When I was 18 and opted to take German in college, one of the reasons I decided to do so because I looked at the state of the world economy and thought, “well, if Germany is the largest economy in Europe, it probably can’t hurt to learn that language.”
And, after college when the opportunity came up to go to Japan, I thought, “well, Japan is the 2nd largest economy in the world [it was at the time], that could be useful one day.”
What I didn’t realize is that it’s more than the language, it’s the culture and history of the countries that help you really work within those environments.
In my Never Stop Marketing days, I was able to travel to both Germany and Japan to provide services to clients.
And, now, as Sprinklr expands globally, those same skill investments I made over 20 years ago are paying off.
In February, I was in Germany as part of the SAP partnership we have and in April, I visited Japan to help the Sprinklr Japan team get off the ground.
(And, heck, in the middle, I went to Israel-keeping the Hebrew fresh.)
It’s been rewarding and exciting to see how this part of my life/career has played out to date.
Same goes for the combined 3 years I spent living in those 2 countries. Not only did it help me learn the languages and cultures of those particular places, but it served to expand and enrich my ability to function in any foreign environment.
In a globalized world, that’s obviously a good thing.
When people ask me about “career path,” I cast it aside. I don’t think a “career path” exists. How could I have predicted the rise of Facebook, Twitter, etc. 15 years ago?
What I tell them is this:
· Focus on building your skills. Develop new ones because you never know when they will come in handy.
· Focus on building your network. People whom I met 20 years ago (and stayed in touch with for genuine, non-selfish reasons [that is the key] end up being great resources for you in unexpected ways.
· Take on big challenges: No one likes to feel like they failed or might fail, but forcing yourself to do new things that may fail is a skill in and of itself. It’s better to force the change on yourself than have the change forced upon you. It’s Darwinian. Need to be able to adapt.
Anyway, I’m writing this on the plane back from Japan and I suppose I’m a bit reflective right now.
Now, it’s time to think about “what are the skills I am going to need 20 years down the road to stay relevant?”
I don’t know for sure, of course, but I do know that it involves looking at the larger trends and following the skills, network, challenge approach.