How To Future-proof Your Career

How To Future-proof Your Career

If there is one thing I have learnt in the last one year, it is that you need to future-proof your career. Too much is changing and that change is accelerating. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to changes in the ways most companies deliver their services. And we have not seen the end of the changes we will experience. So, as individual, irrespective of what happens, you need to be ready to embrace the change.

One of the ways to future-proof your career is to have a mind ready to experiment. While this is maybe scary but we can learn to take small steps to make this happen. You have to be willing to experiment and try new things in your career if you must continue to be relevant. For many of us who have been working for several years, we see that as taking a risk. There are so many “what ifs”. What if we fail? What if we take the wrong step? Most of us were raised with the motto “failure is not an option” and this has been ingrained into our psyche. This can be scary stuff.

Experimentation is all about your willingness to try new things and be willing to learn from the experience. For many of us, this will mean shifting our mindset to taking risks. But if you are willing to experiment and try new things on a regular basis, it will go a long way to future-proof your career. Here are some tips.

Have An Annual Learning Goal

The starting point is to develop an annual professional or personal learning goal.

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 even present at a conference. There is a course called Learn how to learn offered for free on Coursera. This might be the best place to start.

No matter what your decision is, 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 and actionable step you need to take to grow a new skill. This will be an interactive process where you will implement, reflect on the results, and determine your next steps. Then, make a commitment to take this step every day.

Find a Problem to Solve

Another thing you need to do is to find a problem that 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. So, be bold in reaching out. You may be surprised who responds.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Yes, you need to get out of your comfort zone. If you wait until you are ready, you will likely never get started.

You have to wrap your head around the concept that you have to get started before you are ready.

For many people, this will be pretty scary but you need not be afraid. The more you experiment in your career, the easier you will find this to do each time. So, take the necessary steps now.

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