Software Developer and Consultant Edward Lu shows how real-life experiences can help you adapt and excel in all professional situations.

What I’ve learned after 15 years in the Performing Arts Industry…

I remember the first time seeing it on stage – a blue, spinning blur, balanced on a string and tied to two sticks. They tossed it in the air, juggled it around their arms, and did all sorts of things I had never seen in my life. After that night, I went home, put away the violin, and asked my parents to buy me a yo-yo.

Seventeen years later, after a lot of practicing, teaching and performing around the United States, I find myself settled down in Chicago, applying the skills that I’ve learned throughout my journey of juggling to my newfound work life here at Centric Consulting.

Although juggling and consulting are obviously two very different things, I’ve discovered they share a few things in common. Here are three themes that align:

#1: Confidence

When I’m about to walk onto a stage to perform for an audience of more than 3,000 people, there’s only one thing going through my mind: I’m here to do something for my audience, and nothing else in the world matters right now other than doing my juggling performance right.

In my consulting role, providing an unmatched client experience is my mission – and this motto aligns perfectly. Regardless of what client I’m at, when I’m staffed to provide consulting for them, I will strive to deliver excellence and to leave them with both a great performance and an even better impression.

#2: Agility

Juggling is an extremely technical ability. This means that accidents can and will happen on stage, no matter how many thousands of hours I’ve dedicated to my craft. When these mishaps occur, I have trained myself to quickly recover from any mistake, whether the string breaks, the yo-yo drops, or I happen to stumble on stage.

Jobs in any industry are no exception, but I think this could be especially applicable to consulting. Clients can make a wide range of requests, and sometimes priorities or requirements will change, requiring deadlines to shift, too. The most successful consultants are the ones that can adapt to any scenario in an agile manner, resulting in their clients being delivered an unmatched experience.

#3: Innovation

The generation I grew up in was the one that pioneered the craft of yo-yo juggling. Growing up, we had a very limited pool of tricks and stunts we could do, and after we mastered those tricks, we were on our own. Innovation was extremely pivotal to my career as a professional juggler, as I always needed to be inventing new tricks to compete with the best.

As working professionals, we always need to be constantly upgrading our skillsets, especially because we live in a world marked by rapid change.

Your Challenge

Being successful as an employee in any industry requires key skills that have a shocking parallel to those of the most obscure of performing arts – juggling. With these skills in mind, I challenge you to take whatever hobby or passion you love and apply the skills involved in that passion to improve your work tomorrow.