When we’re young, we seem to have the world at our feet, so many options that we’re spoilt for choice.
Then somehow they seem to disappear. Sometimes that’s because events and circumstances change the course of our lives; sometimes because we put too much faith in following a path chosen for us by others.
However, all too often it’s because we make up our minds that pursuing something we love won’t allow us to earn a living, or because it appears impossible to achieve, so far beyond our reach that we don’t even try to pursue it.
And that’s a pity, especially right now, when technology is changing the world we live and work in faster than ever before and creating an environment in which old knowledge and experience quickly become outdated and matter less and less.
As a result, no one can rely on the past to ensure future success. So even if you feel ‘secure’ on a professional path that you thought would set you up for life, nothing is certain any more. That’s why so many young barristers, for example, are finding themselves replaced by software that does the research work they would once have done.
This can feel destabilising.
However, if you’re starting to feel you may have missed the boat, it’s actually good news, because it means ‘second chances’ are continually being created so that you can always make the most of your life.
This is why today, more than ever, it is vitally important you don’t live your life by the ‘old rules’, going down the same well-trodden avenues as your family, friends and colleagues have done – because these are no longer ‘right’ paths. That means, now is the perfect time to rethink your way forward, and here are seven ways to help you do that.
1. Embrace change.
To succeed now at work, in business or your career, you need to be prepared to do things differently – because what worked in the past won’t work in the future.
2. Be positive about the future.
Until recently, if you took the ‘wrong path’, it was difficult to get onto another because your education, background and early choice of career pigeonholed you for life. However, today you can begin a new fresh path using your skills and experience to ‘remap’ the future so you can thrive, either in the same industry you’re in now, or in another. So, always believe that you can do far more than just what you have achieved already as there is much more of your potential that is still left untapped.
3. There’s more than one way to get to your destination.
New technologies and new ways of working are continually adding to your options. So, if one route is closed, look for others. Even better, open up new ones for yourself and others because when you chose to do that you have an impact on the wider system. In fact, when you have the courage to expand yourself you are inspiring others to do so as well, all of which contributes to the greater good.
4. Let go of the past.
History is baggage that can hold you back from taking the sideway steps you need, which it will if you keep living today like your past. So even if you have invested hugely in your career, don’t make this the excuse that stops you moving on. Your history is a collection of experiences that has prepared you for whatever you chose to do next, nothing else. Moving on may require you to take brave decisions, however as there’s no such thing as a life-long career any longer, the only way you will progress is by moving forward and not looking back.
This is why today, more than ever, it is vitally important you don’t live your life by the ‘old rules’, going down the same well-trodden avenues as your family, friends and colleagues have done – because these are no longer ‘right’ paths.
5. Make on-going education fun.
In a fast-changing world, the knowledge and experience you acquire has a finite life so learning has to be an on-going process that never stops from your birth to the end of your days. That means, you need to top up your talents regularly by keeping in touch with new technologies as well as developing your own creativity and fresh ways of thinking.
6. Find your calling.
You have the opportunity to take another direction, at any point. Unfortunately, you don’t have to look far to find those who continually make excuses for not pursuing what they were ‘born to do’. Always a ‘work in progress’ they seem to be getting themselves ready for something … they just don’t know what. Remember, courage is found on the other side of fear, and you can find it just by taking the first step to take control of your destiny.
Increasingly the world is pushing us to take a fresh approach, one that will lead to a more meaningful life – at work, business, wellbeing and relationships. And that means following your dreams and not someone else’s. You have the power to create a new and better life for yourself.
Maite Barón is a multi-award winning author passionate about courageous leadership, happiness and wellbeing. She is a co-founder of The Corporate Escape™, which specialises in helping professionals rekindle their passion for life and reinvent themselves as business owners. She’s an international speaker and a regular contributor to the influential Huffington Post, Global Banking and Finance Review (GBFR) and Entrepreneur.