Leading Blog






01.26.15

10 Rules for Future-Proofing Yourself

The most common problem that modern professionals face is a lack of risk tolerance and a resistance to change.

Make Change Work
Scott Steinberg writes in Make Change Work for You, Scott Steinberg offers ten rules that successful people follow to future-proof themselves. But underlying it all is how we deal with fear. We need to find a quick way to neutralize its negative influences, find courage, and take positive action. He suggests we try the FEAR problem-solving method:

Focus: When you see a problem, study it closely until you’re sure you are seeing it objectively.
Engage: Intelligently respond to a problem with a solution, create an action plan and put it in motion.
Assess: Study the responses you get. If you are not on track, rethink the solution, rethink the audience, or rethink the way you’ve positioned yourself and your brand.
React: Having learned from the experience, adjust your tactic accordingly. Keep tweaking it until you find success.

The ten rules with Steinberg’s insights:

Rule 1: Be Courageous
Inflate your willingness to act. You don’t have to be without fear to succeed; just relentlessly practical. Fear only has power over us when we allow it to go unchecked or fail to correctly interpret the signals it’s presenting.

Rule 2: Make Fear Your Friend
Train yourself to review not to react. Instead of worrying about fear, worry about how you can capitalize on it to drive more positive outcomes. Fear alerts us to potential problems, drives growth, prompts us to make changes, fights complacency, keeps us nimble, makes us creative and provides a sense of urgency.

Rule 3: Turn Anxiety and Paranoia into Awareness
Leverage your paranoia to become more proactive. Use your anxiety to help you to be acutely aware of the world around you and potential problems and opportunities. Don’t let it cause you to freeze up. Use it to stay fresh.

Rule 4: Transform Failure into Success
The more you push past your barriers, the greater the rewards you’ll reap that lie beyond because they’ll be more uncommon and hold more value as a result. If you learn to push past the fear of failure, you can capitalize on areas of opportunity others have abandoned to create winning breakthroughs and create ongoing relevance on an infinite scale.

Rule 5: Master the Art of Improvisation
While conditions and events encountered may appear chaotic, irrational, and unpredictable from the inside, when viewed from a distance they are often the exact opposite. It’s not about being smarter or more experienced, it’s about being savvier or more resourceful. As a result, traits such as cleverness, practicality, and leadership are becoming far greater arbiters of success than abilities or accolades.

Rule 6: Play the Odds
Once you know the odds, make smarter and smaller bets. The more opportunities you have to win, the greater your chances of winning. Gamblers, risk takers, and forward thinkers—today’s mavericks—understand the importance of making safe bets. But they also realize that big wins come from playing the long shots a=that smaller, smarter wagers subsidize.

Rule 7: Experiment Constantly
Constantly tinker with ways to expand your horizons, grow your skill set, and disrupt your career or your organization. Work to expand your comfort zone. It’s all a work in progress.

Rule 8: Pick Your Battles
To stack the odds in your favor, pick and choose your battles. It’s a constant process of assessment and reassessment.

Rule 9: Keep Forging Ahead
Be proactive and keep moving. The secret to getting ahead is to start to embrace the new ideas, projects, and activities that most rapidly or profoundly enhance your learning, capabilities, and connections and provide more pronounced opportunities to innovate, differentiate, and expand your horizons.

Rule 10: Stay Relevant
If you want to stay relevant you’ll have to keep course correcting. If you lose relevancy, you’ll lose value. Create a list of action steps that bridges the present and the future. Always be creating worth.

Steinberg concludes, “Being future-proof means being flexible, greeting change, and innovating your way out of problems by training yourself to put fear on the backburner, make decisions under duress, and make the most of the tools and resources available.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:38 PM
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