Community//

How to Future-Proof Your Career with Ryan Foland

Let’s face it. Our world is changing, and we need to know how to keep up. Working in healthcare, I am prone to working long hours, and dealing with high levels of stress. But does it always have to be that way? The idea of “future-proofing” my career is something that I have thought of […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

Let’s face it. Our world is changing, and we need to know how to keep up. Working in healthcare, I am prone to working long hours, and dealing with high levels of stress. But does it always have to be that way?

The idea of “future-proofing” my career is something that I have thought of as I try to strike a balance between doing the best job I can, while being aware of and working towards my longer career goals. 

So, in order to get some insight from someone not in health care, I turned to Ryan Foland, a speaker, author, and stick figure drawer. I usually turn to his Twitter feed for my daily dose of simple and powerful stick figure drawings. 

Ryan works at the University of California, Irvine, is a keynote speaker, and Managing Partner of InfluenceTree where he helps executives harness the power of vulnerability and authenticity to build a better, more relatable, more profitable personal brand. His book Ditch The Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success, will be published in October 2019 by McGraw-Hill. And the good news is that you can pre-order the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Join me as I ask Ryan his thoughts and insights, including things he wished he knew that we can start doing now!

_______

How can we future proof our career? What skills and experiences do we need to learn?

Yes, the world has changed. And it will keep changing.  It used to be that in order to secure a career, being an expert was enough. Now you have to be able to document your expertise. 

The best way to future proof your career is when you solidify yourself as an expert, and can prove it. Documenting your skills and expertise is the foundation to building a strong personal brand.  Do you have a personal brand? What is a personal brand? 

A personal brand is what you want to be known for.

The reality is that people who don’t know you will make decisions about you based on the information that they can find. This is why you must discover what you want to be known for.  

Your personal brand is essentially the collective information you share about yourself on your website, online feedback, and social profiles. It includes content you create like blogs, images, and videos. It also includes the content that others produce about you, like features in publications, podcast interviews, and online reviews (both good and bad ones). When all of the bits of information about you are put together, it forms a representation of you. 

That “you” is your personal brand. 

A personal brand is what you want to be known for.

The reality is that people who don’t know you will make decisions about you based on the information that they can find. This is why you must discover what you want to be known for.  

Your personal brand is essentially the collective information you share about yourself on your website, online feedback, and social profiles. It includes content you create like blogs, images, and videos. It also includes the content that others produce about you, like features in publications, podcast interviews, and online reviews (both good and bad ones). When all of the bits of information about you are put together, it forms a representation of you. 

That “you” is your personal brand. 

Everyone has a personal brand already, but not everyone is taking control of their own narrative. Using the 3-1-3 Method can help professionals learn how to position themselves by defining what makes them unique. It is a great starting point. 

Once you can clearly define the problem you solve, your solution, and your market, it will help you keep focus. This focus will guide the content that you can create. And when you create more content around your expertise, you will start to become known for it. 

Also, it is important to note that when you share, you should be sharing more that just the good. As discussed in Ditch the Act, the way to really connect with people comes when you “ditch the act” and learn to share not just the good, but also the silly things, failures, and emotions you have as a human, in your journey. 

If you establish yourself as an authentic expert, you will end up with a strong personal brand to prove it. That is how you future proof your career. If you want a roadmap on how to do this, pre-order a copy of Ditch the Act, as it breaks down our 8 step brand building process, and includes 12 worksheets to help you go step by step!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1.Build your personal website. 

I often tell people that the only thing you own online is your website. You don’t own your Twitter profile, you don’t own your Facebook friends, you don’t own anything except for what sits on your personal website.

I still am fascinated with how many people have not built their own personal website. 

Think of it as a land grab. In this digital age, the new real estate is online. And you should be meticulous about how you want to showcase this real estate. What I’ve realised is that people get so caught up in the design and content of the website that they miss out on one of the most crucial elements– that is– their domain name.

Your domain name is your personal online address–often the first touchpoint to your brand. I chose (dot)ONLINE to brand myself. It’s a unique domain extension that helps me build a relevant brand for myself. In fact, I use ryan.online as a short link to promote my content on the internet. It’s a branding opportunity that everyone should make the most of. 

Your domain name and short links are all valuable real estate that can be branded. 

If you have not searched for and purchased a domain for your website, someone else will grab it. The sooner that you get your website up, the sooner you can start to create your most valuable asset online. 

Your online “house.”

The place where you invite people to. 

Your own website.

The portal to everything that you do. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a corporate job or if you are an entrepreneur or even if you are unemployed. It is crucial to have your own website so that you have a place that you own. I wish someone would have told me this a long time ago. If I had built my website RyanFoland.com 10 years ago, it would be ranking differently than it is today.

