As the year’s second quarter begins, it’s time to move from preparation to action. And the next step of the BUILD Journey is Skills. Let’s discuss ways you can set yourself up for future-proof success with AI.
We are in April 2023. For all transparency, the first months of the year have been far from what I had envisioned, and I have tested my adaptability skills more than ever before. After focusing on the foundations in the first quarter, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
One is never knowledgeable enough that there’s nothing else to learn. Not before, not nowadays. Earlier today, I watched a fragment from a Brazilian TV program on how the requirements of a good Executive Assistant went from typing fast to having Emotional Intelligence and being able to deal with stress.
We experienced changes in all professional areas in the past decade. And in our personal lives, how we organize ourselves and perform mundane tasks has also drastically evolved. But even changes that seem to happen in the blink of an eye have been, in fact, in development for a long time. While you may feel that AI was born with ChatGPT, you have been playing with Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant for years already, to mention some of its most popular players.
But how can we fit into this revolution? What do we need to do to stay relevant and keep up? The most straightforward answer is to develop a future-proof skill set. Using the BUILD framework, here are some examples:
- Bold Skills
- Useful Skills
- Interesting Skills
- Lasting Skills
- Doable Skills
You’ll need to leave your comfort zone anyway, so there’s no reason to hold back. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been investing massively in my professional growth. A few certifications later, I got clarity on the path I wanted to BUILD for myself: Junior Chief of Staff. Without being stuck on the title (other alternatives are Strategic Assistant, Head of Strategic Initiatives, or C-suite Associate), my focus is on the job content. To make sure I’ll be ready when an opportunity comes, I have been dedicating myself to:
- Exposing myself to new technologies;
- Learning how AI works and how I can benefit from it;
- Improving my prompting skills;
- Connecting with other like-minded professionals;
- Applying new-learned skills to my daily job to become even more efficient.
- Based on your BUILD plan, what future-proof skills do you need to achieve your goals?
- How can you use AI to your advantage?
AI is the first thing that comes to mind regarding future-proof skills. Everyone is talking about it, and we can apply it to help us with our work and hobbies. Embracing AI-driven tools can increase your efficiency and effectiveness in various tasks.
If using ChatGPT overwhelms you, I recommend using Bing, as it incorporates AI to deliver more relevant search results. If you live in the USA or UK, I recommend applying for Bard*.
Here are some additional AI tools that can be useful in your career:
- Zapier for automating repetitive tasks and streamlining workflows.
- Descript for detecting and removing filler words from videos and podcasts.
- What AI tools could help you improve your efficiency and effectiveness in your current role?
- How can you implement these AI tools into your daily workflow to enhance your skills?
Another way I have been using to practice my AI skills is by creating images with:
DALL-E is perfect for beginners, while Midjourney will take your prompts to the next level. Canva has been my go-to tool for design and branding since 2014. The recent AI-based roll-outs were the cherry on top of the icing.
You don’t need the ambition to become an artist to start playing with these tools. Just ensure you follow the AI etiquette and take credit for the creation (the recommended practice).
- In what fields of interest have you already used AI?
- What other applications would you like to experiment with?
What AI will look like in the future is impossible to predict. The tools we use now and how we use them will also change. However, the skills we can learn as “first-wave” adopters remain. They will evolve but won’t disappear (remember that I’ve been using Canva for almost ten years!).
Lasting skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, adaptability, and collaboration. By developing these core skills, you’ll be able to transfer them to new tools and technologies that emerge in the future.
To develop lasting skills, you can also try other AI tools, such as:
- Grammarly for enhancing your writing and communication skills
- Quillbot for improving your writing, including paraphrasing and summary.
- What lasting skills can you develop now to ensure you stay relevant in the future?
- How can you build on these skills as technology evolves?
Even though I do my best to learn as much as possible from my colleagues, I don’t want to become a (Prompt) Engineer. Therefore, it makes no sense to waste my time with skills that are not applicable to my career goals. Focus on skills that are attainable and relevant to your desired role or industry. These doable skills could involve specific software proficiency, project management, data analysis, or presentation techniques.
Some AI tools to help develop doable skills include:
- What doable skills can you focus on to achieve your desired position or career growth?
- How can you prioritize your learning to maximize your efforts?
What’s in for you
Only you can decide how to apply the tips above to your needs. Use my questions as conversation starters to get clarity on what skills can make a difference in your professional career and personal life. There is never a correct answer. It all depends on where you are, what you want to achieve, how much you can dedicate to developing new skills (time & money), and your definition of success.
The latter is essential because it will help define your efforts. Suppose you want to learn how to cook not to cause your family members indigestion. In that case, you won’t need the same level of commitment as someone who wants to open a restaurant.
Save your brainstorming! Whether online or on paper, ensure you have your draft close to you as much as possible, and don’t hesitate to review it as you progress. Don’t get attached to the path; your goal is what truly matters.
If you have questions or want inspiration, please follow me on LinkedIn. You’ll also get a closer look at my progress.
Wishing you tons of success! Keep on BUILDing.
