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Strategic Life Management Skills
The range of life skills are broad and varied, but within in the realm of personal development, there is arguably nothing better than strategic life management. This is a range of skills that you can use and develop over the course of your lifetime to ensure that you are the best that you can possibly be.
Soft or Hard Skills or Both?
Many people prioritize hard skills and qualifications over soft skills. However, the art of successful strategic life management is balancing both soft and hard skills so that you become a holistic and well-balanced individual. Hard skills are usually technical and teachable skills such as financial and economic analysis, design, or strategic planning. These kinds of skills are key in strategic life management as they ensure planning and strategic analysis are integrated into life management.
Soft skills include those skills that relate to how individuals interact with others. While life management skills are often considered to relate only to individual life management, interpersonal interaction is key to ensuring individual success. The way we communicate with others, work with others, and relate to others are essential but difficult to teach skills. These are skills that need to be nurtured and cultivated over time through self-awareness and persistence.
Using business and strategic thinking skills to manage your life.
Many of us think that we should switch off our business brains when we finish the working day. However, the skills we use at work, whether that is running your own small business or as part of a larger organization, can help us do many things in our everyday lives. For example, knowing who to contact for a particular service at work takes the right skills. If you need English translation for a report, you won’t call in a plumber. Having this kind of logical thinking should translate into your personal life. Choosing the right people for the job, understanding when to take risks, or finding the best value for money are all transferable business skills that will help you manage your personal life effectively.
Accountability is another key skill and responsibility that we take very seriously in the workplace but should also translate to our personal lives. If you are willing to take responsibility for the work you do during your workday, you should be equally willing to take responsibility for the way you conduct yourself and interact with others during your day-to-day life. Taking responsibility for mistakes and being willing to go the extra mile to help others will make you a positive influence in your life and the life of those around you.
The Steps for Successful Strategic Life Management
The following tips present the ‘how to’ component of the strategic planning mentioned above.
1. Know what you want, find a life purpose and set an aim.
There are many goal setting or life purpose methods in different cultures, from the Australian aboriginal walkabout to the North American Indian ‘going on a hill'. The general English translation is the Vision Quest, where young adults were expected to journey into the wilderness alone to find themselves and return with a purpose in life. It’s useful to take a moment to do this, for, without a clear vision, it will be impossible to develop and implement a strategic plan. You don’t need to climb a mountain in the Scottish Highlands, but you must take a moment to define the main aim, your purpose. This can change from time to time as your familial responsibilities change but can also be an overall general aim, such as being good to others. Remember, this is personal and can be whatever it is your heart desires.
2. Set the goals and interim achievements.
After defining the overall goal and hopefully a purpose for your life, the next step is to set milestones. So, if you have a 5-year plan, such as completing a degree or higher studies, then the milestone would be passing the semester or year, and so on. Having these interim objectives is a motivating factor and will keep you focused on the overall prize - a better you.
3. Make a detailed plan.
Develop a long-term framework for your life, with the overall goal to aim for and the objectives to help you get there. Then, having set the results you want to achieve, it is time for you to operationalize the activities that will allow you to see the change you want to be. This may seem daunting and intangible, but the important part of making a long-term plan is breaking it up into achievable tasks and activities that will incrementally work towards those smaller goals.
Strategic management has become more results-focused, and the same should be true in our personal lives. The results we want to see should be working towards positive change.
4. Implement and monitor your progress.
Just as in the workplace, strategic life management must entail the ongoing monitoring of your progress in line with the objectives set out in the planning phase. As you implement the plan and start to see the changes, you need to be able to recognize these and tick off the small goals as you go. If there are issues in implementation, you need to be honest and reflect on why this is the case.
5. Reward achievements no matter how small.
Choose what makes you happy and no matter how small, use this as a reward each and every time you meet one of your goals. The results reward cycle is important to program the mind for success, and if you reward the positive changes occurring in your life, you will only see more of it.
Being able to manage your life is the first step towards any form of development, be it personal and professional. As the saying goes, if you do you first, you’ll do better at life.
Lifelong learning is key for growth, and the ability to adapt different skills such as those from the business world and use them for your own personal development is critical for life planning.
About the Author
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and learning about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.