Here are some ideas for how to thrive over the next twelve months, starting now. No matter what the past has brought, you still have choice and the power to act, to craft a future in which to thrive.
Build new foundations
You need to plant your feet firmly if you are to leap, which means looking at the basics that will enable you to start moving, whatever the direction.
1. Pull together the right support.
No one really thrives alone. The team you need for the future, especially if you are not sure what the future holds, includes people who are unlike you, but whom you trust. Who do you know who is:
- Younger with a better grasp of trends?
- Older with insight into deeper patterns?
- A peer with different skills that balance yours?
How could you combine their insights to guide your action?
2. Take actions that express your values.
The past is where you learnt. The future is where you apply that learning. And values are the fuel for plans and action.
- What matters most to you but is absent around you?
- What single action – a speech, an article, a conversation with someone you care about – makes that value visible to others?
- How can you build this into doing your job better or finding a better role?
Thriving means expanding the range and depth of your engagement with the world.
1. Reach out to new people
Your unknown future may be something someone else already knows well. New directions need new guides and it’s fun seeking them out.
- Reach out to an exciting person who would be welcomed into your professional community.
- Reconnect with a past colleague who has gone ‘missing in action’, while you were both busy.
- Who is already doing what you’d like to do next?
2. Deliver your unique value
You have proven you can have an impact on the world, by making things or solving problems or helping others apply their talents. Refresh that value and find new ways to apply it.
- What’s your gut feel about what you want to change in the next phase of your life?
- Who would notice your impact?
- How do you want that impact to be measured and how is that different from your track record?
Thriving, as the world changes and as we change, means going deeper, into the reality you face and into your own nature. This can be tough but is the essence of a fulfilling life.
1. Turn anxiety into courage
The future and the call to grow your engagement with the world, are frightening and thrilling at the same time. That’s natural. Anxiety is a useful signal about what might also be exciting and a good direction to proceed.
- Examine your feeling about the future and tease it out. Is your focus on material well-being, the size of a problem, your limits, your reputation or a potential catastrophe? When it’s familiar, our anxiety reveals how to transform it.
- Share your fears. There’s bound to be someone you know who has the key to handling your anxiety – and perhaps you have the key to theirs.
- How can your familiarity with this problem become a solution you provide to the world?
2. Turn uncertainty into innovation
One way to handle uncertainty is to turn it into a design problem. Uncertainty is a given, but it’s just one constraint on innovating.
- How could you innovate on yourself? Change a life pattern? Go to university? Take a new risk? Take your abilities into a new industry?
- What research would open up possibilities for your future? What facts, trends, new technologies & concepts, people or places would match your aspirations?
- What do you have the courage to drop, so that you have room to accept something new?