Entrepreneurship: 9 Important Power Skills You Likely Didn’t Learn in School
Sarah Mae (SMae) |
Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park, it takes a ton of sacrifice and Power Skills. When you first start out, you’re often responsible for doing everything on your own. This usually equates to working really long hours, juggling numerous projects, and having to constantly come up with new ideas. This inevitably leads to overwhelm and burnout.
As a career education teacher and productivity coach, I know firsthand that the problem is not actually workload. Rather, it’s the lack of education you received in school around work/life balance. See, school systems are great at teaching academic skills, but are not equipped to teach the essential, everyday thinking and habits needed to create a healthy balanced life doing what you love.
Instead, you’re taught to respect authority, compete against others, and learn subject-specific skills for one career path all while sacrificing your health and happiness.
No more. I have put together a list of 9 Power Skills not often taught in schools to help you understand where your gaps are and create the biz+life balance you crave and deserve.
Table of Contents
What Are Power Skills?
According to Wikipedia, “Soft skills are a cluster of productive personality traits that characterize one’s relationships in a social environment. These skills can include social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, time management, teamwork and leadership traits.”
Soft skills are different from hard (technical) skills, which are considered directly relevant to the job you’re doing. For example, welding is a hard skill. These are often more quantifiable, and easier to learn than soft skills.
The term “soft skills” was created by the U.S. Army and I hate the term. As such, they will henceforth be known as Power Skills!
9 Important Power Skills for Entrepreneurial Success
To be successful in entrepreneurship and biz+life balance you’ll want to master these 9 Power Skills often taught in schools…
A Growth Mindset is the understanding that intelligence, skills, traits, and abilities can all be developed. In contrast, a fixed mindset is believing that things just are the way they are and cannot change.
Fixed Mindset = “I’m either good or I’m not”, “Failure shows me what I’m not good at”
Growth Mindset = “I can learn anything new”, “With each failure, I will learn and get even better”
While Growth Mindset is a skill that is readily taught today if you’re 20+ you probably didn’t learn this in school.
The fact is, everything starts with your Mindset, which is why it’s so important to build this Power Skill. With it, you’ll be able to embrace your “mistakes” as learning opportunities and strive for more fulfilling goals.
➡️ Suggested Reading: Growth Mindset: 3 Strategies to Develop this Power Skill
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
There are many ways to practice Mindfulness. Whether it’s eating, walking, breathing, meditating, or listening, by being fully present while doing an activity you’re being mindful.
Research on long-term meditators by neuroscientists Richie Davidson and Daniel Goleman provides scientific confirmation that sustained practice can bring about lasting changes in brain function and “dramatically ups the limits on psychological science’s ideas of human possibility” (Altered Traits, 2017).
What’s more, mindfulness reduces anxiety, relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, increases feelings of compassion and gratitude, and improves cognition.
➡️ Suggested Reading: 3 Benefits to Mindfulness for Better Productivity
Self-Management living your life consciously. This means goal setting, prioritizing your tasks, planning your time strategically, and, most importantly, consistently following through on what you say you’re going to do.
You’ll notice that I call this Self-Management and not Time-Management. This is because time is a made-up concept. If we think about time as something external to us, then it is something that is happening to us. This leads us down the road of “I’m so busy”, “I don’t have enough time”.
The truth is that Time is a made-up concept. You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself within it.
Once you really grasp this, you’ll be able to take full control of how you use your time to support your life and biz goals.
➡️ Suggested Reading: Self Management Skills: 5 Strategies to Manage Oneself Within Time
Habit Literacy is understanding how to create routines and habits that are sustainable and are designed to reach your goals.
There is a reason why the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear, has sold over 1.1 million copies worldwide. Humans are creatures of habit, so it makes sense that you need to know how to use this to your advantage.
Without Habit Literacy, you’ll just keep doing the same things over and over again.
I highly recommend grabbing yourself a copy of Atomic Habits to get started today.
➡️ Suggested Reading: What Are Habits? How to Create New Habits and Stick to Them
Learning Literacy is understanding how to learn. You’d think we would all be pros at it after 12+ years as students, right? Ugh.
Your brain has the capacity for limitless knowledge. To be able to harness this capability you need to foster your curiosity and feed your intellect.
How to take notes, how to speed read for comprehension, and how to ask questions are all important life skills that you can practice and improve on at any age.
Use it or lose it! Stimulating your brain keeps your mind healthy, which allows you to think rationally, make better decisions, and pursue your goals with confidence.
➡️ Suggested Reading: What is Learning How To Learn? 7 Strategies to Increase Your Capacity For Learning
It boggles my mind that I took Physical Education for 10 years and never learned a thing about how my body works.
How to dribble a basketball? – Sure.
How my body uses protein to build muscle? – Nope.
Health Literacy includes understanding how to keep your body functioning optimally. This includes proper nutrition, knowing how your brain works, effective exercise and movement, as well as the science behind sleep.
Did you know that some of the leading ageing scientists today believe that ageing is a curable disease?
What would you do with 30 more healthy and active years?
Learning how to take proper care of and optimize my body has been the greatest factor in my success. No energy gets you nowhere.
➡️ Suggested Reading: Have More Energy & Stop Hitting Snooze! 5 Lessons I Learned Through Health Literacy
This is the understanding of how to build and sustain a network as well as real relationships with colleagues, friends, and family.
Communicating, networking, and being social are all learnable skills. Too often we just accept that we are “introverted” or “shy” when really we just haven’t bothered to put the work in to learn how to interact with people.
Business is all about building community. You can start brushing up on these skills by reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
You can’t succeed without the help of others.
➡️ Suggested Reading: The True Meaning of Interpersonal Skills: 3 Actionable Ways to Develop People Skills
Emotional Literacy is the ability to understand, nurture, use, and manage your emotions in positive ways.
Understanding your emotions allows you to choose the ones you want to foster. In this sense, you can CHOOSE to be happy by creating more moments in your life that make you feel happy.
So many people today try to bury or drown their emotions when, in fact, they are your greatest asset. When you’re able to access your emotions, they can guide you to making the right choices in line with your authentic true self and live a fulfilling life.
Furthermore, a study published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, found that emotional intelligence was a stronger predictor of entrepreneurial success than general mental ability.
One of the biggest headaches for entrepreneurs involves dealing with finances, and financial literacy is the number one thing that people say they wish they learned about in school.
Many curriculums today cover the basics of finances. Topics such as understanding your taxes, budgeting, saving for big purchases, and investing are all taught in more high schools. However, they don’t teach a lot about business finances.
Even if they did, it’s not enough to just understand how to make and use money to achieve financial independence – we see unhappy wealthy people all the time. Real Financial Literacy includes understanding and developing an Abundance Mindset around money.
Money is not a scarce resource, from the moment you believe in the abundance of money, you attract more of it into your life and business.
➡️ Suggested Reading: What’s Financial Literacy? 3 Basic Strategies to Cultivate a Mindset of Abundance
Power Skills Conclusion
There is a lot at stake when it comes to starting and growing a business, which can make maintaining biz+life balance more of an afterthought. These 9 power skills will set you up for success as an entrepreneur and help you build your business mindfully and sustainably.
P.S. Are we connected on Instagram? No? Well new friend, let’s fix that now! Come hang out on my favourite social media platform. Follow for inspiration and send me a DM to let me know we’re connected.