2020 brought about shocking and irrevocable change. This moment in our collective history is permanently closing the door on a familiar past and opening a new door to a future, so radically different, that we are now struggling to grasp just what has happened to our world. Many are coming to terms with the fact that it’s time to develop the skills to live in our new reality.
An alternate meaning for the word Virus is: code that copies itself, corrupting the old system and dismantling what is no longer of service so that the new code – information – can appear. The pandemic was a ‘soft opening’ to what is to come over the next 10 years, where we’ll see more changes in one decade than we’ve seen in the past 10,000 years. ‘Soft opening’ means that we are awakening ‘en-masse’ in stages. And the pandemic ‘global shift’ is but one initial stage of a much larger shift in human consciousness.
“Instead of politicians, let the monkeys govern the countries;
at least they will steal only the bananas!”
Old Paradigm Leaders Tumbling
The old standard of business is crumbling because it was not sustainable. It failed in its critical role of supporting and nurturing the Earth and everything on it — something it could quite easily do if its course was being directed by leaders who care. The rate of annual CEO turnover soared in the years leading up to the pandemic, with some estimates as high as 17.5% (that’s more than 1 in 6). However, changes at the top slowed dramatically in 2020 as organisations sought stability to navigate their way through the global crisis and largely held on to the executive teams they already in place.
This dynamic has created a unique level of demand for fresh leadership perspectives and has set the stage for a frenzied pace of executive changes to take place over the next twelve months. These changes will be sparked by leaders deciding to seek new and more inspiring challenges, boards moving out of cost-cutting and crisis mode, and organisations in need of new, more conscious leaders who can innovate and position the company for future success. We are barely a couple of months into 2021, and there has already been a string of high-profile CEO step downs announced. From Jeff Bezos at Amazon, to Ken Frazier at Merck and David Farr at Emerson Electric. Significant strategy changes that create new career opportunities typically follow any senior executive transition, especially the CEO. Regardless of your level in the company today, you will likely be impacted by the massive wave of leadership changes coming soon.
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Mind Your Own Business
On an individual level, we are contemplating what truly matters to us and how we want to be designing our lives. People are reevaluating their careers as jobs shift or are lost. Have you found yourself pondering if you really want to continue the same-old thing for another 10 or 20 years? As applications for unemployment rise and the future of the economy remains uncertain, you may be wishing you had started that side hustle you were thinking about.
The job you had pre-pandemic has likely already changed and may continue to do so. It is critical that you stay on top of market changes that trickle down to your industry, company, department and individual role. The more information you have, the better. We are all entrepreneurs now, even when we work for someone else. Your employer gives you a paycheck, but they won’t manage your career for you.
The sage advice “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is popular for a reason. As we push past the pandemic and the economy rebalances, it’s becoming more evident that we must shift the way we view income. Since layoffs, industry changes, restructurings and technology advances happen in all types of economies, earning 100% of your income from one place is a risky way to operate. As society begins to turn the page to a new chapter, it is the perfect time to begin to plan a fulfilling career and life.
“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
The Portfolio Career
Job security is an antiquated term that no longer exists, especially with one employer. It only takes a brief look at history to see all the major companies that have met a spectacular demise. It is harsh reality that, even when the economy is booming, it only takes one new invention, technology upgrade, acquisition, leadership change, or now even an invisible virus (not too dissimilar to the common cold), to turn your employment status upside down.
The only true source of job security comes from within you. Each of us has the power to continuously build our skills, create a visible professional brand, and cultivate a network of ambassadors. We also have the ability to diversify our income sources so that we no longer need to put all of our proverbial eggs into one employer’s payroll basket.
“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”
4 Ways to Structure a Portfolio Career
A portfolio career is essentially where your total income comes from multiple sources. This kind career structure is becoming increasingly popular among professionals who: enjoy variety in their work, want to pursue diverse interests, and who know the value of aligning with different brands and income streams in order to reduce financial risk. Also, as markets shift, companies are increasingly hiring with a focus on projects rather than headcount. Having a portfolio career mindset will set you up to align with the future direction of the economy while simultaneously protecting your hard-earned assets.
