|OK, so I'm curious. All these years you've managed to stay a size 2, yet how did do you make it through the holidays?|
|I have been a clothes horse for years – no, make that decades – so really cannot afford to let my weight fluctuate more than a few pounds.|
|That makes sense, although it sounds obsessive. So, how do you resist delicious food when it's right in front of you?|
|Easy. I live alone, so do not buy fattening foods that I would find "irresistible" or if I am craving something, I only buy a single portion.|
|Clearly you haven't succumbed, as so many of us have during the pandemic, to treating yourself to comfort food. Anyway, sometimes it's out of your control. For example, the dozen delicious cupcakes that Kris sends each of us every year to celebrate the New Year.|
|It is a very thoughtful gift as everyone loves cupcakes. In fact, a few years ago, when they arrived, I offered one to the porter who brought them up. The smile on his face was so heart-warming, I decided to share the balance of the cupcakes with the building staff … and everyone was surprised and happy. Funny how cupcakes can make people smile.|
|So, every time someone gives you food you either don't want or won't eat, you give it away?|
|For the most part, yes.|
|Well, that's honest. But don't you think knowing that would hurt the feelings of the person who sent it?|
|I doubt it. I cannot imagine Kris thinks I will eat all 12 cupcakes. With other gifts, I would hope the sender would understand, especially as when you give a gift it is the thought that counts. And, not only do I appreciate their gift, but they are making other people happy as well. There is a ripple effect.|
|Valid point. I shared my cupcakes, too. Although I did eat more than I had intended as they were so good, and I had to try all the flavors. I made up my mind that I rather have them go to my waist than waste them.|
|Cute. Rationalize them however you want, as long as it is a conscious decision. Sometimes I just take a bite or two of something and then destroy the rest so I do not have to exercise any willpower.|
|I remember you doing that back in the good 'ole days when we'd go out to eat. You'd have a bite or two of your dessert and if no one else at the table wanted the rest, you'd pour pepper all over it. The first time you did it, everyone thought you were crazy, until you explained it.|
|Well, in my case I would rather waste the food than have it end up on my waist. We all have our priorities.|
When Red first heard Black talking about the importance of "soft skills," she didn't even know what she was referring to, let alone that they would be important to her life. So, Black explained that it was a term used to describe intangible but essential skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, communications, and conflict management.
Red, trying to be sarcastic, then asked if there was such a thing as “hard skills,” Black matter-of-factly told her those are tangible and technical skills such as computer skills.
Of course, Black couldn’t pass up an opportunity for sarcasm and explained that although there’s consensus about the importance of soft skills, there’s debate about what they should be called, with her favorite being the Texas Education Agency (TEA) calling them "21st Century Skills" – although she's old enough to remember they were important in the 20th Century, too.
But would anyone call them “Mom Skills”? Well, Red couldn’t help but remember the time Black told her, “Your job is every bit as demanding as a corporate position, and, in fact, you use many of the same skill sets.”Not something Red could ever have imagined, but it made sense once she better understood what soft skills are and how they are used. But then Black took it a step further,
Soft skills are transferable – between your personal life and the workplace (and from industry to industry). If you recognize that interpersonal relations have existed since Adam and Eve (or “caveman” days), and technical skills are constantly changing and there is no way to predict the careers of the future … it is easy to see why soft skills will always be needed.
It's funny, but now that Red’s familiar with soft skills, she not only recognizes them in day-to-day living but sees the impact they have (and the problems caused when they’re lacking). Our new website may not have SOFT SKILLS as a major section, but since it’s one of Black's passion projects, it will have a special place.
Until then, here are some of our favorite posts showing how soft skills affect us on a daily basis (OK, the Ferrari one about negotiating skills may not affect many people, but the message will):
- COLLEGE & SOFT SKILLS: My son’s going off to college but doesn’t know what he wants to study …
- COMMUNICATION: How Do You Communicate? Blah-Blah-Blah Or Bullet Points?
- CUSTOMER SERVICE: RED & BLACK … May I Help You?
- LEADERSHIP: RED & BLACK … Leaders All Around Us
- MOM SKILLS: Translating Mom Responsibilities
- PERSUASION SKILLS: The Fact Is … Don’t Use Facts
- NEGOTIATING SKILLS: A Perfect Day For A Convertible. And For Chutzpah.
- PROBLEM-SOLVING: One Person’s Problem … Is Another’s Challenge?!
- SPOT THE SOFT SKILLS: Selfish, Shallow … And Svelte?
Red was your typical straight-A student, getting great grades starting in kindergarten straight through to graduating from college.(Black’s grades were less than stellar, plus she was a discipline problem – some things never change.) And then, excited and proud of herself, Red thought she was done. Black, on the other hand, thinks of education as something that never ends, and much to the chagrin of students, will tell them,
Homework never ends; it just is called “research” when you get older.
Over the last few years, Red has come around to Black’s way of thinking and realizes it’s a mindset. And that education is more than the classes you take in school.
September is when students of all ages are back in school, but it’s also National Literacy Month, which is about so much more than reading and writing. Literacy includes things like Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Health Literacy, and even News Literacy. (As the linked Conversation Starters indicate, Red was the “poster child” of a highly educated person who lacked many of these basic literacy skills.)
So, we challenge you to find a topic that interests you or one you could benefit from learning (personally or professionally) and start doing your homework.
And while not a homework assignment, we figure if you’re still reading, you might be interested in some of our favorite “lifelong learning” posts (many of which helped Red learn about learning in a whole new way).
For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer (temperatures aside), and as we switch from a summer holiday mindset back to the “real world”, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed.
You don’t need us to tell you how falling back into a work or school routine can be challenging, especially if you’re facing a backlog of tasks and responsibilities. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the “silly season” is just around the corner. (Red has been seeing Halloween decorations since mid-July, which means Thanksgiving and all the winter holidays aren’t far behind.)
But you don’t need us to tell you why you feel overwhelmed; you need help dealing with being overwhelmed.
When our new website goes live next year, one of the major sections will be THE DAILY HELP, where you’ll find easy-to-implement tools to get your day back on track and feel more in control.
But that doesn’t help you … NOW. So, here are a handful of our favorite posts to help you deal with daily challenges we all face. (Red admits that she picked the ones she felt she needed to reread.)
- Black’s Time Management “Secret” ... Is Worth Repeating (Time Management)
- It's happened again ... I can’t see my desk there’s so much paper on it. Help! (Piles of Paper)
- How Do You Communicate? Blah-Blah-Blah Or Bullet Points? (Communication)
- Expect Reality, Not Perfection (Relationships)
- Don’t Confuse Time Alone With Time Away! (Stress)
P.S. – Wondering why we haven’t mentioned money? Well, stay tuned, as we’ll have a post dedicated to DOLLARS & SENSE in early November as we get closer to the holidays. (FYI, our subscribers get sneak peeks before we post online.)