*Unfortunately, Bard was not supported in my country when I wrote this article.
What does consistency mean to you? Let’s look at different ways to BUILD consistency sustainably.
Can you give me the name of a consistent person you know and admire:
- Why do you think so?
- What do they do that helps them build consistency?
I am sure I will get different answers to the questions above, but they will all still be correct and relevant. It happens because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all to consistency. However, the more consistent you are, the easier it will be to:
- Manage stress
- Build trust
- Reinforce your reputation
Having a consistent plan gives peace of mind and saves energy. You don’t go out there just doing stuff, or firefighting. You have a goal you want to achieve, and you work on it regularly to reach your objective.
When you perform consistently throughout your career, people know they can count on you. Your successes aren’t the results of one-off efforts but of persistent achievements.
Reinforce your reputation
Like trust, earning your reputation involves consistently delivering top-quality work within agreed due dates, or promptly informing stakeholders of possible delays and offering solutions.
Note that consistency is not a synonym for repetition. It is about developing a sustainable pattern that creates space for what truly matters and achieving the desired results.
How you can BUILD consistency
If you can improve consistency in your life, start by deciding where you want to begin. It is a change of habits that will require time and energy initially, so you should play smart. A few ideas are:
- Work out regularly
- Learn a new skill
- Make time for yourself
To begin, choose what you want to do:
- What kind of physical activity do you want to start?
- What skill would you like to learn?
- What do you want to do in your me-time?
Then, decide how much time you have, and are willing to invest. What must you change in your current routine to create the necessary space? Remember that a day has 24 hours; sacrificing your sleep to add extra time isn’t healthy or sustainable.
Finally, even the most perfect plan may require some changes. Life happens, and you have less free time, for example. Or you get involved in a “once-in-a-lifetime project,” and you must shuffle your priorities.
Making conscious modifications based on your new reality and redefining what consistency looks like is a smart move that will help you to stay on track.
The whole idea behind the BUILD Journey is to support different personal development initiatives. It’s a means to achieve things in life while maintaining a (relative*) balance. Nobody wants to be consistent just for the sake of being consistent.
If this is your first attempt to become more consistent, don’t expect to get it right on the first try. Like Myka Meier says, “practice until you become.” Ultimately, you want to be consistent to achieve meaningful goals. So set your focus on what matters, and keep it up!
For more tips on how to take your consistency plan to the next level, please read this blog post.
Read the other posts in this series:
* Balance means something different for everyone. For some, it implies having a 9-to-5 job that allows them to play with the kids at night. For others, it can be having flexible hours to dedicate to sports activities.
What to do when life gets “in the way” of your habits? I put together 10 tips and strategies to help you out. Let’s do this!
One of the concerns I had when I decided to build habits for 2023 was making it stick. I didn’t want it to be overwhelming or too hard to keep up, and end up giving up at the first challenge. I am proud of my stubbornness, but I know better than to push myself so hard that I have to stop.
The line between pushing through and burning out is very thin when you are a doer like me. While I’m still trying to figure out what “balance” means to me, I seem to be able to get a few things done.
As I mentioned in my blog “5 Easy Steps To Plan New Habits For Success,” it’s imperative that one keeps it simple. With that said, in my current experiment, I am going for more than 3 habits at the same time. The trick, however, is that I am not doing them all on a daily basis.
How it has been going
From the 5 I picked for 2023, I divided them as follows:
- Daily: journaling
- 3 times a week: riding a bike
- Twice a week: yoga or another kind of physical activity
- Monthly: reading a book and publishing a blog
Drilling down on how I am balancing them is:
- Journaling: how much I write or decorate depends on my availability and mood. I am only keeping one journal (not various as I used to), which also simplifies things a lot. While I am following my “365 Questions For A Better You” and “Cafe Analog’s Project Me,” I don’t feel guilty if I skip a day or two and play catch later on. The most important thing is consistency.
- Riding a bike: I am following a similar approach to cycling. Since it’s winter now, I am 100% on Zwift, but whether I do one of Helen’s amazing workouts for the Rocacorba Collective or just spin somewhere in Watopia depends exclusively on how much free time I have in my hands. The same goes for whether I stream on Twitch or not.
- Yoga: I’ve been using yoga as an extra trick to wind down. Sleep has become an even bigger challenge than it used to be in the past years. Doing a few breathing exercises helps me calm down and relax.
- Reading a book: As I want to read a book per month, I set a schedule for a total of pages read. It depends a lot on the book, but it helps me keep a doable rhythm. On the weekends, I usually have more time to read, so I can always catch up if necessary without stressing out.
- Publishing a blog: Believe it or not, this is the trickiest one because it depends on having the inspiration and time together to sit in front of the laptop. Remember what I just said about sleeping? I’m a night owl and tend to have my peaks late in the evening, but that means that I stay behind the screen when I should already be unwinding. This is one to keep an eye on definitely.
10 strategies to build habits that stick
This is what has been working for me (more or less, but I’ll tell you the details another time). Depending on what you want to achieve, you will need a different approach.
