Every day we think of three things: the past, the present, and the future.
When we think about the past and the future, we should use them both to shape our present.
The past is just that, in the past. Don’t dwell on it but use it as a learning opportunity.
The future cannot be predicted. Don’t try.
However, the future can be influenced.
What do I mean by this?
Well, the things you do today will no doubt have an impact on the future. We just don’t always know in what ways.
One thing I can guarantee is if you spend time each day doing something you want to get better at, you’ll be better at it in the future. You may not know to what degree, but you’ll be better. That’s an example of you directly influencing your future.
In my case, I don’t necessarily know what I’ll be doing professionally two years, five years, or ten years from now. The company I work for now isn’t large enough to have a clear career path. I report directly to the President of the company. There’s nothing in between.
That doesn’t mean that I should act as if there are no other roles to grow into and be satisfied with keeping my skills and experience static. It’s imperative that I continue to learn and grow in ways that will eventually shape my role, even if it may not change my job title. But job titles are invented anyway, so who cares. If you get hung up on a job title, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.
Hell, things may eventually work out to where I never work directly for another company again. Maybe I’ll find a way to monetize the skills and experience I currently have and begin to partner with companies instead of working for them.
I choose to focus on the journey and my growth, not the outcomes. Which means not trying to predict the future. I plan to control what I can control, which is what I learn and how I show up every day. What I choose to work on and, just as importantly, what I choose not to work on.
I plan to focus on being malleable and agile.
You will always work for you
As the economy and the world continue to change, so should we. There is so much uncertainty right now that it doesn’t make sense not to diversify our abilities. Which, doing so, can also lead to creating a diversified income stream.
Uncertainty is the main reason we’re not advised to put all of our money in one investment, so why would we do the same with our income?
The internet is leveling the playing field for people to monetize their abilities. Being able to market yourself is only increasing in importance. I genuinely believe this will be the difference between people being left behind and those who continue to thrive in the future.
There will always be people who know more than you, but there will also be people who know less but want to know more. Those are the people you can help.
There will also always be people and companies with problems to be overcome and solved. You can help with that as well.
What’s one skill you have that others would like to learn?
You may be saying, “this is fine and all, but what if I don’t want to work for myself?” That’s a valid question.
In my opinion, you may always work for an employer, but you’re going to be working for yourself. You’ll need to become good at marketing yourself, providing examples of how you work, how you think, and some of your work itself.
That’s why it’s important to be active in places like LinkedIn and Quora. People will learn more about you through those mediums than they ever could in a one-hour interview. Take advantage of it. Our ability to show up and be visible at scale has never been so achievable in history.
The best jobs will find you, not the other way around.
Another important aspect of this will be to regularly audit your current skills and experience against the skills and experience you’ll need to continue to grow and remain attractive to future employers or clients.
This is crucial to identify where you should focus your professional development. Do you need to get better at writing or storytelling? What about copywriting?
When you look at people in roles you’d like to eventually be in, do you notice any trends around a specific type of skill or experience? What do they all have in common?
This same point of reference can be found in job descriptions as well. What are common titles for future roles you would like to be in? What kind of companies offer these kinds of roles?
Search the job site Indeed for examples of these job descriptions.
What do you see? Does each one talk about a specific skill or type of experience you don’t have? If so, that’s where you should focus your growth efforts for the next year.
In conclusion, the future cannot be predicted, but it can be influenced by focusing on what you can do each day in the present.
What are you going to focus on today that will influence your future?
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