Digital has the power to develop soft skills

Life has an incredible ability to hone our skills.  Everyday experiences can have a huge impact on people’s motivation when it comes to learning. The soft skills that are most in-demand in today’s world are often difficult to train in the classroom. But those same skills can be developed through our private experiences, developing a new awareness that allows us to transfer and apply those skills between our personal and professional spheres. Digital is key to making this a reality. Riccarda Zezza, CEO di Lifeed spoke about it in a #BecomeWhoYouWantToBe interview for GoDaddy Talks, talking to digital leaders in the sector. Here’s what she had to say.

The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do

What I do is closely linked to who I am. The fact that I became an entrepreneur, that I have my own company that sells something that I’ve experienced in my own life, it all represents who I am. I often ask myself if I’m happy and convinced in what I’m doing. Up until now, my honest answer has been yes – it’s the right path for me. As long as that’s my answer, it’s all good.

It’s not work, it’s not life – it’s all living

True self-awareness is realising that you already have everything you need. These skills are already yours – it’s awareness that really makes the difference, across all life transitions. Even through the pandemic, the challenges that you’re facing can hone the skills that you already have. When you try to apply those skills in different contexts, you’ll discover that you have even more resources available to you.

When you put that concept into practice, you’ll also find that life gets easier. You no longer have to compartmentalise everything. You’ll realise that certain behaviours and mechanisms work everywhere. If you’re good at saying ‘no’ at work, you can become good at setting boundaries at home. If you’re a warm and encouraging person at home, you can bring those same traits out in the office. It’s all about building relationships with those around you. When clients onboard with us, they often continue to renew again and again. It’s because once they’ve grasped this concept, once they can see their people for all they really are, they find they get a lot more out of them. People will share with you the things that you can see. If you choose to not see parts of their lives, you’ll miss out on so much that they have to offer. It’s a revolution.

Our solutions champion care

Female empowerment isn’t and end, it’s a means. We’re not focusing on empowerment for the good of women, we think it’s important because society needs their contribution. We’re wasting their resources. Women are champions of care: it’s an element that’s key to the survival of our race. Caregiving is key across all age groups. If we weren’t able to care for others, we’d already be extinct. So we can’t de-prioritize care, it can’t become less important than the state of the economy. Rather, it has to become an essential part of the economy, because it’s the only thing that will make it sustainable over time.

Our collective narrative needs to be updated, and we are all narrators. 73% of all employees are caregivers in some role in their life. The other 27% are probably still caring for another being in some way – it’s just that they don’t recognize their role in it yet. We all care for someone else. We all hone skills through these experiences. And if we don’t see those skills, it’s like we’re throwing them away. But we need those skills! This idea all stems from a culture of care, it’s at the heart of our existence.

Digital is magical, it allows us to manufacture our ideas

Lifeed started out as MAAM – a classroom-based soft skills training program. After a couple of years in the classroom, we wrote a book, we became a bit frustrated. We couldn’t grow the business in that format, it wasn’t scalable. On one hand, I wanted to reach as many people as possible, while on the other hand I realised that the market offered growth avenues that would not otherwise be available to you. I wanted to grow in line with the market. So about 6 years ago, we had a lightbulb moment. We decided we wanted to take these learning materials online – the same content and questions that “switch on” this awareness for people. Digital is the best place for people to do just that. It means people can write about their experiences online, we can listen to them and then accompany them throughout the rest of their learning experience.

I believe digital is a powerful tool. But sometimes I think it’s easy for us to forget that we get to decide how it’s used. Over the past year, we’ve seen how it’s saved us. It’s allowed us to continue doing a whole range of things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. But what will happen when this is all over? Will we continue to acquire knowledge at the same speed? Or will we stop and ask ourselves why we need digital? It’s important to ask those questions. Otherwise we risk that digital decides what we do, rather than us deciding for digital. 

Digital helps us grow, but people need to stay at the centre

When you start a business, there’s always a chance that people blur into the background – you have to focus on numbers, sales and growth. As you grow, more people join you – both your team and the number of people who use your platform. Sometimes I ask myself if I’m changing the world in any way. It’s enough for me to know that I’ve encouraged one person to put themselves forward for promotion after returning from parental leave. 73% of our users say that their leadership skills have developed through their life transitions. It’s the truth – but it only comes out when you’re asking the right questions. Every person who takes part on a Lifeed journey will have an impact on the people around them. Everything has a knock-on effect.