This Is Why Soft Skills Are Life Skills

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” - Aristotle

In the workplace, hard skills are qualifications and specific occupation technical skills that determine our degree of fit to particular job roles. Whereas, soft skills are what we use to function, interact, connect and communicate. While it’s necessary to have specific hard and soft skills, it’s the soft skills that are more important to our life skills.

The tragic passing of Danny Frawley last week rocked the city of Melbourne to its knees. A sporting great, Danny was funny, charismatic, informative, passionate; his public persona was a good bloke we found easy to relate to as he entertained us on TV and the radio. It was difficult to comprehend when it emerged that Danny’s battle with Mental Health had become too big of a challenge.

Last week also coincided with R U OK? Day which is “our national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone to ask, “Are you OK?” and to remember every day of the year to support people who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs.” What’s transpired over the past week has put mental health front and square in the public’s consciousness.

According to Work Safe Australia; “92% of serious work-related mental health condition claims are attributed to mental stress.” At 21%, work pressure is a significant cause of mental stress.

Therefore, soft skills need to be a key component of our armoury. We need a way to apply rationale when we’re under pressure or overwhelmed. We must be able to spot the warning signs that something isn’t right and feel safe to discuss so with others.

Communication and support are critical parts in helping to avoid or minimise levels of stress, anxiety and depression. What falls under the mental health umbrella is complex to understand, manage and overcome. A comprehensive set of soft skills won’t directly address the symptoms, but it’s skills that can help to communicate feelings, thoughts and issues. In moderate cases, skills can even help the individual to function effectively.

Anything that makes it easier for us to cope, understand, interact or function better are important life skills. That’s why soft skills are necessary for the workplace and in our overall life.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14