The unknown is thrust in our faces every single day as we rush to catch up with some undefined yet omnipresent bar we’ve set for ourselves. COVID-19 accelerated the changes we were beginning to see in the future of work, but many were already underway well before the virus.
Changing back to the old “normal” is not an option. Too many have tasted the freedom this decentralized economic world has brought, and with digital technologies evolving rapidly in the last year, businesses will and can never be the same. Consequently, the need to be fluid — to be able to think, move, adapt, and pivot quickly and efficiently — is everywhere, an individual, company, and market level.
No jobs are safe from these changes. An executive with a track record of success may suddenly falter and never recover, while younger managers with a fresh master’s degree can lap them with repeated successes. Contractors and consultants need to stay at the forefront of their fields or risk becoming entirely irrelevant.
The Case for Being Your Own CEO
In this rapidly changing business environment, failing to adapt makes you obsolete. Falling into thinking about your current career as your only option is professional suicide. The “golden handcuffs” trap keeps you stuck in place but long-term, are you more eager for cash payouts or for life purpose? If staying with your employer for ten years gets you a nice cash bonus but stifles a hundred opportunities to grow by leaps and bounds, is the extra cash worth it?
You need to focus on being the CEO of your own life.
Being your own CEO, as my friend Steve once said, is about finding ways to create some certainty in what fulfills you. Then, continue to build on that so you can create certainty out of uncertainty while leaving space to pivot.
The goal is not to remain loyal to any one company and rely upon those executives to push you into growth or even to remain in one industry but to practice self-management. Managing yourself as your own best resource ensures you are not devalued by unscrupulous employers or left with unrealized potential.
What it Takes to Build the Business of You
This can terrify you, or it can excite you. Because as rapidly as things change, we have the resources to keep up with shifting demands. Information is free and provided on-demand. You can educate yourself with the smartphone in your purse or pocket in every spare moment. You can reinvent yourself with a million new skills at your fingertips. If you want to break into a new field tomorrow, there are resources available right now to help you prepare enough to hit the ground running.
To make the absolute most of your future, you’re going to need to understand the way the changing dynamics of the business of work will impact your job, your company, and your skillset. You also need to know how this new fluid environment will shape what you want to do now and in the future, and what your next steps should be to realize your ultimate goal.
It’s about learning how to fluidly align all aspects of your identity with the work you do and the environment in which you do it. To make that happen, you have to focus on being your own CEO. And the fact is, you already are. Now, it’s about learning to take control.
Are you ready to be your own CEO? Learn more in Building the Business of You: A System to Align Passion and Potential Through Your Own Career Mash-Up.
This post is adapted from Building the Business of You: A System to Align Passion and Potential Through Your Own Career Mash-Up by Connie Steele. Join the waitlist here to be the first to get your copy when it releases in early 2021.