Ah the glory days! We all have them in one form or another. It could have been when you landed that big client, and it made you the “it” girl in your industry for a period of time. Or maybe you took a job at a dotcom company and made a financial killing at a time when money was a plentiful as booth babes and geeks at a Comdex conference. Maybe you were a hot shot athlete and landed a corporate job that paid you an amazing salary and benefit package, and gave you a budget that was big enough that it would covered up even terrible decisions, and you had your heyday. In all of these cases, you were the “it” person; the successful dot-commer; the hotshot executive. It’s awesome! It should be celebrated – and then it should have cold water thrown on it. Why?
If you’re one that has had the good fortune to experience a time like that, then you know that those accomplishments will not always carry you into your future. Far too many professionals have found out the hard way that success is unpredictable. Industries wane. Companies fail. Superstars lose their jobs — or worse, we get (dare I say) older. The markets shift, technology speeds it all up, business needs change, and way too many are left on the sidelines wondering: What happened? I used to be a hot shot! I am good at what I do – why can’t they see that? I did x, y, z and managed divisions of hundreds of people. I’m important! I should have that job. I’m smart. I was a big shot!
Unfortunately too many don’t understand that you’re really only as smart as your next move. Your past won’t really matter when technology and trends continue to change and make your skills obsolete. Your successes will be irrelevant when bigger, bolder and extreme become the norm. Your opportunities will diminish with every year that passes, even if you don’t feel your age.
Your value, your success, your desired life will be dependent on how well you play the game of life – and life is about forward momentum and learning new things, not staying stuck in the past. It’s often like three-dimensional chess — every move matters and impacts multiple dimensions.
So remember, you are only as smart as your next move. Some moves will set you back. Learn from them, and then move forward again. Remember your successes to remind you of your value, but don’t depend on them to carry you forever. Continue to learn how to add new value, and not only will you make smarter choices, you’ll add wisdom and experience to the mix – something that not many people have cultivated which will make you stand out and be that superstar you know you are!