If You Want the Career of Your Dreams, #AlwaysBeLearning

October 24, 2016

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How will you build the career of your dreams?

A big part of it is hard work and dreaming big. But you could work harder than anyone and dream bigger than anyone, and you’ll probably have a good career.

But you won’t have the career of your dreams.

That’s because you likely don’t have the skills today to do your dream job. And no matter how hard you work at your current job, or how badly you want that ideal one, if you don’t learn what’s necessary to excel in that position you are never going to reach your full potential.

Beyond that, research from the World Economic Forum says that the average lifespan of a skill has shrunk to five years, and that by 2020 more than seven million current jobs will be gone and replaced by positions that do not yet exist.

The pessimists out there will say those are scary statistics. But the realist out there will have a much different view – if you can master the skills needed to get those jobs, there’s a great opportunity for the taking.

In other words, your professional success – especially in today’s incredibly fluid economy – comes down to your ability to learn new skills. And if you truly want to live the career of your dreams, you need to #AlwaysBeLearning.

For proof, just look at two people who’ve had incredible professional triumphs, and their learning journey:

How #AlwaysBeLearning helped one woman start her own company on a tropical island

Ashley Ladlie was working in business management in Minnesota when she visited St. John, one of the US Virgin Islands, for the first time. Immediately, she fell in love with the place, and wanted to build her new life there.

The problem? She still had to support herself obviously, and her job was still based in Minnesota.

So she used LinkedIn Learning content to learn Photoshop and WordPress to the point she became proficient in building and redesigning websites. Through that, she was able to build her own web design business, based out of a solar-powered cottage in the midst of a St. John orchard.

“I’ve never been so happy with how I make money,” Ladlie said, “and I expect it to just keep getting better.”

Since starting her company, she’s still always learning, using LinkedIn Learning content to learn or brush up on new skills. “I have no intention of ever ending my membership,” she said. “It’s really empowered me to live the kind of life where I’m going to be happy.”

How #AlwaysBeLearning helped one man triple his income in three years

In 2011, Missouri call center employee and father David Sumler was driving a car without a hood on it. A woman hit his car, and he didn’t have the money to fix it, so he just drove around without a hood.

Clearly eager to earn more, his boss told him one day that he’d give him a 40 percent raise if he could figure out a way to link all the call center employees at the site to one program, so they could share information. Sumler, who had virtually no computer experience at the time, figured he’d learn from the content within LinkedIn Learning.

Six months later, thanks to classes on Microsoft Access and Visual Basic and a lot of hard work, Sumler pulled it off. His boss came through on the promise, and gave him a 40 percent raise.

But it didn’t stop there. Inspired by the previous experience, Sumler watched literally thousands of learning videos. By 2014, his income had tripled, as he became a full-time Android developer with a side consulting business.

That extra money empowered him to better support himself and his children. It also allowed him to buy himself a new car – and this one had a hood.

Tying it all together

The vast majority of us spend the vast majority of our workday doing our specific roles. Over time, we become very good at that role, but we don’t have the transformative careers we’d like, because we never learn new skills needed to transform it.

On top of that, the new economy is changing roles faster than ever before. Chances are, your job is going to look drastically different in just a few years.

Rather than ignore that reality, embrace it. Learn the skills you need not to just maintain your career, but to catapult it. Because ultimately, the people who do that don’t just move up through their organization, they fundamentally change it.

So how are you you building the career of your dreams? #AlwaysBeLearning.

Our Week of Learning runs from Oct. 24 to Oct. 30. During that time, all LinkedIn Learning courses are 100% free, giving you the chance to add that skill or skills you’ve always wanted to master, without spending a dime. Click here to start learning now.