How To Futureproof Your Career (Without Going Back To School)

Chris Wilson

No one knows what the future of work looks like. This morning I scoffed bacon and eggs with
my paps at Two Cougars And A Cafe.On the wall, there's a piece my Dad wrote 13 years
ago. He's written for The Hamilton Spectator nearly his entire career. This week The Spec,
founded in 1846, announced it was shutting down its presses and looking at selling the
building. In the early days of the football-sized newsroom, it pulsed with an editorial staff of
about 150. There are far fewer local reporters today.

Until two years ago, I worked in the social services field. I facilitated a cognitive-based
therapy program for youth. I also worked as a life coach with a Canada-wide initiative that
increased high school graduation rates by 75% in marginalized communities. A program
close to my heart, since I’d dropped out in Grade 11. A scary reality of what life could be like
without employable skills. It was my own version of scared straight. I went back to high
school, graduated, went on to get a college diploma and university degree. You can’t stop

But the skills you need to succeed now are not the ones you will need in five or ten years.
The 2018 Hamilton Millennial Survey suggests precarious employment is now the norm for a
significant portion of an entire generation of workers who are well-educated and trained. It's
worth defining precarious: not securely held or in position; dangerously likely to fall or
collapse. We millennials may be the first generation to experience a lower standard of living
than our parents.

Imagine life like a game of snakes and ladders. Opportunities come along that move you
ahead in the game, but then you face barriers that cause you to fall back. Almost 9 in 10
millennials said, “the game” was getting much/somewhat harder.

Lucky for you, it's never been easier to upgrade your game skills if you know where to look
and what skills you want to improve.
Determine the five skills you need to develop over the next ___ year(s) to grow into the
person you hope to become, not just mechanical skills but emotional too. Ask yourself these

● What are the five skills I could develop to help me feel more confident or capable?
● What are the simple steps I could take to improve those skills?
● Which coaches or mentors could I seek out concerning those skills? What
specifically do I want to learn?

Then develop those skills with obsessive focus through these Ten Steps Of Progressive
Mastery, a system used by three-time New York Times bestselling author Brendon

1. Determine a skill you want to master.
2. Set specific stretch goals on your path to developing that skill.
3. Attach high levels of emotion and meaning to your journey and your results.

4. Identify the factors critical to success, and developing your strengths in those areas
(and fix your weaknesses with equal persistence).
5. Develop visualizations that clearly imagine what success and failure look like.
6. Schedule challenging practices developed by experts or through careful thought.
7. Measure your progress and get outside feedback.
8. Socialize your learning and efforts by practicing or competing with others.
9. Continue setting higher-level goals so that you keep improving.
10. Teach others what you are learning.

It’s important to have fun. Design a daily routine that develops critical skills for your future
success. Use it or lose it. You don’t get fit by exercising once. You don’t learn to ride a bike
in an hour. As philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us, "Nothing great was ever
achieved without enthusiasm."

About the Author

Chris helps creatives and entrepreneurs who want to feel effective and fulfilled in their daily lives but struggle with a lack of clarity and action that's keeping them from leading happy, healthy, purpose-driven lives.