Next Steps

by on June 28, 2017

Next Steps

Next Steps Old Wooden SignI have spent this weekend in Alabama at the graduation of my nephew.  It was great to see all of the young people receiving their diplomas and moving onto the next step in their lives.  For many it was onto their college experience.  For others it was actually returning to their home countries as they were exchange students who had done their high school years in the United States.  A few will be moving into the working world.

When I was at a comparable point in my life, students went from their high school years, onto college or into the working world.  What was often different was the next stage of life.  Working world positions often lasted for many years, sometimes an entire working life career.  After work life was over, many went onto retirement, whatever that meant for them.  And, frankly after that, old age came on quickly and ultimately failing health and moving on from this life.

Today’s world is far different than the one which I knew when I was a younger man.  The experience that the High School graduates that I viewed is often replicated by others in their life several times through their working life and beyond.  The reality of the world of today is this: the average job/work experience for an individual is to last 4 to 5 years before a change is faced.  When one thinks about what that translates to, the young people I witnessed achieving their high school graduation will likely face 12 to 13 job changes and possibly even 4 to 5 career changes over their next 40 to 45 years.  Additionally, those who “retired” in the past, now find that those years that were known as the “retirement years,” are actually a bridge for a 2nd, 3rd or whatever number lifestyle change, before facing the possibility of needing medical assistance in the last stages of a long life.

The graduates are conditioned for change in their world.  Often their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and more mature adult friends are not.  For their elders, a world that frequently changes has required learning new skills, new ways of approaching and working with and through others, and a need to examine and understand what they contribute to the world in terms of the skills they possess and the value they provide to others and not just their job title.  It has meant maybe moving from the idea of working for someone else or some corporation to perhaps working in their own business.  It is facing the fact that the world they knew is much more of a service based economy than a manufacturing based economy.  For example, it is forecasted that by 2020 40% of those working will be doing so as freelancers, consultants, contractors and moving from assignment to assignment.  Just the style of working has built into it the need to focus on where that next opportunity may be coming.

Are you prepared for what is next in your life?  If you say you don’t know what that may be, that is OK for now.  However, are you open NOW to exploring new skills to learn?  Are you open NOW to taking a seminar that may expose you to topics and ideas that you may want to explore in the future?   Are you asking yourself the question NOW, what would you do if what you do today all of a sudden is no longer there for you?  Much like the graduates who will face next steps throughout the upcoming years of their lives, we all are facing NEXT STEPS far more frequently.  The key is not dreading those next steps but being open to exploring and embracing what they may bring. 

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