We recently posted this on Medium (if you’re not following us there, we’d love to see you there!), and then saw some virtual assistants sharing it on Facebook. Of the comments we saw, most of them said they identified as goats.

It’s great to know where you fit in the landscape. And, as I’ve been talking about since 2005, the day is coming when it won’t be enough, at least for North American VAs. Heck; I don’t think it’s enough today.

Things are changing. And now is not the time to rest on your laurels and think it’s all going to continue as it has. It's simply not.

In 2005, I read this article by Daniel Pink and was struck silent. It was the first time I’d truly stopped to think about a day when certain skills and abilities may no longer be valued or required. At that time, I urged the VAs at AssistU to read Pink’s book  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (affiliate link!),  and to shift their focus to critical thinking, EQ, and right-braining. I even told them that if they’re content to push buttons, the day would come when they’d need to bend over and kiss their asses goodbye.

Since then, I’ve paid great attention to the EQ world, and I’ve seen the immense rise of the value of soft skills over hard (even writing this on that topic for the people who want to work with virtual assistants). And now, we’re smack dab in a place where AI (artificial intelligence) and automation are absolutely replacing what were very left-brained functions.

That’s not going to stop.

Even Google is seeing it in how and who they’re employing, at all levels of the organization. Project Oxygen showed them the top eight skills of their best employees, and the top seven are all soft skills.

Let that sink in for a second. None of those are left-brained. None of those are hard skills.

And you have to think, if Google is seeing this, that’s meaningful. Not that it wasn’t before, but we’re now starting to get some feedback from studies about it and that’s more meaningful (especially to the left-brained folks!).

And while I don’t have a crystal ball that tells me the future, predicting this one seems pretty straight-forward; no ball required. Things are changing. And now is not the time to rest on one’s laurels and think it’s all going to continue as it has.

To you, dear goats, a plea. Much of what you do will be easily replicated by AI and automation in the years to come. Or will go to off-shored, very inexpensive goats. Clients will not see the value in working with you for things that can be automated.

If you want to continue to be in business for yourself, be sure that you are either in a business that is impenetrable around hard skills (the admin/ops/VA worlds are not), or consider if you’ve been a goat simply because it’s the easy path for you, and whether you could grow into something different, then grow.

And let me know how I can help you. I’m all ears.