Why are soft skills so hard?

The work of developing soft skills like awareness, adaptability, communication, and collaboration don't often come easy. When I'm coaching clients the first challenge they typically meet is the, "Why is this shit so hard?" hurtle. This is when clients start to increase their awareness and are simultaneously faced with the decision to lean into accountability and adaptability or turn away.


But why is the work such a challenge? On the surface one could easily say, "OK, now that you know, just do shit differently." And if life were that easy we would have peace in the middle east, I would have a clean closet, and all societal and cultural inequities would be things of the past. Doing things differently comes up against some hard wired mental programming. Also, when we attempt to make changes to old patterns of behavior it's not just about reprogramming our minds (which can be hard AF), we also have to confront cultural norms that may be impeding us. And the final hurtle that make this work challenging is that there is no one-for-all solution because human experiences are infinite.


Few things are more frustrating than investing in your own growth and development only to come out of your cocoon a beautiful butterfly and then get shit on by a drunk crow... It's enough to say, "F soft skills, I'm not doing this anymore." Those feelings are legit and I have had to personally navigate them too. It is hard, and the fact that we are trying to make progress with others who are in completely different places in their journey's makes this shit even harder. But here is why I ask people to stay persistent in this work...


If we want to have healthier relationships where our needs are met and we feel seen, heard, and valued this requires consistent work and growth. AND this can be difficult because, as you may have noticed, life is constantly changing- making people's life experiences something that is never fixed. But frustrating and impossible are not the same things. So finding ways to remember this is a practice, not a perfect, is an important first step towards growing your soft skills. The second step is really dig into what awareness feels like for you. If you get stumped when people ask you, "How does that make you feel?" Begin to see that question as an opportunity to become curious and aware. Learn to spend time with yourself.


When we find ways to turn soft skills into a daily practice we are far more likely to stay persistent... and if we want to see results in this area, persistence is the #1 tool we need. If you need a few tips to help get you started think about these...


1) Removing binary thinking. While the LGBTQIA+ community has brought us into the light that sex, gender, and orientation aren't two categories, the same goes for other areas of our culture. We have a habit (or a learned construct of thinking), that things are good or bad, right or wrong, positive or negative. This can be super unhelpful when we need to stay persistent in growing skills that don't conform to linear progress. Here's the thing about human growth- some days we are killing it, and other days we feel like we are getting killed. In truth, most days are a mix of both. Trying to dump our efforts in