Clues from my most recent Career Buzz guests

“Perseverance, excitement and enthusiasm,” said author and speaker, Suzen Fromstein, when I asked her what strengths she uses to be successful (Career Buzz, Dec. 4, 2013). “And because I love what I do I have the dedication to do it — and do it consistently.”

I like asking the strengths question because guests give such surprising, rich and unique responses. Notice Steve didn’t say “writing” and Suzen didn’t say “editing.” It’s as if the hard skills are a given, and the soft skills are the ones that make the difference between an ordinary career experience, and an exceptional one.Communications expert, Steve Kee, who was profiled in Suzen’s book, Suits & Ladders, responded to the strengths question by saying, “It’s how you build and enhance your personal relationships.”

What are the clues that apply to you?

No matter what hard skills you use at work, when you build and use your soft skills, like perseverance and relationship building, you’re moving beyond work’s basic ‘transaction’ — you work / employer pays. Focusing on soft skills makes you want to put in that ‘discretionary effort’ that employers want. And that makes you, as Seth Godin says, indispensable. Listen to the whole interview, also featuring Marc Belaiche of

Want to follow the clues to putting your soft skills to work, and regenerate excitement and enthusiasm in your career? Get started with our Holiday Special — we’ve taken $40 off our Exploratory Consultation until Jan. 15.

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