We live in a dynamic world where the recent college grad will likely go through at least six different career shifts during their lifetime. When it comes to changes in careers, it is important to recognize that this is simply a part of life today.
The following presents a model that will help you to reinvent yourself while changing careers or exploring new adventures. It will also be valuable to students that are in the process of selecting their professions. Lastly, the model will be helpful to students that no longer want to fit a label that people have placed on them regarding their personas. The model is called the BASE Model.
When I was conducting a webinar about success in life for college students, I had asked a number of students to send me their top questions about living a successful life. After analyzing the variety of questions, I had two big realizations. First, was that the questions these ambitious and driven college students were asking were big life and career questions and not limited to young adults. The next realization was that nearly all questions could be addressed in the realms of personal beliefs, alignment of goals with vision, transferable skills and learning through challenging experiences. That was the aha moment for the BASE Model.
The BASE Model: Beliefs – Alignments – Skills – Experiences
Beliefs – are what we hold as true about ourselves and the world. Our beliefs are closely connected to our thoughts. New insights and thoughts can change our beliefs. However, most of the time beliefs direct the type of thoughts that we are having. Our beliefs and thoughts will either help us build a successful life, a new career or hold us back. The questions we should ask ourselves are:
- What beliefs are holding me back?
- What do I believe I can be?
Belief is what starts the BASE model because it is the precursor to the rest. Without belief, you will never be able to be who you want to become. It is like having a great resume or being selected to be at an interview and then not showing up. If you do not believe that you are capable and if you lack confidence, then making a lasting impression in the interview becomes a challenge.
The same goes for giving a pitch as a founder – without belief in yourself and the company you are building, it is difficult to get far. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right,” said Henry Ford. Your thinking here is simply a reflection of your belief. You have to believe you can in order to move forward.
Once you believe you can, your thoughts will build momentum and start formulating the how.
Alignments – are the correlation, connection and sequence of the path we intend to go on. This is a critical step and you should note that although this includes planning, it is actually much more than that. Alignment here is always consciously asking “is this in line with where I want to be? Are the outcomes and activities I am performing aligned to where I want to go?”
The answer may not always be a strong yes, but you know you have to align or possibly revise your vision of yourself if the answer keeps coming up as a no. Consider alignment like dominos that are lined up perfectly and then topple. Each domino needs to be within a range of the other domino in order to topple. If not, one domino goes and the rest are left standing idle. Similarly, your actions need to converge in order to maximize your potential in an area. Otherwise, major actions you need to accomplish will be left standing idle as well. It is the convergence of those actions that will play a major role in ensuring your success in the future.
The best example of alignment comes from John Maxwell’s Take Five. He shares that as an author, speaker and entrepreneur it can be very difficult to take time out to write books. However, Maxwell practices the discipline of doing five things everyday:
(3) Filing good material
(4) Asking questions
The discipline takes the challenge out of figuring out what to do daily and develops a clear focus on the most essential activities.
Alignment as presented in the BASE Model is selecting the right things to do that correlate with your vision.
The questions to consider are:
- Have you set goals that are aligned with the vision you have for yourself long-term?
- Are your daily activities most aligned to your success?
Alignment is placed before skills and experiences because alignment of your skills and experiences will lead to your defined success. The alignment helps you become more intentional about your growth. By aligning your skills and experiences, you become more selective about future skills and experiences.
Skills – are learned abilities that are applicable. Skills are easily transferable. Skills are what stay with you after learning experiences that you apply again in new contexts. Simply put, it is what you learn at one job that you can then apply at another.
The world today demands many skills with an intense focus being right at the top. Luckily you are developing skills daily, sometimes without even realizing it. You need to become conscious of what skills you acquire and learn how to further develop them if you want to become aware of their abilities and how they can lead to your success.
There are numerous skills that are essential today and the push in education to cultivate these skills is admirable (See Gaining the Necessary 21st Century Skills blog post). It is my opinion though that students start too late in acting upon their dream and what they want to become. Students need to hone in on and develop the skill-sets they need most in their dream jobs.
The big questions to consider are:
- What skills have you developed?
- What skills do you need to develop that are aligned to your definition of success?
You may have accumulated many skills but the key here is recognizing if these are the essential skills needed in where you want to be. For example, if your goal is to be a social entrepreneur, what skills have remarkable social entrepreneurs mastered? There are a number of imperative skills that you could list. However, after a short analysis, you would likely acknowledge that analysis, design thinking, financial modeling, networking and product design would be at the top.
Another good example is to look at someone who wants to be a better public speaker. What skills do you think they are going to want to develop and master? Organization of speech, gestures, and being able to project a strong voice would be right at the top.
Skills are transferable and once you align the skills you have with the skills you need to develop, you will soon be living your dream.
Experiences – are what come out of an involvement or activity in your life. The best experiences in learning are those that really challenge you. The common saying goes that experience is the best teacher. According to John Maxwell, evaluated experience is the best teacher. When you combine reflection with your experiences, you become powerful. An evaluated experience helps you grow in ways that no books or study can. Since experiences help you grow, taking on challenges in education, work and life are the quickest way to your success. Selecting experiences on how you want to grow is what makes the biggest difference.
The biggest mistake most people make is that they pick money or prestige over real growth experiences.
Real growth experiences are those that include a mentor and a culture that nurtures innovation and challenges you to stretch what you can do. Over the long run, these growth experiences guarantee you more than the immediate difference in money or job title. Skills, character and leadership are the result of these growth experiences and will propel you to rise even higher than what you set out to achieve and be.
Students should build a portfolio with experiences and skills showing that they are the ideal candidate for what they are applying to be.
Here are questions to consider:
- What experiences do you have that add to your story?
- What experience do you need that align with your defined success that you should take on next?
There are more opportunities out there today than ever before. It is choice overload as there are a myriad of paths that a person can take. Be selective in your volunteering opportunities, projects, jobs and experiences and work only with those that will enable you to build on the skills you need to achieve your goal.
Sadly, many professionals and students tend to follow what others are doing rather than try to carve their own path. Fortunately, this trend of people taking their future into their own hands is rising drastically. How many working professionals enjoy what they do? How many college students are looking for their dream job? How many high school students make choices based on their interests and challenges?
I urge you to be different by learning how to take the lead. May the BASE model serve as a tool to reinvent yourself. Lastly, my advice to all the professionals, entrepreneurs, leaders and ambitious students is simple, Believe in the best you – Align what you do with your definition of success – Be intentional about your growth.