We are in the midst of rapid, and exciting, industrial change. Roles that are important today did not exist ten years ago. How many companies were hiring Social Media Mangers in 2006?
We could not predict many of the roles we see today, just like we can't predict what roles will be important in ten years.
The Five Essential Career Skills We Need to Succeed in the Future
More and more people drop out of the workforce to become freelancers, choose off-the-grid lives or work in new, innovative project forms.
We cannot know exactly where globalization and technology will take us. What we can do is build a solid base to support us. Here are five skills I believe will matter.
1. Idea Sex
Introduced by the brilliant James Altucher, this concept explains the magic that happens when ideas marry and create something new and unique.
James suggests that idea generation is like training a muscle, and to write down ten new ideas every day.
We need to keep our idea generation muscles strong by actively flexing them.
- 10 ways I could feed my dog differently?
- What are 10 ways artificial intelligence could be applied to my kitchen?
The ideas in themselves almost do not matter. It's in the practice of combining and marrying ideas, that creativity comes alive.
The future of success lies in solving new and more complex problems. Becoming an expert atidea sex will make you creative and more solution-oriented. This fresh skill puts you ahead in a world that increasingly depends on new solutions.
We are all creative beings. Now is the time to own it.
2. Cultivating Curiosity
Curiosity is something we invite children to develop, but tend to shut down in ourselves.
Curiosity begins and ends with becoming aware, and interested, in the world around us in a deeper way. Simply thinking about the world itself can feed our curiosity.
We live in fascinating world:
- What does air actually consist of?
- How are we surviving on a rock that is hurling through space orbiting a ball of fire at a ridiculous speed?
- How come my colleague is so passionate about helping homeless people?
- Why do I love the color red?
Curiosity not only adds a sense of wonder to our lives. It gives us access to deeper questions, and with that, deeper answers.
And this is how you become invaluable. Not many people ask the important questions. By asking better questions, we get better answers and therefore much higher chances of better results.
Developing a deeper interest in our life and that of others ups our game.
Imagine that your career is a platform. This platform is made up of our strengths, interests and values. It’s about getting clear of what we’re good at, what drives us and knowing where we want to contribute.
When we’ve built our foundation, it is time to take action. On this platform, we stack experiences, trials and errors and connections. This is how we solidify the platform.
Building your platform will be crucial in order to be flexible to the needs of the future. It is also a matter of showing up more in the world, and show others what you've got.
Let’s say you would need to build a website to summarize your experiences, skills, interests, vision and longings in future work. Think about what you would write. Bonus points if you actually build this website :)
4. Change Resilience (i.e. Recession-Proofing)
I feel incredibly lucky to have had a bumpy career.
After quitting my first soul-sucking job after 7 months and taking a step into the startup world, I experienced lay-offs, the financial crisis, acquisitions, being laid off, re-hired, laid off again... Most factors which were out of my control.
A few years into this career path, I realized that my view of what normal, risk and safety meant, had changed.
Safety is not staying in a job as long as we can. Safety in the new era is about re-defining risk for our own life and making our career recession-proof.
When we get comfortable with change, life becomes smoother and fun. We identify and evaluate opportunities differently. Life rewards us for not staying stuck in what is.
So what to do if you feel like change is scary, and far away?
Bring change closer to you.
For me, improvisational theatre turned out to be a game changer for how I interacted with life. See where your fear and excitement takes you; do something different every day, ask an exciting person out for lunch or look at what skill you want to get better at.
5. Constructing Bridges
Technological progress is eroding barriers of location and more of us spend time interacting daily with people from other locations.
And even if we stay put in our city and office - our surroundings, work styles and opportunities surely are affected by this same trend.
A key future skill is to connect and construct.
Your next opportunity will lie in the person you helped out a year ago - with no strings attached. It will lie in taking time to fully understand the perspectives of a colleague from a different country and therefore make a better decision.
Build bridges. Between yourself and others and yourself and perspectives. If you do, the bridge between you and opportunity will keep showing up.
What skill sets are you working on?