You can easily get replaced at work if you don't do this
Recreate yourself to be constantly valuable
Sooner or later, you will be impacted. All is not lost though. Simultaneously, the Internet is continuously creating innumerable new career opportunities— unrestricted by current access to knowledge and skills, time and bandwidth constraints, physical distance from a potential employer or income opportunity and ability to reach out and connect with decision makers.
So how do you recreate yourself to be constantly valuable in a future that is unpredictable and scary?
Generalist vs specialist
As a specialist with your current skill sets, you will soon become redundant and replaced by a new batch of younger people who are trained for the changed world. Your only hope at being extremely valuable as a specialist lies in continuous upgradation of skills at the same pace as the new crop. Are you spending 5-10 hours a week on your own learning? Consider that the future belongs to the generalist. You are someone who constantly exposes herself to different responsibilities and is willing to rapidly pivot to new roles, integrate a variety of past skills and knowledge and learn the missing stuff required for that job. Your critical question is – how quickly can you learn each time?
Knowledge vs application
Firstly, each time you will only use a part of the knowledge you possess. Thus, making a habit of continuously learning will increase your cumulative knowledge and thus your chances of finding a suitable application for a problem.
Secondly, you must be willing to spend time to think. In a world crammed with continuous distractions from your phone, emails and entertainment options, you may be spending little time in thinking about what new can work and what can’t. The more you think about complex problems and potential solutions, the better you get at this game.
Finally, be ready to step out of your comfort zone to try implementing your thoughts even though it is comfortable to simply continue in the old way of doing things. Only after this last step, have you applied your knowledge. This is not easy, because your ideas and execution will not work perfectly every time and you will fall and fail often. Are you willing to embrace being embarrassed or are you locked up in the habit of always wanting to look Instagram-good?
Team vs contributor
Firstly, working in a connected team ensures that you have a steady stream of information and inputs through team interactions that keeps you updated.
Secondly, with increased automation, simple problems cease to exist and complex ones are beyond the scope of any individual. Thus, new teams will continue to be created in organisations and adequately budgeted to bring together people from different backgrounds to find solutions together. Being uncomfortable in a collaborative setup will make you unsuitable for leadership roles and often mark you out as a burden on the team despite your abilities.
New frames vs existing frames
Once you accept your lack of knowledge and choose to learn more about people skills, recognise that you cannot approach communication and storytelling from an engineering perspective. Only if you are willing to drop your existing mental frames and begin learning from scratch to build a new set of thinking structures and frameworks can you learn fast enough to be continuously useful.
The growth mindset
2. Acquiring skills: From a growth mindset, you can accept that any skill can be learnt. However, learning requires good inputs and exposure, correct methods and habits and a lot of effort and discomfort. Seek them out because if any one of the three is missing, chances are that you are progressing slowly or not at all.
3. How you speak: A growth mindset changes how you speak. Is your conversation about the impossible hurdles and negative circumstances you faced? Or about the interesting challenges and creative solutions that you look forward to? What words do you use and what beliefs and mindsets trigger them? Change your conversations to trigger belief and mindset change.
More on growth mindset
5. Just a process: The best part is that a growth mindset is simply a process you can adopt. Firstly, reward and praise yourself for putting in structured hard work towards goals that are challenging but not impossible. Secondly, celebrate and be grateful whether the goal is achieved or not because either will teach you something new.
(The Writer is Founder and CEO at Quezx.com and Headhonchos.com.)