You want your kids to become successful adults. I certainly encouraged them to be the best they can become in whatever their choice of career. But what factors have proven themselves as winning strategies?
I recall my parents nagging at me about how to become successful. Get an education they used to harp. It seemed like the universal mantra of the day. And I did get an education; a BSc in Biochemistry, a PhD in Chemistry, a post-grad certificate in Marketing.
Unfortunately, my education did not protect me from lay-offs and down-sizing. One day I was Vice President in a world leader software firm, the next day… unemployed.
Given today’s quickly changing job market what career advice can we give our kids to be successful? Do the old paradigms still work?
Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner surveyed high net worth people as to their factors for success. Although wealth is not the only measure of success, it is certainly one that people understand in our society.
The respondents cited three important factors for success.
Hard Work. Yes this old stand-by still applies. No matter what, putting in the effort is still a truism. But, you cannot just throw yourself into something without having an idea of where you want to be. Since you will be investing your time in an endeavor you need to understand why you are doing what you are doing. Is what you are doing now going to move you closer to your goal?
Education. It turns out that having education is still an important factor in being successful. However, your education, whether obtained through school or non-traditional means, is an ante into the game. It is a point in time accomplishment. The job market is continually changing and you need to adapt to the new realities. Now you need life-long learning to be successful.
Luck. Half of those surveyed identified luck as being the wild card factor in success. They recognized that being at the right place at the right time as the luck they needed to boost their career. As an example, the late Tom Clancy‘s luck came when President Reagan read and loved his book. All you can do is encourage your kids to exploit lucky opportunities that may come around.
These proven strategies lead me to trashing one thing that gets asked of kids “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That may have worked in my parent’s day and for early boomers where they planned their careers for 30 years. Today’s job reality demands a more flexible approach. Our kids need to set shorter term goals, invest in themselves continually and to quote one of my favorite songs from My Fair Lady, “With a little bit of luck, He’ll be movin’ up to easy street.”