The robots are coming! With more than half of today’s existing jobs predicted to be computerized or automated in the near future, future-proofing one’s career is a hot topic right now. But futurist Elatia Abate argues that “future-proofing” is futile and instead shows us how to be future-prepared.
In a recent article with Fast Company, Elatia explored why there’s no such thing as future-proofing anything. “While logical,” she writes, “this is as futile as someone standing with a bucket and mop attempting to soak up the Pacific Ocean.”
Instead, Elatia urges people to embrace the far more powerful and empowering lens of being future-prepared. This lens employs a curiosity towards the future and the disruption currently surrounding us — be curious about what is changing, how it’s changing, and what it means, she writes. This is far more effective in readying ourselves and our careers for whatever the future may bring. Here’s how to do it.
Are You the Captive or the Captain of Your Career?
Success begins with you. Will you be a captive or the captain of your professional circumstances? Elatia asks.
In the face of increasingly tumultuous circumstances, the captive, Elatia writes, focuses on the question of, “why is this happening to me?” The captain, on the other hand, asks the much more useful question of, “Given that I’m here and this is happening, what do I want to create?” One cedes power to external sources, while the other seeks to proactively steer their own course for professional success. Be the captain, Elatia urges.
It starts by looking and acknowledging the changes in front of you — what big shifts are happening to your role, company, and industry? Only when you are aware of them, can you take the proper action. Read the data, Elatia writes, learn what skills are in-demand, and fill those gaps within your own skillset. Additionally, she continues, look for opportunities within your own organization for upskilling or ask to join future-focused projects to develop new skills.
An Exponential World Demands an Exponential Career Strategy
The world is moving from linear to exponential, Elatia writes, and our careers must do the same. Most of us have been taught to view our career as a ladder that we climb to the top. The question that drives this linear strategy is, “what can I logically do with what I’ve already done and already know?” Elatia writes.
This strategy is faltering today because it isn’t nimble enough to keep up with our exponential world. Instead, Elatia recommends working towards a mosaic career model, which is rooted in the things you value, the contribution you would like to make to the world, and the skills you bring regardless of the industry.
“Once again,” Elatia writes, “you take a few steps back and ask yourself, ‘If I were totally free of constraints, what would I create? Who would I be? How would I use my life?’”
Reflecting on these questions allows you to approach your career and potential opportunities with far more clarity than a linear strategy provides.
Build a Professional Community
To be future-prepared, you must connect with others, Elatia writes. This is beyond traditional networking; it’s community building.
Make outreach and connection a regular part of your work, Elatia writes. If you’re interested in learning about a new skill, a new market sector, etc., reach out to people whose work you admire in that space to learn from them. In return, seek opportunities to help that person or provide value in some capacity.
In the face of change, the only tool that is truly at our disposal today is our curiosity. Change is an invitation to become subject matter students, Elatia writes. It’s impossible to know everything, especially at the rate of change we’re seeing today. The more we can employ curiosity around change and our future, she continues, the better prepared we will be to thrive in that future, no matter what it may bring.
Named a leading female futurist by Forbes, Elatia Abate helps organizations thrive in the face of disruption, prepare for the ever-changing future, and design new ways to scale and create growth. Her actionable keynotes leave audiences equipped with the tools necessary to succeed — even in the face of uncertainty.
Interested in learning more about Elatia and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].