One of the biggest challenges we have to tackle in the Next Economy is upskilling people. Heck, we’ve been living in a digital Economy for some time now and most people still use their computer or mobile phone to send emojis, animated gifs and memes to each other. That’s about as much as they know what to do with computing!
They have no idea, nor do they seem to care, that there’s a whole new world to explore through the internet. There are new worlds to create which require new skills that you have to develop. The problem is that you have a lot of people that have for most of their adult lives been trained to think in a certain way. And as we’ve talked about before, unlearning what you believe and know is a hard challenge most never take on.
Most of the dialogue about upskilling revolves around companies training their employees. But to overcome the upskill challenge, which has never been easy, I think there are two things that we have to focus on:
- People need to be taught how to create options for themselves;
- People need to take responsibility for their own evolution.
Most small businesses don’t train their employees. So you’re on your own unless you work for a large corporation that invests in training their employees. Still, you should be upskilling yourself.
Let me give you an example. The second business I owned was an ecommerce company, we built and marketed custom stores for brands. At this point in my life, I didn’t know a damn thing about internet marketing. One of my business partners was a marketer, but internet marketing was new to him as well.
Who do you think ended up doing the marketing for our business? Yep, you’re right, I did.
I learned internet marketing through trial and error, reading as much as I could and learning from the mistakes of others. In doing so I developed new skills. I wouldn’t have developed these skills if I hadn’t leaped into a new context.
Most people don’t do this. The just stick to what they know and have done for some time. You should always be learning. Not once a week or month, or every other month! But everyday. Learning is fun because you have to take on new things; this has always come natural to me. It’s the only way I know how to operate.
I’ve heard people tell me they like to learn. But, they don’t want responsibility. They don’t want stress. Well, let me tell you something: you have to embrace discomfort if you want to live, not survive.
Never assume that the Future of Work will look the same as it does today; it’s already changing. The digital economy has enabled many people to have many sources of income, not just one, which they’ve embraced by putting skills they can’t use at work and developing new ones. These people have taken responsibility for their own evolution and have created options for themselves.