From Little Things Big Things Grow
If you’re like many of my clients, one question you may ask when considering your career, is what will your career look like into the future? Perhaps, you also wonder further – what will the careers of your children look like?
Many mothers I have worked with have asked me how they can help and support their children through subject selection or to constructively direct conversation when the natural curiosity of their child around career choices starts to surface (and this can begin as young as pre-school years). Of course, no one can accurately predict the future, but there are some considerations to keep in mind when planning for your career that will hold you in good stead for successfully navigating future change.
Grow Your Willingness To Change
One thing we know for sure is that change is inevitable, so to build a successful long-term career, we need to be adaptive to change. If you’re someone who likes security and starts to feel slightly anxious at the sound of an uncertain future, a two-pronged approach may be helpful for you.
Firstly, take some time to really understand your profession, industry and the economy – this will help you to stay ahead of the game when it comes to any changes that may directly impact your career. You can do this by engaging in relevant industry professional bodies (LinkedIn and Twitter are ideal for this), keeping an eye on relevant news sources, and building and maintaining a professional network in your industry. A fun way to test your career against future automation is by using this tool, as publicised by BBC (this tool is reflective of jobs in the UK so please bear that in mind when using) - http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34066941.
Secondly, work on developing resilience. This is a great habit to work on within yourself and the benefits can extend to your children as well. You may have heard of Dr. Carol Dweck and her work on growth mindset. In summary, “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning.” By developing a growth mindset and greater resilience, you are more likely to embrace change well and find greater success as the future unfolds.
The illustration below shows examples of our internal dialogue, from both perspectives – growth mindset and fixed mindset. 
Grow Your Passion For Learning
Following on from developing a growth mindset, becoming an avid learner is key to future-proofing your career. Develop a keen curiosity in your profession – if you are not that interested in your chosen field, then perhaps its time to start thinking about some other fields that may spark a little more interest, but choose something that you are willing to invest time into learning more and more about all the time. This will be key to your success in your chosen field.
Grow Your Future Skills
Although we may not be able to predict the future, we are seeing more and more the following core skills as being requirements for successful engagement of employees, all can be developed and will hold your future career in good stead:
- Resilience – for example: open yourself to taking considered risks, bounce back from setbacks or mistakes with greater insight from lessons learned.
- Confidence – for example: find a good mentor (or two) who are willing and able to meet regularly and give wise counsel throughout your career, take stock of your career achievements – know who are you are and what you’re capable of.
- Emotional Intelligence – for example: be aware of your own emotions and learn how to handle them appropriately within a work context, and grow in your understanding and empathy of the emotions of others around you.
- Communication Skills – for example: pay close attention to your verbal and non-verbal communication skills - are you listening enough to the people around you? Similarly, are you expressing ideas with confidence and clarity in a way that might really add value to your organisation?
- Entrepreneurial Skills – for example: consider setting some ambitious medium-term goals to foster a sense of drive and determination in your career, become optimistic about achieving these goals – think outside of the box, create a ‘big picture’ vision to inspire you along the way.
- Technological Aptitude – for example: consider some professional development (or further studies) in an area of technological change or progression in your relevant industry, develop a keen interest in tech trends amongst colleagues, including new apps or programs colleagues are using.
All of the above areas can be cultivated daily, no matter if you are working part-time or full-time, on a career break, satisfied or unsatisfied at work, or even if your role is to assist your child in making future career decisions. It will be from these little things (small, daily steps) that big things will grow.
Gabrielle is a founding FlexCoach with a background in HR, postgraduate studies in Career Education & Development and experience working in corporate, education and not-for-profit sectors, Gabrielle is well equipped to provide relevant career coaching to clients from all walks of life. As a mother herself, Gabrielle understands the need for balance between professional and 'mum' life, and has had significant experience assisting mothers returning to work or navigating successful career change after having children.
Connect with Gabrielle by viewing her profile.