How to ensure you are maintaining your competitive edge

The world of work is changing faster than we can imagine and it seems to be picking up pace each year (if not each month). Gone are the days of stable jobs and working in one place for most of your career. The gig economy and entrepreneurship opportunities are rising and changing the way we operate as businesses. For individuals, it opens up opportunities to drop the traditional work environment for a freelance lifestyle and pursuing a passion. Many corporates are also taking note of these changes and often tapping into that space to create more innovative solutions for their businesses, and to hire these entrepreneurs (or their startups) on part time or project basis. As a working professional, in the midst of all this, how can you then ensure that you are on the right track and keeping up with these changes?

Here are 2 habits we must all implement into our career paths, whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced professional, these two points are vital for continuous growth and maintaining your relevance in the world of work. I call them a habit because they literally must become part of who you are, not something you do sometimes, it must be part of your lifestyle. Consistency is key.

Surround yourself with the right environment

Your environment matters. Who you surround yourself with matters. It is better to be alone than in bad company, as the saying goes. This does not only refer to people you are around, it also refers to what you expose yourself to. What do you listen to? What do you watch and read? What sort of information do you expose yourself to? How do you spend your weekends and evenings? Be mindful that most (if not all) what you do needs to bring you positive energy, drive, inspiration and motivation. Or at the least, it should not interfere with it. It truly matters what and who we choose to be around us. Be careful of who you allow in your space, because your surroundings can either make you or break you. Protect your space, protect your mind.

There is no end to learning

In today’s world of access and information there is no excuse to not learn something new every single day. It does not have to be huge things, but small bit and pieces which all add up to big knowledge and results. How much time do you spend reading each day? It can be reading news, articles, books, etc.? Not a fan of reading? Not a problem. How many podcasts, audiobooks or documentaries you watch?

Whether you want to stay with your current employer or move elsewhere, the next thing to think about is professional development. Self-education, regardless of the field you work in, is an invaluable tool to help you not only land a new job, make you competitive in the market, but help you reach your highest potential.

To that end, ask yourself:

  • Do you need a certification or a relevant degree, or other experience to upskills yourself?
  • Will your current skills/job role still be relevant in the next 5 to 10 years?
  • Is there a professional development program within your current company, or a professional / industry association, that you could join?
  • Does your company offer scholarships for an MBA or other professional program that might benefit your career development and progression?
  • Have you attended any recent conferences or seminars related to your industry? (These can be fantastic networking opportunities and a way of staying up-to-date on the issues affecting your chosen field).

It is never too late to progress your career and grow continuously to your untapped potential, but you have to be honest with yourself about where you are now professionally; where you want to go; and what you need to do to get there. Many things in life we cannot control, including the pace at which the world of work is changing, but what we can control is our own development and growth.

Article written by Elena Agaragimova – Managing Partner, Bessern Enterprise 

An engaging skilled trainer and talent development specialist, Tedx Speaker, with 10 years of experience, credited with combining operations, education, and international expertise to design and deliver programs for diverse audiences. Elena has a strong passion for learning and development, promoting creative and engaging workplaces and all about optimizing performance through the development of others with a keen interest in neuroscience. An experienced career and business coach, currently working with mid-level to senior level managers in various industries, supporting them in achieving their professional and personal goals.