If you are ready for a professional change, are in transition and want to come out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, here are five tips to point you in the right direction.
Cultivate a growth mindset
Educational psychologist Carol Dweck has produced a huge body of work with school children to understand what are the best motivators for success. She found praising effort, following process and developing strategies encouraged the children to believe their abilities could be developed. Not accepting the default option automatically, but seeking new challenges means we’re much more likely to build resilience.
Developing a growth mindset means being vulnerable. Ask yourself, are you happy in your comfort zone? Do you view setbacks as the end of the world or as opportunities to learn from? Your willingness to extend your boundaries and reframe difficult situations will allow you to rewire the neurons in your brain which tell you to give up rather than keep on keeping on.
Try reverse mentoring
Mentoring usually occurs when a more experienced expert or leader coaches a junior colleague. Reverse mentoring seeks to turn this concept on its head with the newbie mentoring the established expert. Why do this? By 2020, half of the workforce globally will be millennials. As this demographic enter the workplace, they bring a new way of looking at the world that is distinctly different. Leaders and businesses can benefit from a wealth of insight from a generation who grew up using technology in an innate way.
Choose breadth over depth
In his book ‘The Mosaic Principle’ Nick Lovegrove encourages us to take a broader view of our careers and discount the notion that our path is set and its destination determined. He says: “Identify areas in which to broaden your life, make a habit to learn something new each week – and keep a running list of questions to explore as you go deeper.”
I’ve worked in digital marketing for the last five years, but I recently spent a year on secondment working in digital and innovative learning. This opportunity to diversify brought a number of benefits: I built my network, learnt new skills and applied my existing knowledge to a whole new portfolio of projects. It was completely out of my comfort zone and helped me to understand my drivers and aspirations better.
Engage with social learning
Online learning can often feel one dimensional, but applying a social lens provides a great opportunity to interact and bring your learning to life. Online course provider Future Learn offer free content from top universities and specialist organisations. You can engage with other learners’ comments on the platform by liking, replying and bookmarking their experiences of the course. The platform believes “we learn best when we share and debate ideas with fellow learners, to understand their different experiences and perspectives and to fill the gaps in our own knowledge”.
There are also informal ways you can try social learning. Set up a WhatsApp or Slack group for you and your friends/ colleagues and share your experience of whatever type of learning you are all doing. If you prefer something a bit more visual then Watch2Gether provides free synchronised video where you can create a virtual room where multiple users can view videos and comment in real time.
Become familiar with the concept ‘post work’
Even if you have no clue what ‘post work’ refers to, you will have heard of the terms ‘universal basic income’ and ‘automation’. Its beneficial to wrap your head round these concepts because futurists are predicting that the labour market is going to look very different in the next few years, with the World Economic Forum predicting there will be Artificial Intelligence on your board of directors by 2025. Rapid developments in technology mean the likelihood of remaining a specialist in one narrow field is reducing. Read up on these concepts and think about how you can not only adapt but leverage these changes to your advantage. This Guardian article A World Without Jobs is a great place to start:
If you approach your personal development a tailored way, it will allow you to upscale your time, absorb a heap of information about a new topic quickly or adapt your approach so you can make the complex simple. Take the leap.
Photo credit: Anna Demianenko on Unsplash
About the Author
Bec Burnett is a digital strategist for EDF Energy and a communications and marketing volunteer for Young Westminster Foundation. She lives and works in London. Tweet her @BecBurnett and share your personal development journey.