While alternative work structures have been growing in popularity for several years, most professionals still work traditional 40-hour plus work weeks due to the nature of common roles, need for benefits, or out of habit. If you have a stable income, and you enjoy your job, this may be a great time to add a side gig.
Anchor Role and Side Gig
Another way to structure your portfolio is to have an anchor role or client, and then to have one or more gigs to fill out the rest of your income portfolio.
Multiple Part-time Roles
If you enjoy the ease of having an employer take care of taxes, admin and marketing, you may decide that having a few different part-time roles fits your work style. While you may have less control of your hours, schedule or earning potential, there are definite benefits to having a company manage the parts of the business you may be less interested in taking on as an individual.
Multiple Side Hustles
Freelancers and independent consultants often have multiple clients or projects that contribute to their total income. While this doesn’t appeal to everyone, if you enjoy variety, solving problems, and new challenges, you may thrive in this setting.
If the current pandemic has impacted your income or you’re worried it might, then take this as a wake-up call. You have the power to build your own income security. Whether you’re a new graduate or recently retired, a portfolio career can mitigate financial risk and benefit you greatly. Don’t allow the need to learn something new or the need to take a risk scare you. Starting a side hustle can be incredibly educational, highly lucrative, and often lots of fun. Usually, the things we fear most are smaller than we imagine and the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. The only way you’ll know is if you give it a red hot go.
“What if you were wrong? What if everything you ever believed was a lie? What if you missed your opportunity because you didn’t know your worth? What if you settled on familiar, but God was trying to give you something better? What if you decided not to go backwards, but forward? What if doing what you have never done before was the answer to everything that didn’t make sense? What if the answer wasn’t to be found in words, but in action? What if you found the courage to do what you really wanted to do and doing it changed your whole life?”
10 Outdated Beliefs that may be Holding you Back.
Outdated beliefs and age-old fears keep too many working people trapped and unhappy in jobs that don’t deserve them. Don’t be one of those people. Are you hanging on to any of these outdated beliefs to your own detriment?
1. I only need to think about my career when I lose my job. Otherwise, managing my career and doing my job are the same thing.
If you only think about your career when you lose your job, then you are allowing yourself to be tossed around by the wind. It’s still your career to manage, even when you are working. The best time to look for a new job is when you already have one. If you fall asleep on your career, it isn’t your employer who will suffer – it’s you! You give up control of your career when you say “I will put my head down and be a good employee until my employer no longer needs me”.
2. My employer is going to take care of me – they’ve done it so far.
Your employer will not take care of you, and the longer you stay in a job that doesn’t grow your marketability the worse off you will be when you inevitably hit the talent market again.
3. I can apply for any job title I’ve already held. I can’t apply for jobs that I haven’t performed already, because I’m not qualified for them.
You can apply for any job you can intelligently argue that you are qualified for. Any position you want to apply for needs to have a link between your background and talents, but that does not limit you to pursuing jobs you have already done before. Why not apply for that job that is one step above where you are right now?
4. If I change careers at any point, I’ll have to go back to school.
Some career changes require additional education, but the vast majority do not. Every new job includes some amount of reskilling with new systems and processes. Learning to step into a new company and/or role and thrive there is a career skill we all need to learn.
5. When I have a job, my best move is to hang on to the job for as long as I can.
Once you’ve learned all that a particular job has to teach you, there is no benefit to sticking around. No employer will value your sixth, seventh and eighth years at ACME Explosives. That is time you could have spent learning all kinds of new things instead of doing the same things you have always done for an extra three years.
6. When I don’t have a job, my best move is to find a new job as fast as I can and accept the first job offer I get.
If your job-search mantra is “I’ll take the first job offer I get” you will never run your own career. You are not a leaf being blown about by the wind. You are the master of your destiny – but only if you take the keys to your vehicle and drive.
