What Does Your "Next G" Look Like?

Have you heard the news? There’s a new cell phone coming out. It’s going to be better, faster, more powerful, and more amazing than every other phone on the planet. When this new phone hits the market, your current phone will be so obsolete it might as well have a rotary dial, or a cord.

So who makes this new phone phenom? Apple? Nokia? Sony? Motorola?

The answer? All of them.

Tomorrow they’ll all come out with a phone that is better than the one they produce today. And the day after tomorrow they’ll invent one that’s even better than that.

As I write this, rumors are flying about the iPhone 5 (yes, it DOES seem like the iPhone 4 just came out), and we’re quickly moving from 3G networks to 4G networks.

Now, while you may think the G stands for “gullible” or “greedy” or “Gladys”, the G is really shorthand for “generation.” Apparently new versions of everything are coming out so fast, we can’t even finish saying the word, Generation, so we just stop at G.

I sometimes think the G stands for “groan” because I’ve caught myself involuntarily groaning out loud upon discovering that if I had just waited another month, I could have purchased the hottest new technology AT THE SAME PRICE I just paid for the dinosaur that I now hold in my hand.

And, of course, we sometimes gather around the water cooler to complain about how fast technology changes (and to spread our conspiracy theories about how “they” plan to take more and more of our money through planned obsolescence).

Now stop for a second and think about that smart phone in your pocket or purse. It can do amazing things that weren’t possible even two years ago. It can do things that weren’t even dreamed of five years ago. And if you took a time machine back to 1985 and showed my current iPhone to a group of NASA engineers, they would likely dance around it, grunting and and marveling like the cavemen who first discovered fire. Or their heads would explode.

Transition with me, if you will, from thinking about the cell phone in your pocket to the owner of said cell phone (that’s you).

Which “G” are you right now? Here’s a quick map to help you decide:

1G – The child you (birth through middle school)
2G – The student you (high school, college)
3G – The working you (early work/career)
4G, 5G, 6G and beyond – The new & improved you (the rest of your life)

Sadly, most of the world stops at 3G. Most people get a job, start working, and – at best – make tiny, incremental improvements in their thinking, skills, and contribution to work and the world from that moment on.

It almost becomes laughable when a 3G person demands a raise or applies for a higher-level position. My brother, a very smart guy who has managed many people in his career, once told me his approach when 3G people come knocking on his door asking for a raise. He asks them a simple question: “Tell me how you’ve improved or how you’re contributing more than you were a year ago.” This, no doubt, sends most people back to their desk a bit deflated. The smart ones might feel slightly embarrassed, yet enlightened, and start planning immediately for the “next G” of themselves.

I know why most people stop at 3G. Because 4G and beyond requires work (beyond your work work), change, transition, and even a small bucket full of uncertainty. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch and watch other people win American Idol, The Amazing Race, or Cupcake Wars. Ironically, most of the contestants on those shows are there because they’re proactively pushing themselves beyond 3G.

What are you doing right now that wasn’t even possible for you two years ago? Are you doing anything that you didn’t even dream of five years ago? Would the 1985, or 1995, or 2005 version of you be blown away by how far you’ve come?

Now flip those questions around and start creating some momentum, no matter which “G” you are today. What could you be doing two years from now if you found a way to improve yourself today? Could you run a marathon? Could you apply for your dream job? Could you take your business to a whole new level?

My wish for you is that you won’t stop at the 3G version of yourself. My wish for you is that as soon as you’re done reading this, you’ll take ten minutes to think about what the “next G” version of you will look like. Will it be smarter? More skilled? Healthier? Happier?

Actually, I take that back. My wish for you is that as soon as you’re done reading this, you’ll forward it to at least two friends. THEN, take that ten minutes to think about the next G version of yourself.

Here’s some additional motivation: even though we may complain about how hard it is to keep up with technological advancement, very (and I mean VERY) rarely is a new version of a cell phone worse than the old version. Sure, my new iPhone may have a few glitches, but I’d never go back to the previous version. You’re the same way, yes? When you push yourself to a new level, it is virtually impossible to go back to the old version. If you learn a new skill, can you unlearn it? Only if you don’t use it.

The first step is to decide what your next G will be. And to help you get started, I challenge you to share it with the world by leaving a comment after this article on our blog or by replying directly to me if you read this via email. Now, before you freak out, you may absolutely leave your comment anonymously. I’ll publish the responses in next week’s newsletter.

So, what does your next G look like?

FYI: I had to write and publish this article quickly because by the time you read this, most of the technology references will be several minutes old, and very likely already out of date. I hope you still get the point. 🙂


Here you'll find ideas, tips, and techniques to help make your next offsite your best meeting yet.We've learned a lot during the 15,000+ meetings we've hosted, and we never stop learning (and sharing) because meetings and teams are always evolving. Be sure to leave comments and join the conversation!