Whatever your perspective, how you feel about 2011 at the end of next December will be affected by how you manage the year’s opportunities and deal with its hassles. To a real extent, much of that is in your own hands. However, you are also going to be affected by global mega-events and trends.

If you’re thoughtful and strategic, the odds are better that you’ll be celebrating a good year. If not — or if you try to ignore the big stuff — you may find this new year to be rough. With that in mind, here are five megatrends that I expect will affect us all, one way or another:

1. The global recovery is for real – Although threats remain, and some regions will take longer to return to “normal,” we’re past the worst of it. Expect organizations to start acquiring and increase hiring (although that will be more part timers than in the past). The stock market, after two great growth years, will continue to pay off for smart investors. The United States will continue to keep the currency value down. As of today, Canada’s buck is at parity, and the OZ $ and the Yen have been greatly impacted as well.
2. Wellness takes the stage – Good health will become more of a status symbol than ever before. Those who continue to be sloths (even great performers) will lose “value” internally at corporations, while healthy looking individuals who appear to have greater stamina will move ahead more quickly. Organizations that market health or wellness products that can fix ailments or prevent misery will grow faster as consumers seek to be seen as healthy and wise. Outdoor activity will become more “status-y.”
3. BRIC grows more important – The countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China will affect everyone, worldwide, even more. Investments in people, facilities, natural resources, and infrastructure will continue at the current fast pace in many areas of these countries. At the same time, “older” (in terms of the twentieth-century growth) countries of the Western world will be cutting back on similar spending for years to come as they try to deal with debt management.
4. EnGen Era is on the rise – In the Western countries, the end of gender wars is nearing an end. A new era where gender roles and lifestyle are less rigid is spilling across all aspects of life. In the United States especially, there is much higher male unemployment, and consequently the “bread winners” are more frequently female. Additionally younger people still want children, and there’s greater awareness that old role models were pretty fictitious anyway. With this comes greater integration of tech and art on the job front.
5. World continues love/hate relationship with the United States – Many people around the world enjoyed watching the struggles experienced by the United States over the past two years. It’s almost like when you see an uppity person slip on a patch of ice and fall on his tail. It’s a “They got what was due to them” kind of thing. And yet, when I deal with my clients, subscribers, and colleagues around the world, it’s still very clear that there are many things about the States that they deeply admire and desire. Additionally, the United States accounts for 1/4 of the world’s economy. It invests in fighting wars, at least partially, to prevent horrible situations for poor people and/or women in other parts of the world.

Here’s to your future!