It’s really important to prepare for future opportunities when you’re young. Yes, you want to enjoy the present, but the future is coming, and what you do now can have a big impact in the future. Even if you just do a little each day to prepare, start tomorrow and you will have a lot to show for in a few years.
It’s pretty rare for someone to have a job they love and find meaning in during their twenties, but I think it’s a goal for most people. Ideally we are able to spend the majority of our waking hours doing something we love and don’t need an escape from, something that uses our unique talents and challenges.
It takes time to get there though.
The last thing you want is to have the same set of skills in 5 years as you do right now. If you can’t get the job you want now, you aren’t going to get it in the future if you don’t develop your skills and improve. If you can’t work hard now, it’s unlikely you will be able to in the future unless you start to use some discipline.
You can start preparing for future opportunities today, even if you want to work in a different industry than you work in right now. Growth is so crucial in your twenties because there is so much to develop, and the people who increase their skills the most now will be better off in the future.
Don’t just be comfortable with your current setup and skills at age 25. I sure hope I’m a lot wiser, talented, and effective down the road than I am right now. I hope my skills and confidence are a lot higher, but these things will only happen if we work for it. So here are 7 ways you can prepare for future opportunities.
1 Identify & Develop the Skills You’ll Need
When the chance to get the job or opportunity comes, you will want to be ready. Having the needed skills will help you to secure the opportunity, and then will help you to thrive. This doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect or have it all figured out, but if you want something in particular, you should be training for that now. For example, if your desired future includes public speaking, then you should be practicing that now so that when you have the opportunity you’ll find success.
Identify the skills you will want and need, and begin to build those skills now.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in a certain industry and to network. Nearly every industry has some sort of association or nonprofit, and those will have programs/events you can volunteer at.
Plus, if it’s for a good cause, you will get bonus meaning points.
3 Be mentored
It’s important to learn from people who have actually succeeded in the field or industry you want to excel in. These people have walked the path you want to go on, and you should seek to learn as much from them as you can. Being mentored doesn’t have to be an official partnership (though it’s great when that happens), but it does mean that you need to cultivate a relationship with the other person. Ask them questions (while respecting their time) and seek to give back to them whenever you can.
There is also mentorship through learning. I bet some of the people you admire have written a book, have a podcast, or produce content in some way. You can learn from them through their content and their story. Donald Miller, Tim Ferriss, and Seth Godin could be called mentors of mine, even though I don’t have a relationship with any of them.
Networking is key to preparing for future opportunities. The relationships you build now might directly or indirectly lead to a job or big break down the road. If you’re not currently working in the industry you want to be in, then connect with the people who are. If you’re already in the right industry, then broaden and deepen your network as much as you can, both online and in person. Join groups, build relationships, start a community. The more people you know and the better you know them, the better the chance it will turn into an opportunity.
5 Start a Website/Blog/Podcast/Etc.
You can start creating content now that will help you to gain experience now as you build for the future. Running a blog and committing to it will help you develop skills in marketing, customer service, business development, and more. Regardless of what you do in the future, these are good skills.
Also, having a side hustle that’s relevant to your industry can help set you apart during future job searches. Who knows, your content might turn into a career itself.
6 Always Be Learning
I wrote a post about this a few months ago, and it’s something that I believe to be incredibly important. You always want to be growing and learning. You’re either going forwards or backwards. Read books, listen to podcasts, practice your skills. Always be taking in knowledge from people who are wiser and more experienced than you.
Stay up to date with the industry. Learn the trends and what’s in the news. The world is constantly evolving, especially with technology, so you want to be sure you’re up to date.
7 Work hard
Now is the time to work your butt off to grow in every way you can. Experiment. Practice. Learn. Fail. Succeed. Any experience you gain now will pay dividends in the future. You don’t have to hit it big tomorrow, but you should do everything you can to set yourself up for the future. Also, work ethic is an absolute necessity if you want to reach your goals and make an impact. Have discipline and don’t be lazy.
Sometimes life can feel like a grind and it’s hard to see beyond the current circumstance, but you will have a lot of opportunities in the future if you begin putting in the work now. If you are constantly learning and making connections with people, then no effort is wasted. Prepare now so that you can reach your potential later.