Owning Your Future

The world of work and our dreams for the future are constantly being battered. There is the constant drum roll of ” unemployment, political clashes, the specter of economic meltdowns in Europe and the though of the US being dependent upon or beholden to China. The report below is particularly dismal.

US Labor Market in Full Blown Depression

Healthcare, and on and on, it is depressing, if you tune into the news too much. It is more important than ever for each person to own their own future. How, then do we go about this? Here are a few tips.

  • Don’t let your past determine your future. Practice something each day that requires you to study, reflect and live in the moment. This could be medication, prayer, reading, morning coffee and reflection, tai-chi (my choice) or something else. We all have pasts that tend to re-run in our minds and spirits. Doing this too much means this is our fundamental frame of reference.
  • Don’t let the news paralyze you. Most of the news is sensational and confrontational. I consume and use a fair amount of news myself. It is important to balance this with real conversations and interactions with people in the here and now. Also, seek out unusual and positive stories. They are more abundant than you might imagine.
  • Assess your goals and strengths. A psychological test, like Winslow and others are a good place to start. The other is to hire a personal or professional business coach. Most people have not considered this step. I think this has a lot to do with shame and the willingness to admit our weaknesses, but also to acknowledge our dreams. Yes, our dreams and aspirations.
  • Think of your future as a work in progress. Your future is something no one owns. Your current employer or situation do not need to define your future. Think of your future as something you are building. Think of it as your owns “business plan.”
  • Develop your own personal brand. Me as a brand? Hmmm. . .  what is this about? It means coming to terms with your aspirations and how to express them. A brand is a logo and a statement that incorporates the promises of the product or service. What is your promise? To yourself, to others? How would you sum that up? Fundamentally, what talents, insights and aspirations do you have that others can benefit from?
  • Learn how to market yourself. You have to stand out in what your are good at and passionate about. There are lots of ways to do this, but you need to consistently work on this. Writing, speaking, participating in volunteer and community efforts as well as more traditional efforts are all part of this. Even a personal branded web-site. More on this later. Here is an example of a very creative resume. Resume on Pintrest. This is really cool. It stands out and shows initiative and creativity.
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