Last updated: 22.09.20

Five skills people want to develop in their personal lives

Five skills people want to develop in their personal lives

As part of the launch of our personal and professional development skills suite, we conducted research to find out what skills people wanted to develop both professionally and for their personal lives. 

Our ‘five skills your employees want to develop’ highlighted the skills that were in demand by professionals, as revealed by our research. The article dived into each skill and how an organisation can support its employees to gain them. 

As an organisation invested in the learning and development of people, we also wanted to find out other in-demand skills. The data, which was sent to a sample of 49,000 contacts, revealed that the following five skills are the ones people want to develop to help them in their personal lives: 

  • Confidence
  • Dealing with stressful situations
  • Personal development and self-awareness 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience 

We’ll explore how each skill benefits your personal life and show you how to develop them. 


At number one on our list we have confidence. Interestingly, confidence was also on the top five skills employees wanted in their professional lives. It seems the need for confidence is apparent in all stages of life; whether it’s to help build relationships, communicate better or speak up for yourself, we all need some confidence. 

Where does confidence come from? Simply put, confidence is the inner belief we have as individuals that we are capable and good at something. Translated into real life, that inner belief motivates us to be more assertive, communicate better and overcome our fears.

For those of us who struggle with confidence, some simple confidence-building techniques will help you to gain that inner belief. A lack of confidence can hinder our relationships, opportunities and can have a negative impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Try developing your confidence with these techniques

Dealing with stressful situations 

We all encounter stress. Some of us handle it better than others but stress affects each and every one of us in different ways. Unsurprisingly then, our data revealed it as the second most in-demand skill that people wanted to develop to help them in their personal lives. 

Stress can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s health, from fatigue and anxiety to more serious issues like chest pains and heart problems. Learning how to deal with stress is a vital life skill, and there are tons of resources and information out there to help you manage stress. Take a look at our dealing with stressful situations course for more information. 

Personal development and Self-Awareness

The third on our list of most in-demand skills is personal development and self-awareness. Personal development is a life-long process, a way for individuals to assess their skills routinely and take action to develop those they lack or need improving. Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself objectively through reflection and retrospection. 

In order to develop yourself you need to possess the ability to see where the development is required and self-awareness is the tool that allows you to do that. We all need areas of our lives that could do with improvement, whether you want to curb your procrastination, develop better time-keeping or get fit and healthy, they all require the determination to develop. 

The first step is to carry out an analysis of what your goals are and then create a personal development plan that suits you. You can also use SMART targets so that your goals can be tracked and are achievable. We’ve also developed a free short course on personal development and self-awareness that you can take here

Emotional intelligence 

Fourth on our list of in-demand skills we have emotional intelligence. A critical skill needed in our personal lives, emotional intelligence is the ability to use, understand and manage your own emotions. 

Everyone requires the ability to understand their emotions. Emotions are what drive us as individuals to make decisions, communicate, empathise and overcome difficult situations. Emotional intelligence is the baseline for how we handle ourselves, thus when it comes to our personal lives and developing ourselves having emotional intelligence is vital. 

You can develop your emotional intelligence in many ways, such as being more aware of yourself, looking at your environment and understanding how you react to others. To understand how developing your emotional intelligence will help you with your personal development take a look at our short course here


The last skill on our list of in demand skills people need for their personal lives is resilience. A skill which is highly important in life, resilience is the ability to recover from difficult situations. 

Life throws us many curve balls and as individuals the way we deal with situations is what shapes us. How we handle stress, how we overcome hard times and how we react to situations beyond our control make us either stronger and able to deal with harder challenges or not as strong and unable to cope with the demands of life. 

Resilience is a fantastic tool for personal development, one which can really help you in your personal life. If you want to develop resilience try some simple techniques such as facing your fears, changing the narrative when you're in a difficult situation or even showing yourself some compassion. Take our free short course to find out how you can develop your own resilience.

Skills for life

Whether you lack confidence, need help building your self-esteem and resilience or just want to deal with your emotions better, the first step is to understand the change that is needed. Once you recognise what needs changing, taking action, being motivated and determined to achieve your goals is what will help you personally develop. 

The skills that have been identified through our research are easy to develop, through seeking the right advice and practice anyone can become more confident, a better communicator, resilient and self-aware.

We understand that personal development is personal. Our advice and training has been developed using specialist subject matter experts who understand each topic area to bring you the best and most accurate advice, tips and techniques possible. We also understand that investing in yourself isn't always easy or inexpensive which is why we’ve made some of our core personal development courses available for free. 

View all our personal and professional development courses here, also keep an eye out in our resources section for our upcoming personal and professional development resources.