Remember when you were born? If you can't think back that far, not to worry, go find someone who knew you then. I know, for sure, there were already specific credentials associated with your life way beyond your name.
How do boys get where there need to get in the eyes of their family and culture? What is expected of girls? Were you expected to be the next in line to follow footsteps to an ivy league school or be the first in your family to graduate from college with a BA?
Were you from a recent immigrant family or asked to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution? Either way, there were demands placed on you while you were still in a baby blanket (blue or pink or even yellow).
Be glad times are changing and rules are bending. No longer is the only way to success through the old boy's club or family connections. The demands of a digital society level the playing field and it's important you know how to play on this new field.
The alphabet soup of credentials, from BA to PhD to MA to MD to JD is just not enough. Now, don't get me wrong. I still would want a surgeon, the one who would slice through my skin to get out something no longer working in my innards, to have gone to medical school. You betcha!
However, the focus on degrees gives way to something more important, more vital to business success. And you need a check list to make sure you have the following in YOUR list of important credentials as you move forward in your career. You also need to know how to leverage the following credentials in your work world.
1. GPS: Great problem solver. That's what business is all about, isn't it? Solving problems? You tackle something tough to figure out, figure it out and move on. Just be careful. If you keep repeating and repeating solving the same problem getting the same results, then you are a PA, pattern repeater, and its time to call me for advice. GPS of note is, of course, Albert Einstein.
2. GTD: Get things done. So many with degrees are thinkers, not doers. (If you are both I don't mean to insult you). However, many, and I'll name just a few headliners like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates took action rather than go for the titles.
3. MW: Make Waves. Be willing to go into uncharted territory without fear. Well, maybe with trepidation, yet willing to feel the fear and do it anyway. Willing to roll the dice not sure if it will be a major win or loss and stand steady in the belief of what is new and not yet proven. In my book,Elon Musk must have these letters behind his name. And in her early years, Madonna, was a pattern breaker. Who's in your book?
4. TB: Trust builders. Those who do not sling mud at others and will tell the truth without judgment, blame, or attack. Not willing to go along with the crowd when it would be so easy to get publicity in a world that says even bad publicity is better than no publicity. People like Arianna Huffington and Gloria Steinem belong here.
5. BQA: Big question asker: We are in a real crisis time with our beautiful planet and we need those who will ask the provocative questions about climate, money, relationships and well-being that get people to sit up and think. Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation has helped raise over $61 million supporting organizations from wildlife conservation to climate change and indigenous rights. Add Jaron Lanier, visionary and virtual reality developer as a BQA as we move at intense speed into the future.
Pressure is good.
Yes, put yourself under pressure to figure out how you can have these five alternative credentials after your name.Not to please parents who always wanted a doctor, lawyer or philosopher daughter or son to brag about. These credentials are the ones the world needs now to help us all find new ways of living together in a sustainable way.
Take a course on line, there are tons of them. Get a coach, there are tons of them. Talk to a stranger on a train or plane, there are tons of them. Go after all 5 credentials, they fit together perfectly.
And please, let me know what other alternative degrees belong on the list.