Soft skills are a game changer for career development and business growth and it's time for employers, government, educators, parents - everyone - to take action to recognise, promote and improve them. Part of the success in my journey wasn't about my qualifications or experience, but it was the value I gave to soft skills that helped me get to where I am today.
One of the most flattering things in the professional world is getting headhunted on behalf of a renowned company. If someone rings you out of the blue and takes an interest in you, it is a sure sign that you are doing all the right things in your current job. When I started my first headhunting firm many years ago, almost every time I approached a candidate on behalf of a prestigious company their self-esteem would instantly be boosted. It would be a very risky approach to sit back and purely wait to be headhunted but when great opportunities do present themselves over the course over a career it is always important to grasp them.
I wonder if the word 'bossy' is a western term, I can't quite imagine having been in the Kiberan slums someone ever being referred to as bossy. A survivor yes, bossy, I doubt it. So, if you are fortunate enough to have strong-willed girls in your life make sure your words and actions promote their natural leadership skills, empower them not destroy them.
Nowadays I invest primarily in people who want to do what I did - become their own boss. I'm a firm believer that if you are prepared to put the effort in, there is no reason why you can't successfully run your own business... Technology has since come on leaps and bounds, which means you can access data and generate leads like never before. And the advent of social media means that building a brand and marketing yourself has become that little bit easier.
For many, January marks the first month of a fresh start and it is the ideal time to decide what we want to get out of the year ahead by taking on new challenges. Whether it's making the decision to get and stay fit, or taking on a new hobby you've always planned on doing, there's always something new to try.
With almost three quarters of British adults unable to remember some or all of the gifts they were bought last Christmas, I am joining CARE International UK's campaign to stop people squandering their hard earned cash on last minute throw away buys. Rather than the usual deluge of socks, soap and chocolate we're urging people to consider a lasting and memorable gift idea by giving vouchers for the micro-lending charity site, www.lendwithcare.org. The site enables people in the UK to lend small sums of money (from £15) to poor entrepreneurs in developing countries, helping them start or expand their small business, feed their families and send their children to school.
It Is hard when you find something you love so much and to know that from the moment you leave the Strictly bubble, it will never be like that again. But business has taught me nothing if not pragmatism and there is no point wallowing and wondering because some things in life you just can't change and you certainly can't go back.