Are You Ready to Future Proof Your Career?
I had the pleasure to interview Diana Wu David in the podcast episode, Future Proof: Reinventing Work in the Age of Acceleration with Diana Wu David.
The book outlines a three-step process to future proof your career:
- Learn: How and why the world of work is changing
- Cultivate: The virtues to stay engaged and relevant
- Maximize: The impact of your actions
The cultivate step is broken down into 4 steps:
- Find Focus
In this post on how to future-proof your career, I want to explore the experiment step. I know this is maybe scary but let’s learn to take small steps to make this happen.
The Experimental Mindset
Are you willing to experiment and try new things in your career? For many of us who have been working 20, 30, or even 40 years we see that as taking a risk. What if we fail? Most of us were raised with the motto “failure is not an option” ingrained into our psyche. This can be scary stuff.
I wrote a post several years ago, Failure Is Not an Option Is Total BS, that some of my greatest learning experiences came from failing. Diana Wu David states is a little differently:
Fail Fast, Fail Forward
Similarly, in the podcast episode, What is Your Mindset Right Now? Are Ready to Change It? Diann Wingert stated that there is success or feedback.
Experimentation is all about your willingness to try new things and be willing to learn from the experience. For many of you, this will mean shifting your mindset to taking risks.
I wrote a 3-part series a few months before the pandemic started that I suggest you read:
- Perceived and Real Risks in the 2nd Half Of Life
- What Types of Risk are You Taking in the 2nd Half Of Life?
- How to Mitigate Risk in the 2nd Half of Life
If you are willing to experiment and try new things on a regular basis you will go a long way to future-proof your career.
Start Small and Actionable
Diana Wu David suggests you develop an annual professional or personal learning goal. She states:
Every year, consider something new you can try and learn and grow.
This might be volunteering to take on a new project, participate in a professional organization, take online courses in a new area, or present at a conference.
The important point is to get started.
Build a Practice
Just like learning to play an instrument takes practice, the same applies when you are learning to experiment in your career.
Identify a single, concrete, actional step to grow a new skill. This will be an interactive process where you will implement, reflect on the results, and determine your next steps.
This can be referred to as lifehacking. Go ahead and google “lifehacking”. Look for other experiments you can try.
Find a Big Problem to Solve
I wrote a post, Find a Problem to Solve. That Will Lead to a Job, where I discussed if you want to find a job that is a fit for you, find a problem that you want to solve, has a purpose, and then go do it.
If you want to future-proof your career, make yourself relevant to solve problems that you are passionate about. In today’s world, it is important that your skills are relevant to the problems that need to be solved today and tomorrow.
Build a Network of other Innovators
With each new experiment, you will want to find like-minded souls to go on the journey with you. This will require you to forge new relationships with people you might not have considered before.
The more you experiment, you may well discover people to whom you would not have considered reaching out in the past. I would suggest you be bold in reaching out. You may be surprised who responds.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
In the podcast episode, The Entrepreneurial Mindset for an Accidental Entrepreneur with Diann Wingert, Diann made a statement that has really stuck with me. She said:
You have to wrap your head around the concept that you have to get started before you are ready.
If you wait until you are ready, you will likely never get started.
For many of you, this will be pretty scary but you need not be afraid. The more you experiment in your career you will find this easier to do each time.
I will be writing several blog posts based on the concept of how to future-proof your career in the future.
Have you experimented in your career?
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