This week we have the pleasure of visiting with Diana Wu David. She is a TEDx speaker and author of the book Future Proof. Her company, Sarana Labs, invests in young people and companies to prepare them for a bright future. Diana shares her thoughts with us on our newest podcast and as a guest on our blog. Enjoy! -ZH


There’s been a lot of discussions lately about what work will look like in an age of globalization and automation. I think we’ll see people coming together, collaborating on joint experiments, and solving important problems.

So what does a future-proof life look like?

A future-proof life is one that has considered how to mitigate the risk of accelerating change and disruption by being prepared mentally, professionally, and financially. It is a life with a broad enough definition of success to honor the experiences, relationships, and opportunities you’ve achieved, not just milestones of achievement externally defined.

It is always adapting and proactively seeking the next learning opportunity aligned with values and focus. Honoring yourself in more varied and creative ways contributes far more to your ultimate success.

Redefining Success

When I think about redefining success, I reflect on a corporate lawyer friend of mine, Jennifer: she didn’t love every aspect of her job but thought a lot about her values and desire to help people. By doing so, she expanded into a role in thought leadership. This helped her win the top employment lawyer award in Asia, which she might not have been able to do without taking a close look at her passions. She followed her curiosity to a natural place where she leveraged her experience into something new, challenging, and exciting.

Likewise, Lale Kesebi launched her strategy lab, human-at.work, to broaden what she did for one organization to other companies trying to build great businesses for humans.

Both redefined success, beyond just clocking in and out every day, to reach further and be more ambitious about living their own visions of success.

which way to go

An Action Plan for Success

It’s not easy to break from enduring habits, belief systems, and past prestige to explore and find new ways to grow personally and professionally. The greatest resistance we sometimes meet is ourselves. Yet we owe it to ourselves to create alternate opportunities and plunge in bravely past our own resistance to set a new course to new ideas of success and significance.

Success can be broadly defined. A rigid definition exposes you to the risk of not realizing that the winds are shifting, and you might not be ready. The company you work for may no longer be around in the coming years, or the industry might be dramatically disrupted. With self-awareness and courage to act, you can prepare for those kinds of events and capitalize on the lack of structure to create one that best serves you.

Don’t wait for success to come to you and don’t think that once you have it, it’s there forever. Think about where you are today, where your work is heading, and take calculated risks to get where you want to be. Many people reading this article are already in that frame of mind or they’re nervous and not exactly sure how to move forward.

Yet they have a lot of career capital and can become leaders in the new economy. To maximize your potential, it’s vital to think, reflect, and shift your perspective. Many of us are already leaders of some sort, which makes us even more responsible to think and reimagine the future of work for ourselves and others. Get out there and challenge your ideas. Craft your own life and role model the possibilities of the future. It’s time to act.

-Diana

You can find Diana’s 11 steps to future proof yourself at http://bit.ly/prepareforfuture

For more advice on the future of work, you can find Future Proof on Amazon.

You can read more of Diana’s insights on her LinkedIn and on her blog. You can also listen to her TEDx talk, The Difference Between Running and Running Free, here.