of my university professors. When I first outlined during our meetings some of these concepts for personal growth (which I humorously call “cracking the code with myself”), he advised, “You should write about it. Maybe someone will benefit from them!”

I don’t know if he is right or wrong.

But without his push, I probably wouldn’t be here writing

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