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By David Harder on March, 2, 2017

The Skill Crisis That Undermines Adults and Our Children

In our culture, we have a growing challenge and dare I imply “crisis” around a variety of life skill deficits that impact many adults and will undermine the careers of our growing children.


For many years, I have observed many of our participants wake up and attain the work they really want to do, the businesses they want to launch and realize that if they had these certain life skills, they would have pursued what they really wanted long before.


The skills include:


  • Drawing healthy attention to oneself
  • Understanding how to sell oneself and one’s ideas
  • Developing and building effective support systems
  • Engaging in regular self-inquiry to keep up with change
  • Practicing active learning every single day.


Many of us run away from learning the skills because they require a certain degree of courage to learn. I find the longer a client has run away from drawing attention to oneself or learning how to sell or make a presentation, the bigger the fear about doing it. The insanity is these are the very skills that make us successful and available to more options.


During the industrial revolution, most people didn’t pursue the so-called “soft skills” because we got an education, found a job and worked until retirement. In the 50s and 60s, most people changed jobs once or twice. Today’s average employee changes jobs twelve times. Today’s college graduate will change careers four to six times.


When we began Inspired Work in 1990, our graduates realized that if they learned these skills they would be able to do exactly what they wanted with their lives. Now, the skills are required regardless of if we are in the work we were born to do and the work that we love or working in a job or a business, that at best, is just a job. It is common-sense that if the cycle of change is increasing so rapidly, the more important these skills become.


While the need for developing these skills within adults can immensely improve the lives and careers of adults, children ought to be learning them right now. Unfortunately, our culture has run from routinely developing these skills for a very long time. As role models, it is critical that we change what we are presenting on the topic of life skills as quickly as humanly possible. It is also important to understand that our entire educational system from Kindergarten through Graduate School has failed us in recognizing the importance of these skills and teaching everyone to use them.


Let’s instill in our young people, at an early age, that if they want to be successful as an adult, they must learn how to sell, present, network and actively learn. Give them an understanding that the learning process will include some fear and discomfort but as they get used to doing it, they will develop more confidence and get better results.


I am in the midst of writing a new book with my colleague, Mary Campbell. It is about how to help our children prepare for the future of work. We want to help as many families realize just how vastly different the future of work is and to support them in becoming successful adults. That will often require that we tell our children to not follow in our footsteps or to become role models in the skills and behaviors I’m am sharing.


On some level, the research and observations break my heart. How many of us have settled into malaise with the biggest segment of our waking lives because we didn’t believe we could sell ourselves or get the help to make it all happen? How many of us avoided the careers we really wanted because we would have to effectively present ourselves or ask someone for help? How many of us have been thrown to the sidelines because we believed we could not change?


The truth is, all of us can. I pray that we do better with our children.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc. (310) 277-4850


(C) Copyright, Inspired Work, Inc. – 2017 – (All rights reserved)