I talk a lot about productivity, tools, and hacks. Chances are that if you are on the hunt for a tool, I could recommend something that would work.
You could have every tool in your arsenal, have a top-notch resume, know all the words to avoid in your email, and have your morning routine down to a science. But none of that is going to matter if you don’t have some basic soft skills.
What do I mean by soft skills?
I’m talking about emotional intelligence, accountability, responsibility, dependability, and good work ethic.
It’s one thing to say you possess these things on your resume or in an interview, but to practice them daily is another thing entirely.
These days, you can pick up a free online course to learn a new skill, attend a professional development conference, or network with people that possess a skill you want to learn. The world is your oyster if you want to up your career game by finally learning Excel.
But the truth is, most employers are willing to support you when it comes to learning a technical skill that will not only benefit you but be a tremendous asset to the company’s business goals.
#1 Work Ethic
What is harder to find is people that have a bulletproof mindset when it comes to their work ethic. Now before I go any further, I really need to unpack this idea of a work ethic because I’m not just talking about showing up late for work.
The Google definition of work ethic is: “the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.”
To unpack that even further, I looked up the definition of virtuous: “having or showing high moral standards.”
It means that doing good work in and of itself should give you a sense of pride–not out of any expectation from your boss, your co-workers, or any monetary gain. Of course, we want our work to count for something and to be rewarded. But the difference here is that you are enjoying the work for the work itself and not because you expect something in return. You genuinely care about doing your best work because it’s who you are and you want to continue to be a valuable asset to the company where you work.
#2 A Dose of Stoicism
Let’s face it. No matter where your career takes you in life, there are things (even at your dream job) that you are going to dislike. There will be things that excite you in the beginning, that still end up feeling like work in the end.
You may have emotional responses to change that occurs in your business or at your company. These are the hard facts of life. But anything that changes whether it be processes, tools, colleagues, organizational structure, etc., is all external. It all happens outside of your control. The only thing that you are able to control is your emotions and how you react to these situations.
People often confuse stoicism with having no emotional response at all. I was one of those people. After researching more, I learned that stoicism is more about practicing self-control. Employers appreciate employees they can count on to remain calm during a crisis and upbeat during a change.
We all know that change is inevitable. Ironically, it’s the one thing you can count on NOT to change is that change is always happening. What makes a person who they are is how they deal with it.
To learn more about practicing stoicism, I recommend checking out The Daily Stoic. When you subscribe to their newsletter, they deliver daily stoic philosophies using storytelling to your inbox each morning. It’s part of my morning routine!
In a world of convenience, people have become accustomed to living life in a certain way. We purchase necessities online and have it delivered to our house (sometimes that same day). We have the entire knowledge of the world in the palm of our hands and spend our time scrolling through tiny houses on Instagram (guilty!).
This convenience has set in us a kind of entitlement or expectation for how other people should be treating us rather than how we should be treating other people. We’ve lost our sense of accountability and practice our finger pointing on a daily basis.
When it comes to your career, you can probably point out more than a few times where you made a mistake. Sometimes we even make mistakes we don’t realize until later. But what separates the sheep from the herd is the maturity and wisdom to be accountable for your own actions (re: words). This takes a certain amount of self-awareness to see your own actions and words from outside your perspective and determine whether they were right or wrong.
But practicing accountability not only helps you grow from your mistakes, but your colleagues will also respect you for being able to put your ego aside and admit that you messed up. No one is perfect and no one should expect you to be. But I argue that being able to admit a mistake should be expected from everyone.
This is a big one, especially if you plan on working a remote job. And to make sure we are all on the same page, I looked up the definition from Google:
“the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”
In other words, being a decent human being is something I think everyone should expect from anyone regardless of the job, location, industry, etc.
If you expect to get anywhere in life, not just in your career, you need to be honest and you need to have a good moral compass. There are absolute truths in life that everyone can agree upon that transcend religion, politics, culture, and geolocation.
This means that if you see someone stealing or doing something illegal, you do the right thing. It means that you follow the rules of your company. It means that you do what you say will do. It means that you treat everyone with kindness and respect regardless of how they treat you.
I know it sounds silly to talk about being a decent human being when it comes to your career, but you would be surprised how many people in corporate America have completely forgotten what that means.
These are just a few of the soft skills I believe it takes to be a successful remote employee, but I believe them to be the most important. The great thing about these soft skills is it doesn’t just apply to work from home, but will help you be successful in life in general. All aspects of our life will require us to call upon these skills from time to time. But in order to start practicing any of them, you must practice self-awareness.
You guessed it–I looked up the definition:
“conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.”
You don’t necessarily need to be self-aware to land a remote job. Here on The Daily Remote, we value self-awareness out of all of the above skills because it takes a certain amount of self-awareness in order to develop them.
When you become more self-aware, you can recognize your strengths and weakness more easily and are able to take action to improve yourself.
This soft skill will help you not only in your career (landing a remote gig), but it will help you in every other aspect of your life.
Consider developing these habits to help you become more self-aware:
- Ask for feedback from close friends and family
Now I want to hear from you–do you agree or disagree? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!