Five Tips for Your Career Future

habits_better_leader_webIn his 2010 New York Times Bestseller, “Linchpin,” Seth Godin proposes that the future of work will look dramatically different. He uses the term linchpin to describe the type of workers who will be needed and thrive as the workforce and businesses adjust to new technologies and trends.

“Linchpins are the essential building blocks of tomorrow’s high-value organizations. They don’t bring capital or expensive machinery, nor do they blindly follow instructions and merely contribute labor,” Godin says. “Linchpins are indispensable, the driving force of our future.”

With that in mind, it’s important that every worker consider the goals they want for their career.

Think About What You Want

As you sit down and begin to think about your future, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Is it owning your own business or becoming a leader in the company where you work right now? Maybe it involves making a hobby your full-time job.

All of these are great starting points for picking out the place you want to be, and taking the steps to get there. Don’t let questions about how you’ll get there enter your thought process just yet. Think big and audaciously right now, then you can move on to the next step.

Research

Now that you have an idea for where you want to be in your career, it’s time to do your due diligence and research what it will take for you to reach your goal.

If the future you see for your career involves a leadership role, find out the steps you need to take to make yourself a candidate for that position. Are there projects or tasks that you can take the lead on right now that will demonstrate your ability to lead? Spend time reading leadership books from authors like John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, and the previously mentioned Seth Godin.

Research will be the solid foundation upon which you build the career you envision for yourself.

Ask Around

While in your research phase, it’s important to spend time talking with friends, mentors, and anyone else you think can offer insight and advice as you work toward your future goal. Ask them to be honest about the struggles you may face so you will be prepared to take the next steps.

If your future career is going to take you into business ownership or a new industry, seek out people who have experience as an entrepreneur or who are currently in the field where you want to work. Their value to your success is beyond measure, so be patient with their schedules, but persistent and learn what they have to share.

Keep Learning

You’ve done the research and spent time with people who can offer wisdom and insight into the career future you want to achieve, now it’s time to keep learning. The saying “knowledge is power” is absolutely true, so now is not the time to stop learning everything you can to set yourself up for success.

This could involve more reading and discussions with experts, but it could also mean more education like taking classes or earning certifications.

If you’re thinking about transitioning into a new industry or advancing in your current profession, then courses and certifications are a great resource. Plus, many can be done completely online and at a relatively low cost.

The website Coursera.org offers online classes from top universities in a variety of topics, from business to computer science to learning a new language. Maybe you’d like to learn about coding, a skill that is becoming more and more valuable as businesses look for people with advanced computer skills. Sites like CodeAcademy, Udemy and Code Avengers offer free classes to learn how to code and build websites and apps.

Take the Step

Something you may not realize when you get to this point in the process is that you’ve already taken several steps in the right direction.

You may feel nervous or anxious about fully committing to the future you see for your career, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be 80% of the way complete. You’ve identified your goal, done your research, reached out to those who have the knowledge and insight you need, and continued or began learning the skills to be successful.

The next step is to fully commit to your future, to believe you have what it takes to achieve your goal.

What other tips would you offer to someone who’s thinking about their career’s future? Share them in the comments section below.

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