Here are 10 tips and strategies that will help you build habits that stick, no matter what goal you have:
- Start small: One of the most important things when building habits that stick is to start small. It’s better to begin with a small habit that you can easily integrate into your daily routine and gradually build upon it. For example, if you want to start running, start with a 5-minute run every day and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.
- Make it a part of your routine: The best way to build habits that stick is to make them a part of your daily routine. For instance, if you want to start meditating, try to do it at the same time every day, like right before you go to bed or right after you wake up.
- Track your progress: Keeping track of your progress is a great way to stay motivated and accountable. You can use a habit tracker app or a journal to keep track of your progress and celebrate your wins along the way.
- Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to building habits that stick. Try to stick to your habit every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Even a little progress each day can add up over time.
- Reward yourself: It’s important to reward yourself for your hard work and progress. When you achieve a milestone or hit a goal, celebrate it! Treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a nice meal or a movie.
- Stay accountable: Find a friend or a group who is also trying to build habits and hold each other accountable. Share your progress, successes, and setbacks with them, and motivate each other to keep going.
- Focus on the process, not just the outcome: Building habits is a process, and it’s important to focus on the journey, not just the destination. Celebrate your progress and small wins along the way, and don’t get too discouraged by setbacks or failures.
- Be patient: Building habits that stick takes time and patience. It’s important to remember that progress is not always linear, and there may be ups and downs along the way. Stay committed, stay patient, and keep going.
- Experiment with different approaches: Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you. For example, if you’re trying to build a habit of exercising, try different types of exercise, different times of day, and different durations to see what works best for you.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day or slip up. Building habits is a journey, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Instead of beating yourself up, focus on getting back on track and continuing to move forward
Focus on the process, not just the outcome: Building habits is a process, and it’s important to focus on the journey, not just the destination. Celebrate your progress and small wins along the way, and don’t get too discouraged by setbacks or failures.
Good luck! 🍀
My word for 2023 is BUILD. In this blog series I’ll share how I’m bringing my personal development vision to life one month at a time and show how you can do the same to become a more successful version of yourself.
Just in case you are wondering this is not another New Year’s Resolutions post. To be sincere, the word gives me the creeps as, to me, it’s a synonym for “things you say you are going to do but you know you won’t (for long).” With that out of the way, let’s get started.
The BUILD Journey
I know it’s all semantics, but I prefer to use the word “commitment” to describe my plans for the upcoming year. It feels more than just deciding on doing something on a whim, but fully engaging oneself with whatever one wishes to accomplish. For 2023, to keep things simpler, I’m sticking to my word of the year: BUILD. I chose a verb because “action” will be at the center of my decisions BUILD is also an acronym that stands for:
- B = bold: stretching oneself outside the comfort zone
- U = useful: supports personal development
- I = interesting: appeals to individual preferences
- L = lasting: it’s not just a fad
- D = doable: simple to accomplish
The BUILD Journey will focus on a different aspect of my life each month:
- A career
My January Plan
My plan to kick off the BUILD Journey in January consists of the following steps:
- Journaling on a daily basis
- Riding a bike (indoors or outside) 3 times a week
- Doing yoga or other physical activity 2 times a week
- Reading one book per month
- Publishing one blog post per month
It’s a simple plan that fits my busy schedule, even in the busiest months. Which means I can stick to it all year round.
How to build your plan
Planning is not something everyone feels comfortable with, let alone sketching an entire year beforehand. Not only does it sound like a lot of work (that will probably be wasted), but it can be overwhelming too. Well, not really… I am not going to lie to you: I love making plans and seeing them come true. Even if navigating through them doesn’t end up the same way I had envisioned them in the beginning, I still enjoy the process. It takes willpower and patience, but also a good dose of self-knowledge (or at least the intention of getting to know oneself better). Since the pandemic, we have also become more flexible, haven’t we? If months in lockdown was a reality check on what we can control, I don’t know what else would be. Maybe you are not into plans and prefer a carefree approach to life and that’s fine. I am not here to say you cannot make it because you aren’t crazy about planners, journals and whatnot like myself. However, even a free soul can benefit from some structure to achieve their objectives. How your plan will look depends on things such as your goals and availability. If you want to master a sport but can only train once a week, it’s better to adapt to the desired results or you’ll only get disappointment and we don’t want that. Remember that while not ideal, don’t hesitate to restart as many times as necessary if life comes in the way. Be always kind to yourself, including when things don’t go as you wanted. Realize that the progress you’re making sometimes won’t be visible to you. The important thing to keep in mind here is that not being visible is not the same as not being present. E.g. you are going to the gym to lose weight and after a couple of sessions, you are still not seeing any weight loss. This could be because you are building muscles in addition to burning fat. Since muscles weigh more than fat, on the scale this might not translate itself into the desired weight loss. But if you stick to the plan, the muscle growth will stabilize and all of a sudden you will start losing weight. The moral of the story? Don’t give up too soon.
More planning tips
To help you get some clarity, I highly recommend you check these posts:
What’s your opinion and experience with planning? I’d love to hear your thoughts.