7. If my employer wants to promote me to a higher-level position, they will. I don’t get to promote myself.
Many, if not most job-seekers and career-climbers shoot for a better job than the one they left, whether they quit their last job, were laid off or fired. You can absolutely “promote yourself” from one job to the next, even when it’s inside your current organisation.
8. Only certain people are cut out for self-employment – and I’m not one of them.
Everyone is cut out for this kind of self-employment, which is the ownership and leadership of your very own career.
9. All I want from a job is a steady paycheck, interesting work and nice people. If have those three things, I’m good. I don’t need more than that. I can dial it back at work and enjoy my life the rest of the time.
We all feel overwhelmed at times and wish we could find a safe, cosy burrow like the ones woodland creatures sleep in. A stable job feels like a cosy burrow until we realise that because we’re not moving forward in our career, we’re falling behind. That burrow then becomes a trap.
10. My education and job history limit me to a small number of positions that I’m qualified for. I have to stay in one industry because that’s all I know.
You are not limited by your education or your past experience. However, you are limited by your beliefs about what you are capable of. When you decide where your path lies, whether it’s very close to the work you’ve already done or radically different, your passion for your new direction will carry you over whatever obstacles appear.
“Dating and hiring have a lot in common.”
Hiring Has Changed.
Yes, there is ongoing change, and hiring is no exception. As a job-seeker or career-climber, you need to continually adapt your job search to successfully get hired when hiring processes and trends change. It is not enough to modernise old job search tactics. That is simply maintenance – like upgrading your car to the latest model. Here’s the thing: even the best car won’t help you travel into space. Space is a new destination that cannot be reached by car, and the post-pandemic market has shifted in a way that is no longer satisfied by old techniques. If you are really going to be the CEO of your life, and you’re searching for a career opportunity, then it’s time to boss up, analyse trends emerging on the employer’s side, and refocus your job search strategy to meet these business needs.
Instead of looking for job openings, identify pain points.
Rather than hiring a full-time employee to fill a role, an employer can hire a consultant (rise of the gig economy), or outsource the function to a third-party (outsourcing IT, Finance and even HR is on the rise) or automate the need (rise of robots). As a job-seeker or career climber, you are not just competing with other candidates. You must become the best solution. You cannot simply assume that what the employer needs will be magically displayed in a job ad. Be super savvy and look for pain points that you can alleviate, whether there is a job posted about it or not. If you uncover a substantial pain point (or several) and make a compelling case that hiring you is a better solution over automating, outsourcing or contracting it out, then you win the business!
Instead of improving your resume, increase your social proof.
Job postings are not the most efficient or effective way to identify candidates. These days, an employer doesn’t have to wait for you to respond to a job posting. They can find you by researching profiles on LinkedIn, or by offering a referral incentive to current staff. While an amazing resume is great (because you still need to present it during the official interview process), it’s not enough anymore. Employers are proactively finding candidates, so it’s up to you to increase your probability of being found.
Nurture your connections, especially former supervisors and colleagues, since they know your work and can give a strong reference. Be responsive to unsolicited or opportunistic calls – if you hear of a lead that’s irrelevant to you, it may still be helpful (or at least interesting) to someone else. Get involved with your industry and professional associations. In this way you can stay in front of people active in your field, and hear about those juicy pain points.
Instead of focusing on what to say during the interview, focus on what to do.
