It is not about them – it is about YOU making choices to own your future now.
What or who are you waiting for? What seems safe, secure and comfortable right now may not be helping you navigate this turbulent new world order. Hiding and keeping your head down may seem less risky but it might just hurt more than changing the way you think and stepping out to say, ‘Hello World!’.
- It is not about waiting for permission and being selected – it is about choosing yourself, stepping up and volunteering. It is about doing whatever you need to – to get in the game, get noticed, build your confidence and get the right experiences. Also, if you do get chosen you will already have the right mindset to make the most of it for you and if you don’t get chosen, you are better prepared to make things work out for you.
- It is not about what you do – it is about what you bring to their table, showing how you add value and staying relevant. The objective is to shift your thinking, find the right projects or experiences, measure your contribution, adapt as you learn and deliver results. Then reflect, learn and repeat.
- It is not about long term prospects – it is about 3 to 7 year plans where you refine, renew, relearn, refresh and reinvent yourself. The scale and pace of change take long term off limits for the foreseeable future. Do hold on to a vision for your future life and invest your resources (energy, time, money, connections) with that in mind but get very agile in how you get there. Invest in Plan A, but as they say, if that does not work out, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet, just pivot and try something else.
- It is not about paths and ladders – it is more of a maze where meaningful experiences, contributions, belonging, making progress and personal growth matter more. You will have to reinvent yourself and your career many times during your working life. You might as well start mastering the skills to get good at it now.
- It is not about being a good employee – it is about doing your best, delivering on your commitments and contributing to the business success whilst building your own brand. Loyalty first in ‘new normal’ means to yourself and those you support. It does not detract from the work you do or service you provide, it enhances it by putting it in this new context.
- It is not about annual appraisals and personal development plans – it is about being the architect of the vision and builder of the plans, to deliver the life you want to live. How can your current role help you achieve this? You need a plan and an approach – create your own system to establish goals and measure, get feedback, validate with testimonials, build your brand and develop you.
- It is not about relying on a business to provide you with and pay for, adhoc training opportunities they choose – it is about selectively using company and other resources available to you – to invest in yourself to increase your value and options. Get good at the fundamentals but also be strategic, by being focused and creative in the choices you make to open up new opportunities for your future.
- It is not about going on courses to collect certificates and qualifications – it is about learning experiences, projects and profitable skill building. A certificate merely proves you went on a course whereas a project review with anecdotes and testimonials proves you played in the game. Choose wisely. You also need to work out what you need to unlearn as much as what you need to learn.
- It is not about having an up to date CV or LinkedIn Profile – it is about knowing who you want to be and building your personal brand around that. This includes getting comfortable with who you are and what you offer the world, creating genuine connections with others, being supportive and generous, building an authentic network, maintaining active social profiles and regularly sharing a point of view that gets you noticed. Remember, most of the good work opportunities do not get advertised – you need a network to find them and a viewpoint worth listening to.
- It is not just about talent and specialist expertise – it is about your whole story – talent, attitude, skills, knowhow, experiences and deliverables (TASKED) – and how you tell it! It is about the successes, the lessons and most importantly, the setbacks. In 2020 the ability to show how you have dealt with adversity, turned things round for yourself and got back in the game – is the story worth telling.
There is a new skillset and mindset that will help you navigate this changing world – there will be many challenges over the next few years but there will also many great new opportunities. So be courageous, choose yourself and own your future. Lastly whilst it can be useful to keep your vision and compass near at hand – you need make the most of whatever happens, be open to sudden changes in direction and find simple ways to enjoy the journey.
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