Why are Soft Skills the Courage Skills?

soft-skills-arrow-upThe single most important skill for success in today’s professional landscape is the ability to change – continuously.

In our career and engagement programs we find that true personal change is frightening and involves not only letting go of our previous beliefs, it means that learning, relearning, unlearning and learning again is one of the central dances with modern success.

Thus far, we have assisted over 42,000 people in defining and accessing what they were born to do and how to do it. The “how” is a matter of building any missing life skills. All that it takes to learn them is initiative and a small dose of courage.

Many of these skills are also the very ones people need to change. In our engagement work, personal transformation is the big missing piece of getting people out of “the trance” that consumes up to 87 percent of the world’s disengaged workers.

So why do we use this dismissive term of categorizing the very skills that allow us to succeed as “soft?” The more that I have encountered this strange narrative, the more I have come to the conclusion that “soft skills” scare people. Wouldn’t they become more attractive if we used the term “courage skills?” Not only would that be more honest, it would make these vital and necessary skills more aspirational.

Here are a few:

  • The ability to draw healthy attention to oneself
  • The ability to give healthy attention to others
  • The ability to build an effective and comprehensive support system
  • The ability to sell one’s ideas and concepts
  • The ability to get others to help us
  • The ability to respond to fear in healthy ways

In the days ahead, I will be publishing a series of short articles connecting each of these skills to the very necessary ability to change, reinvent and transform our work. As always, comments are not only welcomed, in many cases they will be incorporated into “what’s next.”

Originally published at Bizcatalyst360

David Harder

David Harder

In 1990, David Harder founded Inspired Work,, which has helped over 42,000 professionals transform their relationship towards work. Individuals from all walks of life attend Inspired Work’s public programs to launch new careers, new business or to become more successful in their existing role. He views work as a profound opportunity to become more fulfilled, contributive and effective. Mr. Harder’s leadership, employee engagement, executive development and social networking programs are used in a wide variety of organizations including The Walt Disney Company, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, The United Church of Religious Science, Morgan Stanley, and many others. Inspired Work’s leadership programs, career development and team building programs produce some of the world’s most outstanding satisfaction numbers in any business: 92.6% out of a hundred. David has appeared on many business and human-interest programs including CNN, KTLA News, KFWB News and Business News Network. David is preparing his new book for publication, The Great Disengagement – How we lost our enthusiasm for work and how we will win it back.

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