Previously, I had written a post that suggested we all focus on building our skills. However, once we have acquired wider and deeper skill sets, how do we translate that into more money? Mastering a skill set is great, but it won’t help us earn more money if we don’t know what to do with those newly acquired skills. I mentioned that the money will come in response to the skills we developed. However, how exactly does that happen? I will expand on that statement. The money will come in response to the contributions we are able to delivery due to those skills that we have developed.
Focus on Your Contribution
Once you have expanded and enhanced your skill set, you need to figure out ways to contribute more. Having all the skills in the world won’t mean much if you can’t use those skills to add value to a client, customer, or business. Who will pay a superstar basketball player if he won’t play any games? He’s not contributing anything meaningful. Who will pay a master chef if he’s unwilling to design or cook any meals?
The same logic can be applied to anyone in the business world, regardless if you are an individual contributor, manager, senior leader, or entrepreneur. You won’t get paid unless you contribute. Why would a company pay you more money if you are not generating more value? Similarly, why would customers pay you more money for your products or services if you are not adding more value to their lives? The greater your skillset, the more you can contribute. The more you can contribute to your company, business, or clients, the greater the value you bring to them and the more you will be rewarded. That is why I recommended that we all focus on our skills...to allow us to contribute more. Perhaps I should have said, focus on your skills AND your contributions, then the money will come.
Find Where You Can Contribute Most
One problem that many of us may have is that we are not contributing to our full capacity. We may work at a job that only requires a small portion of our skills. We may work at a job that primarily requires a different skillset than the one we possess. As a result, we are not contributing to our potential and not being paid to our potential. Obviously, there probably isn’t a role that requires exactly all the skills you possess. However, the closer that match is, the more you will be able to contribute in that role, and the more you will be compensated for it.
Therefore, it is necessary to find work that allows us to contribute as much as we can. If you have a strong sales skillset, you won’t be paid your full potential if you are working in a support role. If you have strong management skills, you won’t be contributing up to your potential if you don’t manage a team. If you are a lawyer, you won’t be paid to your full potential if you are just managing paperwork. However, if you can find a role that is a strong match to your skillset or start a business that utilizes the gifts and talents that people are willing to pay for, you will contribute much more value to others and ultimately be compensated accordingly.
Rewarding and Meaningful Life Purpose
Another angle to consider is how meaningful your work is to you. If you are not fully utilizing your skills, you are not contributing to your potential. If you are not contributing to your potential, then you probably aren’t very fulfilled. You probably don’t feel that your work is that meaningful and rewarding. If you can’t find the meaning in your work, you will ultimately become dissatisfied. You will not be happy in your work life, which may bleed into aspects of your personal life. Therefore, it is important to find meaning and purpose in your work.
So, where do you go from here? If you feel that you are underpaid because you are not contributing as much as you can, then you may need to find a new position or start a new business that allows you to contribute more. If you don’t have enough skills to justify more pay, then perhaps you need to develop your skills. If your role is already a good match to your skill set but you still want to grow, then it may be time to figure out ways to contribute more and add more value. Either way, it is important to reflect and be honest about your professional situation if you want to grow professionally. Once you have diagnosed where your issues are and where you want to go, you can develop a plan to move forward.
Professional Development and Personal Finance Blog