Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a company leader, or an entry-level employee, there are certain life skills that will not only increase your chances of being successful but will also help you maintain that success.
As I plot my goals for this year, one is making sure my kids are consistently learning these skills — I still don’t see them being taught in school as much as they should, which is a bit disappointing. These include things like personal finance, which my mom taught me at an early age. This actually set me up to obtain my first loan for my first business.
But what other important life skills are needed to help you — or your children — become super successful in life? Here are seven skills that I believe are absolutely essential.
1. Money management
I recently set up bank accounts for my 2-year-old and 5-year-old. As crazy as that may sound, my bank offers a 5 percent interest rate on its checking accounts for up to $500. Needless to say, I was pretty amped about that. But the real purpose was more about getting them to think about saving money and setting goals. Yes, that’s right: My 5-year-old has financial goals.
Unfortunately, I frequently run into people who desperately want to start their own business or make the jump from their crappy corporate job. Unfortunately, money prevents them from achieving these goals because they don’t have the down payment or financial cushion to take a worthwhile risk.
2. Mental health
It used to be taboo to bring up your mental health among friends. However, as society has become more open about the importance of mental health, it’s become acceptable to acknowledge that your mental health is something that you need to work on.
“Mental health” doesn’t just refer to being diagnosed with a mental illness: Mental health also covers lacking confidence, paralysis from setbacks, and too much negative self-talk. These not only can drastically affect your performance, but they can also lead to a lack of gratitude and resilience — and, eventually, contentment. As a result, this can make it so that no matter how well you perform, you don’t take even a second to appreciate your success. You struggle to be thankful for what you have or dust yourself off when you fall down.
3. Time management
Not enough people are aware of just how important time management really is. Without it, you can’t organize your day. Eventually, this makes it almost impossible to achieve that coveted balance between your professional and personal lives.
But that’s just the start. When you manage your time more effectively, you’ll become more successful because you’ll know how to prioritize tasks and achieve your goals faster. You’re able to eliminate indecisiveness, reduce stress, and find enough energy to get the important things done. Also, time management allows you the time to do what you really love. I would be absolutely miserable and unproductive if I spent 80 hours in the office and never had time with my family. I mean, what would be the point?
4. Relationship management
I strongly believe that relationships are the key to success. Just think about your company: I highly doubt it’s thriving solely because of you. Your entire team has worked toward a common goal, and you absolutely owe the customers who’ve trusted and supported you.
Relationships help us get through the tough times and celebrate the good times. They introduce us to new ideas and opportunities. They can help make us more empathetic and find a purpose bigger than ourselves.
And, as the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “No one can live without relationship. You may withdraw into the mountains, become a monk, a sannyasi, wander off into the desert by yourself, but you are related. You cannot escape from that absolute fact. You cannot exist in isolation.”
I recently taught my daughter how to play UNO and chess. At first, she was just throwing cards down because she liked certain colors more or moved only the knights because she liked the horses — the bishops and rooks were boring-looking to her. As she continued to play more, she actually started planning her next moves. She started thinking through things that went beyond what she just liked and more on the steps that would help her win.
I consistently run into leaders who complain about their employees not being strategic enough and just checking off boxes. To succeed, you have to think about your next move and have a contingency plan in place for when things change.
6. Problem-solving skills
Throughout life, you’ll have to overcome obstacles and setbacks — no matter how well-prepared you are. Instead of complaining about it or throwing in the towel, you need to be able to navigate these unforeseen challenges. Sometimes, you have to think on your feet rather than have the luxury of brainstorming.
Personally, I think a big part of successfully solving problems is being flexible and thinking beyond what you’ve done before. This can lead you to explore new opportunities and push your limits.
7. Team-building abilities
Team building helps create cohesive groups in which everyone feels invested, engaged, and on the same page when working toward a goal. As a result, there are fewer conflicts, and people enjoy higher morale and productivity.
But developing team-building skills also means that you have strong communication skills: You listen, clearly explain yourself, and pick up on body language. You also have to hone your ability to collaborate and cooperate with others, like giving and accepting feedback and being willing to take on new tasks. On the flip side, you’ll need strong delegation skills, allowing you to assign roles and explain expectations.
Being a good team builder means you have the ability to motivate others by recognizing and rewarding their achievements and soliciting input. Team builders use those aforementioned problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts, mediate, and brainstorm strategies. And if you’re doing things right, you’ll develop leadership skills that allow you to align team goals with company goals, make important decisions, and establish team norms.
While this is in no way an exhaustive list, these are the skills that are essential if you want to become successful. And you can be certain that I’m not only constantly working on strengthening these skills in myself, but also in my children — even if it’s one bank deposit at a time.
By John HallCo-founder and president, Calendar