Soft skills and work experience are essential in any industry.
However, life skills are also vital if you want to have a fruitful and successful career.
Whatever level you’re at, continuous learning and self-improvement are the unwritten rules of fast-tracking your development as a professional.
That’s where life skills come in.
What are life skills?
The beauty of life skills is that they’re attainable.
While a bachelor’s degree and over 10 years of relevant experience are certainly worthwhile, life skills hold the key to your progress within a business.
In layman’s terms, life skills are necessary or desirable abilities that enable a professional to participate in everyday life more effectively.
There are various kinds of life skills.
The importance of each depends on the nature of your job and the industry you work in. For example, to have a driver’s license might only be deemed as a desirable life skill in an office job.
Whereas, it’s necessary if you want a career in logistics.
However, some life skills are transferrable in all industries and levels of seniority. It’s just a matter of working on them and improving them as you go.
Here are five essential life skills you should look to sharpen.
Are you the type of person who often has a rush of blood to the head in annoying or frustrating situations?
Whether your partner has forgotten to put the bins out or a colleague of yours has stolen one of your ideas, it’s easy to act and speak rashly.
To be mindful is no simple task.
It can often take years of practice, especially if you wear your heart on your sleeve as a person.
Mindfulness is the ability to recognise your emotional response to a certain scenario without reacting to them.
To be mindful is a very desirable trait when you’re put in a stressful situation, as you can pause and try to look at things from a neutral point of view.
When you’re faced with a situation like this, take a deep breath and think first.
Everyone is resilient in some shape or form.
If you’ve resisted the urge to eat the whole pack of chocolate bars in your desk drawer all day, that’s an act of resilience.
However, it’s an achievement that probably won’t land you a pay rise or a promotion!
In a working environment, when you receive bad feedback or are faced with an impossible deadline, how do you react?
Do you sweat, moan or blame others?
Setbacks are part and parcel of life. It’s how you decide to act that truly matters.
To become more resilient and develop your life skills in this department, you must think positively at all times.
So what if you made a spelling mistake in your last piece of work.
The key isn’t to pretend like it never happened. Be honest with yourself and work on ways you can improve next time around.
In this case, double-check your work or get someone else to look over your work next time.
It really is that simple.
You just need to learn how to use your resilience to rise above the mistakes.
One of the most important life skills to have is empathy.
Not only will it make you a better partner and friend, but it’ll help you with your career too.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how they might be feeling.
Harnessing this knowledge will allow you to connect with people more and calculate better solutions in your responses.
To work on your emotional intelligence is to swap sympathy with empathy.
Telling a colleague “I’m sorry you feel bad” isn’t helping anyone.
However, if you say “I’ve felt the same way when I wasn’t getting the pay rise I wanted, so I can understand why you’re frustrated. I found that…”
This kind of response shows that you’ve been listening and you’ve stepped into their shoes.
By starting your response off in this fashion, the person you’re trying to help will be more likely to open up about their feelings and allow you to share your plan of action.
Being a “know-how” is very frustrating.
Businesses look for professionals who want to ask questions and better themselves.
Having this inquisitive nature is the key to innovation and self-improvement.
Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia couldn’t afford to pay their rent one day, so questioned how they can use the additional space in their apartment to lodge people and make some money.
Discovering the answer resulted in them founding Airbnb!
Questioning things and learning from others in and outside of work will allow you to grow as a person.
Remember, knowledge is power – so go and learn!
The final essential life skill required in every industry is the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients.
Once again, this includes being able to empathise with people and to ask relevant questions to boost your “learn-how” skills.
Try to react to situations calmly by being mindful and respect the fact that other people may have different opinions.
Finding a way to communicate with different kind of minds is the key to forming relationships and managing people.
So, there you have it.
If you want a successful career, you must work on your life skills.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the CEO of a company or have aspirations to reach that level of seniority at some point in your career, life skills can always be improved.
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