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Countdown: Skill #10 Crucial to Your Success

Countdown: Skill #10 Crucial to Your Success

In my recent blog on the great opportunities for Freelancers arising out of the rising chaos in the world job market (http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I promised a thorough discussion of the 10 skills crucial to your success you’ll need to develop in the next few years.  The countdown is on.  Here is skill #10, Cognitive Flexibility

 

What the heck is Cognitive Flexibility?

 

Cognitive Flexibility is a term used by psychologists to describe the ability to shift quickly from one concept to another.  The easiest way to describe it is to think of switching channels on your TV.  Suppose you have a tennis match on one channel and a college football game on another.  As you switch back and forth, your mind must quickly adjust to a different set of rules, play, and circumstances.  People who are not cognitively flexible find this difficult.  It takes them a few minutes or longer before they can engage in the events happening on the new channel.

 

Why is this so important?

 

Millions of jobs are going to disappear in the next few years.  But, there will also be lots of new jobs created.  The problem is those jobs haven’t been invented yet.  What types of jobs are these?  Data analysts who can help decipher the huge amount of data generated by the internet of things.  Specialized sales reps who can explain new products and services to customers and clients.  Managers and consultants who can help steer companies through this process.

If you are a Freelancer filling one of these functions, you will need cognitive flexibility.  You may be working for more than one company.  Company A may be playing tennis.  Company B, playing football.

Even if you’re working for one company, Department A could be playing soccer, while Department B…well, you see where this is going.

 

How Can I Learn Cognitive Flexibility?

 

There are several things you can do to improve cognitive flexibility

  1. Read – Reading stimulates several areas of the brain simultaneously. The more complex the subject, the better. Add to this by making notes as you go.
  2. Play games. Lots of games. Word games, crossword puzzles, chess. There are lots of online games that will get you thinking.
  3. Make lists of different wild and wonderful ways to accomplish the same thing.
  4. Try breaking big topics down into chunks.

Keep going with these activities until you feel you can easily switch topics without losing a beat.  It’s easier than you think and can be a lot of fun.

 

The Challenge

 

Here is your challenge: The rise of technology is already eliminating jobs at an ever increasing pace.  As this trend accelerates, workers will be displaced in two directions.  Those who are unprepared will be pushed out into lower paying jobs.  Those who start now developing the 10 critical skills essential to Freelancing will find themselves positioned to succeed in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.  And…at much higher compensation.

Which one are you?

Start today.

 

What is the #1 Career Opportunity Today?

What is the #1 Career Opportunity Today?

There are huge career opportunities opening up in today’s world economy.  And…the good news is these opportunities are yours for the taking.

 

 

“What’s the catch?” you ask.  There always has to be a catch, right?

The catch is you have to be prepared to grab one of these opportunities.  Plus, you have to do the preparation work on your own.  Our education system isn’t teaching any courses on how to qualify for these jobs.

Just what is this wonderful, can’t miss opportunity?

 

Chaos

Huh?  Chaos?  Are you kidding me?

No, I’m not.   Remember, where there is chaos, there is always opportunity.  Now is no different than any time in the past.

Here’s what’s happening.  The World Economic forum estimates losses of 7.1 million jobs due to automation and technology  between 2015 and 2020.   http://bit.ly/2ubfHLc    Two-thirds of these job losses will be concentrated in office and administrative roles. Many more will be in manufacturing and production.

Further, many of the jobs that remain will need skill sets that current workers don’t have. This means many of the displaced workers will be forced into lower paying jobs.

This doesn’t sound like an opportunity to me

It is, but you have to ready to seize it.  And you have to start now.

In his great book, The End of Jobs, author Taylor Pearson notes the following:

  1. Somewhere around the year 2000, we began to transition out of the knowledge economy.
  2. There is a shift underway from knowledge to Entrepreneurship. Why? Because entrepreneurs are better equipped to deal with complex and chaotic situations
  3. The dominant institution is shifting away from corporations and towards individuals.
  4. The dominant player is no longer the corporate CEO, but moving toward the  Entrepreneur.
  5. The winners in these shifts are those who invest early in the trend.