Because the employer is not filing a job, rather they are resolving a pain point, the hiring process is less about choosing from available applicants and more about identifying ideal applicants (whether currently available or not). The interview process is similarly changing from a passive conversation to an active interaction. More companies are asking for samples of work or case-based interview questions to uncover how a candidate thinks. As a job-seeker or career-climber, knowing how to ace a job interview is not just about saying the right things, it is also about doing the right things. Today’s job-seeker/career-climber needs to be more entrepreneurial. Curate a portfolio of your work. If you’re changing careers, blog about your new area of interest so you have a published example of your expertise and insights. Don’t just tell the employer you can do something; show them with tangible examples.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
Finding Purpose in the Midst of Adversity
As we are continuously barraged by news of impacts from pandemics, protests, and presidents, a deep yearning bubbles beneath the surface. So many people have lost jobs, and for those who are still employed, many are working more than ever before or find themselves losing passion for what they do each day just to pay the bills. Introducing the Japanese concept of “Ikigai”. Loosely translated, Ikigai means “reason for being” to find a life worth living, or to live a life that brings you joy. Ikigai is not about “happiness” but about complete fulfillment in life.
Ikigai helps us remain centred when everything else going on around us makes us feel off balance. It can help you define your purpose and personal mission in life while you also uncover, discover and recover your potential, strengths and passions. It is a concept of taking a journey through four elements to find the confluence or the centre of your being. The four areas are themes designed for you to question your “doing” and your “being.”
- What do you love?
- What do you have a passion for?
- Is that “thing” changing the world for the better?
- Are you getting paid for it?
These four areas seem simple, and they are but they are not always easy to join together. When things feel out of balance, it’s hard to focus. We may sacrifice one thing for something else. Finding your true Ikigai establishes a synergy between passion, mission, vocation and profession. There is an amazing benefit that comes along with finding your Ikigai. When you labour at something you enjoy, it doesn’t feel like work. This is called “the flow state.” You are so caught up in what you’re doing that time flies by quickly. You’re so immersed in your job that everything else is a blur. All outside stimuli is nonexistent to you, as your focus is laser-like focused in the present moment.
“Life is not measured by time. It is measured by moments.”
In the Flow State
As you notice the tasks that automatically place you into a state of flow, do your best to gravitate toward those activities. When you engage in work that you truly love, it has an exponential growth component. You work long and hard hours because you want to do it. Managers at work notice your drive and enthusiasm. They’ll offer you promotions and raises to keep you. This will add fuel to your fire. Colleagues will want to partner with you, recruiters call to entice you to move to a competing company and internal bosses will all want you on their teams. The showering of appreciation and rewards will inspire you to keep going strong. This is one of the reasons why you see people who are rich, getting richer. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Although this pandemic has been dark and dreadful, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. One of the unintended – yet positive – consequences of this event is that it is forcing people to reevaluate their jobs, careers and lives. The truth is, if there was ever a time on our planet where a sense of true purpose was desperately called for, now would be that time. Amidst the multi-layered pressures of our modern world, how do we peel back the layers and discover why we are here and what we are really supposed to be doing? The shock of the pandemic has made planning ahead difficult, particularly when it comes to major decisions like a career move. That doesn’t mean you should put your aspirations on hold.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Our Evolution is the Revolution.
This is a call to action. A call to authenticity. A call to dig yourself out from below the bushel of shame and self-doubt that has plagued humanity. A call to get off the mouse wheel and do the real work. By taking responsibility for your own awakening and transformation of self, you are directly impacting humanity’s awakening. Your personal evolution is needed for the world to change.
What are you here to learn? What are you here to overcome? What are you here to express? What does your authentic face look like? Who are you, above and beyond all the noise and haste.. this is not about money, or delusions of abundance that only gratify the ego. This life is not a dress rehearsal – it’s the real deal, and it’s time to uncover the vulnerable and courageous truth about who you are and why you are here. Every single person on the planet right now is here for a reason. We each hold a special key to solving a problem that is currently creating suffering on our planet. It’s time to call yourself out on your distraction patterns and excavate your life purpose.
We are limited only by what we perceive. We have been taught certain things by our culture, society, government, and childhood. These beliefs can be un-learned. We can break free from them and create an entirely new way of living. When we do this, our potential becomes limitless. When we connect with our life purpose — the absolute highest form of contribution we can give, (as well as the most meaningful work we can possibly do) we reach a state in which we simultaneously live a life without limits, and dynamically create the brighter world that we know is possible.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.”
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