Alan Weinkrantz has a series of interesting blog posts over at Chris Brogan's Owner Mag on the idea of the StartOver economy. This is an economy where things are moving quickly and where yesterday's success is no guarantee that tomorrow will bring the same.
This idea of the StartOver economy should resonate with all of us. Often the StartOver is a result of forces outside of our control--the impact of technology on our jobs or the unrelenting downsizing that is going on world-wide. If we haven't experienced a layoff ourselves, we certainly know plenty of people who have.
For mid-career professionals, the StartOver can occur when we've reached a pinnacle of success in our field and realize that we're bored with where we're at or that we need to explore a long-deferred dream. We want to re-boot and reconnect with aspects of ourselves that we may have put on hold while we pursued more narrow notions of succcess.
Most of us will have to master how to navigate the StartOver economy if we hope to have a thriving career that carries us through 40+ years of work. Even if we're convinced that we will not change and want something different, I can assure you that the job market will change and force you into starting over.
How do you navigate the StartOver economy is the question.
This is where the skills and habits of career resilience come into play. We must develop the patterns of Clarifying, Connecting, Creating and Coping, all of which play a role in supporting our capacity to start over as we need to.
We must be clear about ourselves--our passions, skills and gifts. How are our values changing? How is our work supporting (or not) our desire to have autonomy, mastery and purpose at work?
We must also be clear about what is happening in the larger world. What are the trends and issues that impact our particular occupation and industry? What is happening in other industries that might offer new opportunities?
The interplay between our self-knowledge and the opportunities around us is where we will find the sweet spot for starting over. But we can only find this spot when we develop the necessary clarity.
Our relationships--both work and personal--play a huge role in the StartOver economy.
Sometimes they are the catalyst for change. Sometimes they provide avenues to new opportunities that we never considered. And sometimes they are the circle of connections that gives us the strength and guidance we need to navigate the re-boot.
It can be challenging to maintain healthy connections, but it's so necessary. There's an African proverb that says "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." This should be the mantra of the StartOver economy.
Change can be isolating, but if we do the work to build and maintain community, we can feel less alone.
Action and creating is at the heart of the StartOver economy. As we clarify and connect, how do we then turn to the actions that will best support where we want to go next? How do we translate insight into action?
In particular, we should be thinking about creating multiple income streams, moving away from the idea of the full time"job" and into solopreneurship and the soulful side gig. Even if we have a traditional job, we must still develop our capacity to be entrepreneurial and to create stability through diversified opportunities.
We also need to be more willing to experiment and take risks--to create our futures, rather than sitting back and responding to what comes our way. This is the best way to build the skills we need for the future, as well as to find opportunities we may never have considered.
Our careers are not machines, but gardens we must grow and the act of experimenting is us planting seeds and investing in our own futures.
Finally, we must develop our capacity to cope with change. How do we take care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally so that we can find the strength and courage we need to start over? Self-care is critical and I find that many of us do a terrible job with it.
We also have to look at how we frame our experiences. Do we see challenge and obstacles everywhere or do we look for opportunities and learning? The stories we tell ourselves about what's happening in our circumstances and about our own capacity to respond can have huge impacts on our ability to start over.
And do we persist as we go through change or do we give up and lose ground?
We need to accept that change is a natural part of life and get more comfortable with moving at a slower pace. The world we live in fools us into believing that everything should be "instant" and "on demand." But while the StartOver Economy may thrust us into sudden change, it still takes time for us to absorb and move through it to that next phase.
What Do You Own?
In the end, navigating the StartOver Economy is about owning yourself and your choices. Owner Mag says that owners work constantly on the following things:
- Core – our responsibility, our self, our dreams and goals going beyond our thoughts and into the world.
- Structure – without structure, there’s no way for our core to be expressed.
- Communication – we need to express ourselves, to share, to report, and to create (first thoughts, then words, then deeper communication and understanding.)
- Capabilities – we work daily to expand our capabilities (personally, professionally, through our network).
- Opportunities – we train our eye to see opportunities, and we train our hearts to help others find their way to theirs.
- Community – we work from the mindset that we serve our family, friends, our allies, and those who give us their attention.
- Worth – we strive to expand our worth and the worth of those around us, in as many facets as that word evokes.
- Growth – we grow ourselves, our community, our circle, and all we can help in some way.
I agree completely with these ideas and see them as complements to the principles of career resilience that can help us get that much clearer about how we can navigate starting over.
What are your thoughts on all this? How are you working in the StartOver economy? Leave a comment here or join us over on the Facebook Page.