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What are the Challenges of a Portfolio Career?

We had an amazing Future Proof Masterclass last week with Harvard Business School professor and best-selling author of “The Portfolio Life”, Christina Wallace.  

The concept of a "portfolio life" involves building a multidimensional life and career that is more than just your job. This can involve pursuing different interests, developing diverse skills, and building relationships with others.

This is something the folks in our Future Proof course spend a lot of time thinking about after fairly linear, multi-decade careers. My experience doing a joint Masterclass with the World Economic Global Shapers program - people just beginning their career journeys - showed me how relevant it is to all ages. 

What keeps people from doing a portfolio life?

  1.  Lack of clarity: It can be difficult to identify which skills and interests to focus on and how to combine them into a cohesive and sustainable portfolio life.
  2.   Risk aversion: Pursuing a portfolio life often involves taking risks and stepping outside of one's comfort zone, which can be daunting for individuals who are risk averse.
  3.  Income instability: Combining multiple income streams can lead to income instability, but so can relying on one source of income.
  4.  Time management: Balancing multiple income streams and interests can be challenging but also gives you a rich diversity of tasks and can be organized to complement each other.
  5.  Branding and marketing: Developing a personal brand and marketing oneself effectively can be a challenge which requires the right training (check out our personal brand with purpose course)
  6.  Networking and relationship building: Building and maintaining a strong professional network can be challenging but 

Overall, the challenges and pain points associated with developing a portfolio life can be overcome with the right mindset, skills, and support. Often this approach leads to better work-life integration and engagement for your team and people, as well as yourself.

What are some of the key steps to a successful portfolio?

  1. Ground in values. These are the principles and beliefs that guide your decision-making process and reflect who you are as a person. 
  2. Develop a narrative around those values. Crafting a narrative helps others understand your motivations and can attract like-minded individuals or opportunities that resonate with your values. It also provides a framework for decision-making and helps you stay focused on your objectives.
  3. Strategically network around your pillars of strength. Focus on identifying your pillars of strength—areas of expertise, skills, or interests that set you apart. These can be related to your education, professional experience, or personal passions. 


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