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10 Ways to Thrive and Lead in the 21st Century

Leadership is within our grasp

The future is exciting for many people but for others it is also a cause for anxiety. With so much talk about Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and Robots that might take over our jobs this is not an easy time. The future irrespective of which era we lived in is uncertain. I still think the opportunities available to all of us are enormous provided we ride successfully in this era of uncertainty. I have identified the following 10 keys to thrive in the future of uncertainty and take charge of your career.

Be abreast of the trends – With the explosion in data, information, technology, change and competition it is imperative that you ride this wave of change by being well informed on what the future looks like. What you are doing today may not work in another 5 years. One skill which will never become obsolete is the ability to move others and increasing your sales skills is vital in the new era. So be on the lookout for changes and disrupt yourself before you get disrupted. Look at Kodak which was thriving as a business in the mid 1990’s and even had the first digital camera in their pockets. However, they refused to see the change and were left lurking in the dark. We don’t know what might happen but one thing is sure if you don’t keep rolling with the changes survival is tough. As Jim Collins says “Always ask yourself how much time before the risk profile changes.”

Find work that matters – Not all of us may follow our passion. However, considering the changes coming this is the time to love your work and bring your best self to ensure you are indispensable. If you love your work, then it is not drudgery and your joy in life also increases. There is no way to have continuous happiness without loving your work. Take a deep look into yourself and find out how you can enjoy what you do while earning money. If we link a higher meaning with the work we do we will find greater joy.

Learn incessantly – Whether it is Thomas Edison or John Adams or any other successful person in my studies all of them were avid readers. To ride the wave of change which is approaching us we need to be consuming information every single day. The great news is all the information needed for us to thrive is available to us mostly free of cost. Find the experts in your field, connect with them, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts and document what you have learned. If you do this on a continuous basis you will succeed.

Be a Leader in your life and work – Leaders will always be in demand. Become proactive about your career. Attitude is contagious so as a leader you want to set an amazing example of optimism which can radiate throughout the organization you lead. Set an example by leading from the heart, taking calculated risks, treating people well, showing impeccable manners and finally sharing credit with the team always.

Tap into your creativity– Exhaustive research shows that everyone has genius potential. We all have creative abilities latent within us and it is up to us to record every idea we get. Engage in design thinking and have a notebook or journal to record all ideas you get. Some of the ways to be creative are have some alone time, exercise vigorously, write down all your ideas, discuss with creatives, read about creative people and finally keep taking some action on your ideas. Wired to create is a wonderful book on this subject. Here is my review of that book. Wired to Create Review

Financial Security – It is more important now than ever to make sure you have a financial plan for your life. Your job may not have the security it once had so it is imperative to save more for a rainy day. Read some excellent financial books and make sure you invest in your future. Invest for the long haul. The stock market goes up and down and even the most astute stock brokers cannot beat the market so don’t try that. Instead invest for the long haul and stay patient. Of course, having a conversation with a financial expert is the best way to get this ball rolling.

Develop a Unique Selling Proposition – The only thing that will not be obsolete is the ability to learn new skills. If you want to retain your USP and prevent brain drain then it is imperative to keep developing the talents of yourself. The key is for you to be known for a specific niche. When someone talks about you they should be able to talk about your USP. With your USP you will be able to get job security.

Welcome Feedback – No matter how good you are there are areas you can improve. The only way to learn about ourselves is when we get feedback from our boss or mentors. Be open to feedback and take action on your areas of weakness. Not all feedback maybe accurate that’s why great self-knowledge will help to understand yourself better.

Self-reliance – Developing self-reliance means you are your own boss. Manage your career as the CEO of your life. It is your responsibility to keep upgrading your skills, taking certifications, being current and reading books in your area of expertise. Once you see yourself as the path maker in your life you will become self-reliant and the organization will also benefit from your work. Being self-reliant is not a choice but a requirement to excel in your field. Actually, it has become a recent trend to talk about being the CEO of your career, but Andy Grove wrote about this way back in his 1996 book Only the Paranoid Survive. His main point was all of us are now in charge of our careers.

Stay Resilient – Grit is the number one quality needed for success. Develop resilience by having a core set of beliefs that nothing can shake, looking for the good into every problem, replacing worry with purposeful action, having a mission statement and always bouncing back from temporary setbacks. With the future uncertain there is no doubt you will face setbacks and it is important to stay resilient. Here is my article on 10 Tips to Develop Resilience

There you have it the 10 ways you can get the most out of yourself and thrive in the 21st Century. The ultimate throttle on the growth of yourself is the lack of knowledge so keep increasing your knowledge. In an era of change staying relevant is the key. This is not an easy ride, but we need to take it to really thrive and perform.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article.

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.

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