Enjoy the journey 

How do we spend our time? What do we want to focus on? What matters? These are BIG questions which need to be addressed for a life well lived. I am interested in our journey and how we all create an impact in what we do. I recently added a survey on my Linked IN post and asked people to give advice to a young person starting their career journey. Here are the results:

42% voted: Enjoy the journey 

28% voted: Be kind and help others

24% voted: Focus on work/life balance

and 7% voted” Work hard

“Enjoy the journey” was by far the most popular vote. I started exploring how we can get prepared for this journey and more specifically for our “leadership journey which includes both decisions we make in our research, work and life. I have listed the four components we need to work on, to navigate our new world full of uncertainty and complexity.  

Purpose and motivation

What do you want to do? What drives you and pushes you to get out of bed in the morning? When I ask this question to researchers and leaders across sectors, I often hear the word passion. Researchers ask pertinent questions, challenge the status quo and push boundaries to find new cures, solve world problems and help us understand the past so that we can shape a better future. Entrepreneurs share also this passion for innovation and trying to bring something new in the market. Passion is a common factor, and this is also shared by game changers and leaders who are interested in making a positive impact on the world.  

In this complex and uncertain world, the need to go back to our purpose, will increase. Clarity of purpose will be very important, and we need to make sure this is shared and understood by all. During difficult times, our motivation can decrease, and we need to learn to work with this. Remember the broader goals whilst working on milestones, small steps and adapting your plans. Purpose and motivation are intrinsically linked.  

Embrace lifelong learning and learn new skills    

The pace of change is accelerating across fields and sectors. This encourages us to develop relevant skills that can help us maximise the impact of our work. Where to start? Check the links below to identify the skills that you need to develop.

We all need to decide the type of skills we need to gain and nurture over time. Some of us have already re-trained, whilst for others, lifelong learning is a new concept. Nevertheless, to navigate this new world order, we need to adapt and learn. Digital technologies make this accessible to many of us. But remember, choose wisely between technical skills and soft skills and make sure you have the opportunity to put it into practice to embed the learning. 

Top soft skills in demand 

  • Creativity, problem solving 
  • Teamwork and Collaboration 
  • Leadership skills including Emotional Intelligence
  • Communication skills including social influence 
  • Professionalism and ethics

For more information, check the links below  

Adopt multiple mindsets  

You may have heard of Carol Dweck’s work on Growth Mindset. This has been increasingly popular in the Education system but can also be applied to our workplace and life. Our ability to adapt and learn from our mistakes, believe that we have the resources and networks to find the best ways to solve our problems. 

Mindsets help us gain perspectives and broaden our views of the world. I would also encourage you to explore two distinct mindsets:

Collaborative mindset: this will help you find new connections and opportunities in your research, projects and life. Our ability to connect with diverse people during a crisis and a time of renewal, is critical. Through collaboration, you can speed up results and access to markets, you can innovate and create better solutions. We do not have all the answers and the skill sets – collaborations are at the heart of innovation and creativity. This collaborative mindset takes time to develop and I would encourage to explore what makes a good collaboration for you and your partners and design an environment that fosters success.

Digital mindset: technology is a large part of our life and we need to embrace it at work, in our research and our lives. We can of course switch off from time to time, identify the best technology for us but, ultimately, our digital life is gaining momentum. This is increasing with the pressures of the pandemic on our physical world. I would encourage you to explore the use of social media to communicate your research, promote your products and services and share your voice on key issues you can positively influence.

Wisdom and compassion

Act with wisdom and compassion by connecting with others and to support sound decisions for the greater good. The world needs wisdom and the good news is that we can learn to be wiser and share this with our connections!

We can define wisdom as “simply doing the right thing for the greater good, all things considered”. It seems common sense to me but it requires reasoning, judgment, reflective action, compassion and a wide understanding of our context.

It is work in progress and some of us may have inherited from some inner wisdom (I have already met some of you!), most of us need to grow our wisdom. 

I have come across this book by J. Martin Hays, “Wisdom learning: perspectives for wising up management education”. This has given me hope. I believe that kindness, compassion and wisdom can be taught at school, college and at work. We can draw on each other’s wisdom, from past authors, to build a brighter future and also enjoy the journey!

What else would you add to ensure you prepare and enjoy your journey?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Enjoy the journey!