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How to Survive the Coming Disruption: Build a Personal Ecosystem

September 13, 2018

 

 

As corporations continue to hollow out in response to the demands of globalization, non-traditional forms of work are rapidly replacing the standard, 9- to-5 types of employment we’ve become accustomed to.

 

Instead of full-time jobs, work is now being preceded by adjectives such as part-time, contract, zero-hour, contingent, and freelance. The transformation, we are told, is beneficial and works to our advantage.

 

According to the argument, instead of corporate employment we are now free to choose when and where we will work, to become masters of our own destiny, to throw off the shackles of economic enslavement and becomes singular brands unto ourselves.

 

What we’re not told is that 85% of new brands fail. Or that 96% of all new businesses shut their doors after only two years.

 

What we’re not told is that 85% of new brands fail. Or that 96% of all new businesses shut their doors after only two years.

 

It’s tough out there. The competition is fierce and promises only to get worse as more and more people are cut loose from their corporate moorings and forced to fend for themselves.

 

So how can you survive in this Brave New World of individual enterprise?

The first thing to recognize is that there are no easy, quick-fix solutions. No “10 Steps” or “Five Pillars” or “Six Secrets” that will transform you overnight into a successful entrepreneur.

 

What’s most important to understand is that success comes, not to the individual, but to the individual working within a social context comprised of other like-minded individuals.
 

But what if you’re a sole practitioner? A lawyer, accountant, business consultant, coach, or therapist that works one-on-one with clients? Or a social media expert, project manager, computer programmer, engineer, carpenter, plumber, electrician or any other type of professional that continually needs to find new clients in order to work?

 

When you work alone, often remotely, how can you generate the social context necessary to succeed?

 

Building a Personal Ecosystem

Just as a biological ecosystem consists of a group of individual organisms working together, each of us needs to build a personal ecosystem that consists of a similar group of interdependent agents –

 

Not simply friends and family but also, current & former colleagues as well as business groups and associations that that work to our advantage.

 

While each of these entities has its own individual motives, expertise and goals, the influence and connections they provide can have a direct and positive impact on helping you succeed.

 

Biological Ecosystems can be small, such as the tide pools found near the many oceans, or extremely large, such as the Amazon Rainforest in South America.

Personal Ecosystems can likewise range in size, from people and organizations in your town or immediate geographic area, to a wide range of actors involved in one or more industries.

 

Building an Ecosystem Differs from Networking

Building a personal ecosystem is similar to networking but differs significantly with regards to the types of relationships that are fostered.

 

Networking is the process of connecting with as many people as possible with the hope that a certain subset of these people can help you achieve a goal such as finding a job or a new client.

 

A personal ecosystem is much more interdependent. Rather than simply getting someone to do something for you, a personal ecosystem creates relationships that are mutually beneficial.
 

What’s most important to remember is that just as a biological ecosystem is dependent on a continuous exchange of energy, your personal ecosystem will flourish only when you give into it as much as you take out.

 

Which is why the key to your future success will rely less, on self-interest and individualism, and more on your ability to form cooperative relationships based on trust and interdependence.

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