“The main fuel to speed the world’s progress is our stock of knowledge, and the brake is our lack of imagination.” -Julian Simon
In 2018, many of the ways of life we know are changing rapidly. The 1950s version of the American dream tends to be fading fast. It used to be… you grow up, you go through school, go to college, get a job/start a business, and work until retirement. Pretty simple, right?
Nowadays, that simplistic life isn’t always attainable. Households have to have two incomes because the cost of living is constantly rising, communication is instant & global, and people are left with the decision to either invest in themselves to grow – or get left behind. In fact, Dell is predicting that by 2030, 85% of jobs that will exist haven’t been invented yet.
With all these rapid changes taking place around us, how can you navigate them?
Here are three steps you can take to make sure you don’t get left behind.
1. Focus on your strengths
Not everyone wants to write code, become a data scientist, or be center stage as a keynote speaker. That’s completely alright.
As you were pursuing your degree, I’m sure you began to see where your talents were. Did you enjoy writing – whether that be creatively or educationally? Did you enjoy giving presentations or coming up with business ideas? Perhaps some of the work experience you has revealed areas that you’re interested in.
My advice: take your interests and your strengths and hone those skills! You will become an expert much faster.
The word expert is abused today, when I reference it, I’m talking about Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that expert level at anything takes 10,000 hours of practice to accomplish.
I emphasize this because skills such as storytelling or professional networking take time to become expert at. However, once you do- mastery of a skill is timeless. Plus, do you really want to spend 10,000 hours doing something that you don’t enjoy?
2. Find your weaknesses & decide how to supplement them
Typically, one of the most common job interview questions you will get asked at some point if you haven’t already is – what’s your greatest weakness, and tell me a time when you had to overcome it?
Does this one make you cringe? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The nice thing is, with technology being so innovative nowadays there are plenty of ways that you can supplement your weaknesses. For example in my case, I consider myself a slow typer. Most people are shocked when they learn that I’ve been in the tech industry for years and am a slow typist. Side note, Mavis Beacon is your friend. 😉
The question then becomes how can I supplement this weakness? Two ways, either by the use of video (communicating in a short concise way) or simply using speak-to-text. Those are just two easy ways of many I’ve been able to identify as a way to supplement my weakness. You can do the same with yours. Technology in most cases can make up for skills we humans lack.
3. Never forget you’re not alone – find a mentor or resource that you can trust
Thankfully, as you grow in your career you’ll meet people. Imagine for a second your career is a movie, in your movie you play the star. Your colleagues, bosses, friends, and family play the supporting cast. As you have experiences in your movie, some of the supporting cast will come and go. And then sometimes there will be some supporting cast that will remain with you throughout your journey.
My advice: Find mentors, trusted advisors, or other respected individuals that you can count on to see trends and the big picture of what’s happening around us. Add them to your “supporting cast.” This will help you navigate through your career. LinkedIn has made this a big initiative and even Facebook is following suit.
Some criteria I consider before choosing a person of influence…
What’s their experience level? Have they had both successes and failures in their career to learn from? Are they authentic at their core? Can they bring you value in some form?
In summation, it’s important to remember that your career is a marathon and not a sprint. There will be hurdles, there will be let-downs, and hopefully there will be some successes. Just remember, you have gifts & talents, you have skills that make those up, and if you surround yourself with the right people – your potential is limitless.
I’m ready to roll the sleeves up if you are. Let’s get to work!