 So go and grab a domain that fits your name. There are so many easy website building tools that there is no excuse not to get something up and going soon. Or consider getting a domain with a non “.com” extension, like my website ryan.online.  Doing so can help you grab a domain that is easy to remember and easy to spell out. 

2. Start collecting email addresses. 

Over the years, I have collected thousands of business cards, but only until recently have I realized the importance of gathering those emails and centralizing them into a single database. 

As the world relies more and more on social media to keep in touch with your contacts, it’s easy to forget that you do not own that data. You simply cannot rely on existing social media platforms to always be around. 

In writing Ditch the Act with Leonard Kim , I realized the extreme value of having my contacts centralized and easily accessible. It has been a nightmare to try to go backwards and build my email list retrospectively. 

I wish someone had told me how important it is to not only maintain an updated email database, but also how important it is to stay in front of those contacts over the years. I find myself working to warm up these contacts as I reach out to share my new book, and if I had kept in touch with them over the years, it would have been so much easier.

3. Be an early adopter. 

I wish somebody told me to buy Bitcoin years ago. I wish somebody told me to start a YouTube channel when YouTube first came out. I wish somebody told me the importance of being an early adopter on some of the technology platforms as they came out. 

There is no denying that there is  a first-mover advantage. 

Now, I look for those opportunities and jump on them as quickly. In today’s market, with new technology platform showing up left and right, it’s hard to know which might be the next big thing. Keeping a keen eye out and staying ahead of the curve can pay its weight in gold if you time it right.

4. Learn how to edit video. 

As a professional speaker, one of the most important assets I have is proof of my speaking skills. We live in a world where you cannot just be an expert, but you have to be an expert with documented proof of your expertise. A great way to document your expertise is through video. 

I found that capturing the video is one challenge, but editing that video is something completely different. I would suggest investing the time and effort into learning how to become a proficient video editor. 

The great news is that your smartphone takes 4K footage these days, and your laptop  can handle editing software that years prior would not be possible. Video is and will continue to be one of the most engaging medium of content. You will save yourself a lot of time and money if you learn how to edit videos yourself. This is actually a skill that I am reinvesting now so that I can be quicker at editing videos of my talks and creating content that is more engaging for my followers.

Get a bookkeeper. 

As I’ve become more successful as an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to make more money. I have a unique situation in that I work at a full-time job and have a full-time side hustle running InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, we have courses that teach people how to build personal brands and work directly with executive clients to build their brands. 

One of the things that I dislike the most is doing my taxes. 

It is not my strength, but it is a necessary evil. 

I wish someone would have told me a long time ago to hire a bookkeeper. 

A bookkeeper is someone who helps you keep your books each month so that when it comes time for taxes, you have hardly any work to do since you’ve been doing it the entire year. To this day, taxes are a huge thorn in my side and having a bookkeeper makes that pain go away.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? What are your success mindsets?

The biggest principle that I live by is to do good and be kind. 

That means not only to other people but also to yourself. When it comes to other people, you should always treat them with respect, you should listen to them, you should be there to support and help them in good times and bad. 

I am passionate about supporting diversity and inclusion and I truly believe that we should all look out for each other. It can be as simple as a smile or having a conversation with someone or giving a compliment. It is practicing what Keith Ferrazzi calls co-elevation, the process of supporting others around you at work, to help them achieve what they want, which in return, can help you get what you want. 

Truly, when we all work together to help be the best we can be, we all win. 

When it comes to success mindsets, I live by one simple fact. Successful people are not successful because they are doing what everybody else cannot do. Successful people are doing what everyone else can do but not everyone does. I remind myself of this all the time and focus on the small efforts that I can make every day that leads to big results– things like drinking more water, working out regularly, waking up earlier, creating content daily, and of course, drawing stick figures everyday. 

So many people are looking for hacks and shortcuts, but they end up wasting time looking for easy answers when the easy answer is just to get started a little bit each day.

How can our readers follow you on social media? 

When it comes to social media my favorite platform is Twitter, therefore that’s the best place to find me. I am on Instagram and Facebook and Medium and Cora and other places where I distribute content, but I am most active and engaged on Twitter. 

Tweet, tweet. 

Also, you can follow my book @ditchtheact

To find my other social media channels and my 4 TEDx talks, you can visit my website Ryanfoland.com.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Personal Branding and the 3-1-3 Method: Behind the Scenes with Ryan Foland

by Christina D. Warner, MBA
Community//

5 Personal Branding Secrets With Ryan Foland(No.3 Will Shock You)

by Vanky Kenny Kataria
Well-Being//

23 Lessons I Learned About Life, Doing Work That Matters, And Writing By Reading Ryan Holiday

by Michael Thompson

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.