.
A

bout five years ago I ran myself into complete burnout. I had been working 80 hours a week, traveling three days a week, and trying to parent three children. Both personally and professionally I pushed myself to the limit until I could no longer function. I quit my job without any other prospects on the horizon, not caring if we went bankrupt because I was so unhappy. I couldn’t get out of bed and take care of myself, let alone my children. My depression and anxiety were so high that I could not see how to move forward. 

At the same time, I came to find out that my five-year-old was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD, and high anxiety. I had to start advocating for support at her school, while I was also struggling myself. At first, I focused on my daughter’s grades and making sure that she was still progressing academically. But two years into this process, she was still crying every day before school. And to be honest, I was crying every day too.

All I could think about was, “Is this just how life is? Am I ever going to be happy? Is my daughter ever going to be happy?”.

I found myself at a crossroads. Would I continue to go through the daily motions or might there be another option? I completely stopped focusing on what I thought the world would see as acceptable. I stopped focusing on financial success, my daughter’s grades, even keeping my house clean. I decided to focus on being happy every day. But, I had no idea how to do that.

Prior to this burnout experience, I had spent my professional career on facilitating skills-based hiring and learning through data and technology. My life’s passion was to help people make better decisions in their lives. It was always about financial success, best return on your educational investment, and moving up the career ladder. No one ever talked about what makes you happy in life.
Determined to help my daughter find her happy and become a positive influence in her life, I embarked upon a long journey of self-help, personal discovery, and therapy that led me down the rabbit hole of mindset. 

Our mindset affects how we think, feel, behave, basically how we react in every life situation. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, we can have either a growth mindset, the belief that we can learn over time, or a fixed mindset, the belief that we are born with what we have. It was clear that my daughter and I, and most individuals we interacted with, maintained a fixed mindset that held us back.

Learning to develop and maintain a growth mindset was not easy, but what I learned was amazing. The belief that we can grow and change over time not only helps you navigate all life throws at you, but also cultivates the same skills that employers most struggle to find in any industry, in any job, at any level. Traditionally dubbed ‘soft skills’, these life skills include: emotional intelligence, communication in all forms, creative problem solving, resilience, and empathy. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I started to see the same depression, anxiety, and reactions in others that I was all too familiar with. Individuals and businesses that were determined to hold their course continued to struggle. While those that took the opportunity to thinking creatively and transform, were able to find a successful way forward. It quickly became apparent that for us to move past this moment and thrive in the future, we would need to have the ability to adjust personally, professionally, and even collectively. 

Thankfully there are countless examples to learn from. Even before the recent explosion of interest in mental health resources at the individual and organizational level I was tapping into Mel Robbins’ book, The 5 Second Rule, Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness resources, Edith Eger’s book, The Gift, Thrive Global with their most recent release of a behavior change technology platform being tested with Accenture, Salesforce, and Walmart, and of course, Skills Baby, where we aspire to bring awareness to and help people grow the skills that they gain throughout their life journey.  

The foundation to building transformational change is no longer just about building human capital capacity through upskilling or reskilling but needs to include the mental and emotional health of all individuals, including the culture of the organizations that employ them and the schools that train them. 

About
Kelly R. Bailey
:
Kelly R. Bailey is the Global Skills Evangelist at Emsi, the Founder & Host of the 'Let's Talk About Skills, Baby' Podcast.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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Life Skills for the Win

Photo by Catalin Noyd via Unsplash.

October 8, 2021

The foundation to building transformational change needs to include the mental and emotional health of all individuals, including the culture of the organizations that employ them and the schools that train them, writes Emsi's Kelly Bailey.

A

bout five years ago I ran myself into complete burnout. I had been working 80 hours a week, traveling three days a week, and trying to parent three children. Both personally and professionally I pushed myself to the limit until I could no longer function. I quit my job without any other prospects on the horizon, not caring if we went bankrupt because I was so unhappy. I couldn’t get out of bed and take care of myself, let alone my children. My depression and anxiety were so high that I could not see how to move forward. 

At the same time, I came to find out that my five-year-old was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD, and high anxiety. I had to start advocating for support at her school, while I was also struggling myself. At first, I focused on my daughter’s grades and making sure that she was still progressing academically. But two years into this process, she was still crying every day before school. And to be honest, I was crying every day too.

All I could think about was, “Is this just how life is? Am I ever going to be happy? Is my daughter ever going to be happy?”.

I found myself at a crossroads. Would I continue to go through the daily motions or might there be another option? I completely stopped focusing on what I thought the world would see as acceptable. I stopped focusing on financial success, my daughter’s grades, even keeping my house clean. I decided to focus on being happy every day. But, I had no idea how to do that.

Prior to this burnout experience, I had spent my professional career on facilitating skills-based hiring and learning through data and technology. My life’s passion was to help people make better decisions in their lives. It was always about financial success, best return on your educational investment, and moving up the career ladder. No one ever talked about what makes you happy in life.
Determined to help my daughter find her happy and become a positive influence in her life, I embarked upon a long journey of self-help, personal discovery, and therapy that led me down the rabbit hole of mindset. 

Our mindset affects how we think, feel, behave, basically how we react in every life situation. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, we can have either a growth mindset, the belief that we can learn over time, or a fixed mindset, the belief that we are born with what we have. It was clear that my daughter and I, and most individuals we interacted with, maintained a fixed mindset that held us back.

Learning to develop and maintain a growth mindset was not easy, but what I learned was amazing. The belief that we can grow and change over time not only helps you navigate all life throws at you, but also cultivates the same skills that employers most struggle to find in any industry, in any job, at any level. Traditionally dubbed ‘soft skills’, these life skills include: emotional intelligence, communication in all forms, creative problem solving, resilience, and empathy. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I started to see the same depression, anxiety, and reactions in others that I was all too familiar with. Individuals and businesses that were determined to hold their course continued to struggle. While those that took the opportunity to thinking creatively and transform, were able to find a successful way forward. It quickly became apparent that for us to move past this moment and thrive in the future, we would need to have the ability to adjust personally, professionally, and even collectively. 

Thankfully there are countless examples to learn from. Even before the recent explosion of interest in mental health resources at the individual and organizational level I was tapping into Mel Robbins’ book, The 5 Second Rule, Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness resources, Edith Eger’s book, The Gift, Thrive Global with their most recent release of a behavior change technology platform being tested with Accenture, Salesforce, and Walmart, and of course, Skills Baby, where we aspire to bring awareness to and help people grow the skills that they gain throughout their life journey.  

The foundation to building transformational change is no longer just about building human capital capacity through upskilling or reskilling but needs to include the mental and emotional health of all individuals, including the culture of the organizations that employ them and the schools that train them. 

About
Kelly R. Bailey
:
Kelly R. Bailey is the Global Skills Evangelist at Emsi, the Founder & Host of the 'Let's Talk About Skills, Baby' Podcast.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.