Finding yourself

Woman’s Day column: You find yourself by creating yourself

Woman's Day October 2012 issue

Well, after a several months’ break from writing this summer, my writing assignments are increasing!  Last week, I shared with you the first of my new bi-weekly  column for the Wall Street Journal on success, happiness and love.

Today, I’m glad to announce that I’ve also started a monthly column for Hearst-owned <<Woman’s Day 健康之友>> on career success in a radically changing economy.   My first column is available on newsstands now in the October 2012 issue.  Here’s the English version:

You find yourself by creating yourself

We are living in times of radical change.  Not only is our world changing, but the rate of change continues to speed up, thanks to globalization and technology change.

This has huge implications for our careers.

Twenty years ago, you could try to plan your career by moving step-by-step up the career ladder.  You started out as a junior talent, then became a manager, director, vice president, and then, someday, if you were very good and very lucky, CEO.

That’s no longer how careers work.

Take me, for instance.  At age 43, I’ve now had four careers.  After college, I became a real-estate developer.  At age 31, I was appointed Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles.  At age 35, I became a headhunter, finding CEOs and other top talent for global companies.  At age 42, I became a best-selling author and public speaker.

Over the course of your life, mostly likely you too will have not just one career, but four or five or more totally different careers.  Even if you stay in one job your entire life, that job itself will fundamentally change every few years.

Many people don’t understand this.  I’m always meeting young people who are trying to find their single career direction.  They hop from job to job, changing every few months, always seeking, and never finding, fulfillment.  So they waste time.  They waste their employers’ time, they waste their own time, and they end up with ugly resumes and lacking usable skills.

Be smarter than that. You find yourself by creating yourself.

The truth is, over the course of your career, you will have good jobs and bad jobs.  You will have good bosses and horrible bosses.  You will work for successful companies and unsuccessful companies. No matter where you are in, every single day, learn something new.  Who are the successful people in your company?  What do they have in common?  Who are the unsuccessful people at your company?  What do they have in common?  Observe everything and everyone.  Practice incorporating everything you learn into your own interactions with those around you.

In doing so, take little steps every day to transforming yourself into the better, stronger, swifter, wiser, more creative talent the world needs more of today.

And then, something funny will happen. People will recognize you as someone they want to work with.  They’ll starting bringing you fabulous new opportunities that you never could have imagined for yourself.  My becoming Deputy Mayor, my becoming a global headhunter, my becoming a best-selling author, all these were opportunities brought to me by others.

In fact, this is the way it works for all people who are consistently successful during these times of change.  They seem to have all the luck in the world.  But if you look closely, you’ll find that they’re constantly learning new things, they’re constantly reinventing themselves, and they’re constantly being sought out by others interested in collaborating with them.  By preparing themselves for new opportunities, they’re creating their own luck.

By now I’ve met tens of thousands of people, many of them the world’s most successful across every industry.  How do they do it?  How are they reinventing themselves?

What lessons can you draw from them so that you can not only survive, but thrive, in radically changing times?

In the coming months, I’ll fill you in.

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Practice your English by reading along with my audio podcast of the column here!  There, you can also subscribe by email to my English podcast.  Or, subscribe to the free Global Rencai podcast on iTunes here.