(If you would like to buy a copy of this terrific book click on the link below)

This shift is already underway.  Forbes estimates that by 2020, 50 percent of the labor force will be Freelancers. http://bit.ly/2tfLsjq

 

How do I get in on this?

Start now.  Today.  Here are the top 10 skills listed by the World Economic Forum Freelancers and Entrepreneurs will need by 2020:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others.
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgment and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

Rate yourself on these skills.  I can hear you now, “Crap, I’m no good at any of that stuff.”  Yes, you are!  You just don’t realize it.  And…what you don’t know, you can learn.

Like it or not, if you want to succeed in the coming years, you have to embark on a course of lifelong learning. Get good at these 10 skills and you’ll be ready for jobs that haven’t been invented yet.

I’ll be exploring this topic over the next few weeks.  I’ll be taking each of the skills shown above and exploring how you can become more proficient at them.  Just like the old David Letterman “Top Countdowns”, I’ll be starting with #10 and counting down to #1.  So, stay tuned.

 

Click here to buy Taylor Pearson’s The End of Jobs.  (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate)

Tyrannized by Your To Do List?

Tyrannized by Your To Do List?

Did you ever feel like your To Do list was dominating your life? What happens when you can’t check off all today’s tasks?  How do you feel?

We are told if we want to succeed, we have to have goals.  Written goals. With deadlines.  Then we are supposed to break those goals down into intermediate steps with completion dates.

If we keep working backwards, we eventually wind up with a daily list of things to do.  Things that must be completed in order for us to achieve the big goal one, two, three, or even five years down the road.

But…what happens when you can’t complete the list?  For us driven, goal oriented types, not completing the list puts the goal in jeopardy. Not achieving the goal is unacceptable.

So what happens?  Completing the daily to do list becomes the driving force in our lives.

I struggled with this for years.  I would set goals.  Set up milestones to be achieved. Then work my to do list each day, checking off the items as I completed them.

Then came the day when something went haywire at 8:35 in the morning and my whole day went in the tank. Sundown came and not one task checked off.  Immediately my disaster radar would kick in and I would feel overwhelmed.  My whole plan was in jeopardy.  I was failing.

Then a few years ago, I found a two-part solution.

The first part was to change my perception about how goals are achieved.

I would set goals, make plans and start down the path.  I recognized intellectually that some goals are met, others aren’t, and some get changed along the way.  Emotionally, if I set a goal, I became so invested in it failure was not an option.

I was so focused on completing the goal, that any task undone meant now I had more to do in a shorter amount of time as the completion date drew near. I watched with dismay as the to do pile grew bigger and time grew shorter.

Pretty soon, achieving the goal began to look impossible.

It was obvious I had to change something.  So, I changed the way I thought about goal achievement. Now I prefer to achieve a goal. If I don’t, it’s OK.  The sun will still come up tomorrow.

The second and most important thing I did was to change the way I looked at tasks.

I still have my to do list.  But, now at the end of the day, I sit down and make a list of everything I got done during the day. And, I celebrate the baby steps I’ve taken.

Instead of looking at how far I have to go, I look at how far I’ve come.

Instead of feeling like a failure, I feel the joy of accomplishment.

As the list of things done piles up, I can feel my goal getting closer and closer.

And the tasks that are undone?  They can go on tomorrow’s list. I am mindful of Murphy’s Second Law, “It always takes longer than you think.”

So, If you feel dominated by your to do list, try this.  For the next 30 days, sit down at the end of the day and list the things you got done. Now, celebrate those baby steps.

My guess is at the end of your 30 day trial, you’re going to feel freer than you have in years.

It’s not easy to change years of ingrained habit. I did it.  I know you can too.

Remember, achieving goals is a marathon, not a sprint.

Marathoners have a saying, “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s mighty hard. Baby steps add up to 27.6 miles quicker than you think.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  If you would like to join my email list, here is the link
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