Hidden Emphasis

Future Tense

Don’t Fret About Your Future, Create It

Does the future seem scary? You’re certainly not alone. But there’s no point in ruminating—it will only move you backward, never forward. Don’t wait for your future; create it yourself by providing value to those that need you.

Create Your Future: Stanford University hallway
Photo: unsplash.com / Jason Leung (@ninjason)

Partly thanks to COVID-19, economies worldwide are in crisis mode. That means fewer jobs and fewer clients. It’s not only the class of 2020 that is affected by the pandemic; it’s everyone who is currently trying to get a job (even high-profile ones). While some companies are thriving due to an unexpected demand for their products, others struggle to find new or retain existing clients. The rules haven't changed, though. Almost every aspect of life comes down to providing value—and, luckily, that’s true for employers and clients as well.

Good friends and perfect partners have something in common

Look at your friends. You didn't pick them because they’re good-looking or rich (except for a few—let’s be completely honest). At least at some point, they have been valuable to you, and most of them probably still are. And you’ll very likely spend more time with friends who, at that particular moment, deliver the most value to you. By listening, by advising, by joking, or just by giving you whatever you need at that time.

It’s the same with relationships. Good looks, prom king status—yes, these are main differentiators in high school. I’m not saying that looks aren’t important afterwards, but they become secondary factors. Relationships with prom kings and queens usually don’t work out. What last are relationships with partners who deliver value for your life—as long as you do the same for theirs.

Value gets hired, not people

And when companies hire people or vice versa, they look for those who deliver value, who solve problems. Sometimes they misjudge, but they learn from their mistakes and get better at identifying true value. There are plenty of opportunities to be of value—look for and take advantage of them.

Just as important as delivering value is communicating it. If people don’t know you’re there and have something to offer (and what it is), they can’t notice you. They can’t hire you. Be they employers or clients.

Employers don’t care about who you are; they care about what value you provide to their company. Why should they spend money on you? Will they ultimately turn a profit? If not, what’s the reason to have you around? Why should somebody invest in a friendship with you? Or a partnership? Are you valuable to them, or are you wasting their time? Do you help to solve their problems? (Even if their only problem is that they’re bored—Netflix answers that question perfectly, linear TV doesn’t anymore for most people.)

Almost everything in life comes down to delivering and communicating value. If you focus on that meticulously, a job will be inevitable—success will be inevitable. The time you spend worrying about your future is better spent building it. Brick by brick, value by value.