Don’t Run From Change

You, like everyone else, prefers to do what you’ve done before. You, like me and everyone else, well, pretty much everyone else, likes doing what you are comfortable doing. You know what works and what the heck, why reinvent the wheel. After all, if it ain’t broke why fix it.

 

I can’t say for sure but I doubt if that “if it ain’t broke” philosophy ever really helped anyone excel. Eventually somebody comes along and breaks what’s been working fine for you. I mean what exactly was wrong with cassette tapes and VHS recorders? They worked and more importantly than that, I knew how to work them. 

 

But along comes somebody who makes them obsolete by inventing these little plastic coaster looking things that held a lot more music and video. And now those are gone too. My CD player was working  fine when I threw it out, so was my turntable for that matter.

 

What is wrong with people who can’t leave well enough alone? Well nothing is wrong with them because if not for them I’d be writing this on a typewrite. If not for them, you wouldn’t be reading it.

 

It’s normal for people to resist change. I could write pages on the psychological reasons for that but each of us has our own personal reasons for resisting change too. Those frequently trump even logical reasons for accepting the change.

 

As normal as it is to dislike and even fight change it is also often self-destructive. We fight in order to maintain control because we make the mistake of thinking that with control comes safety. 

 

If that was ever true it certainly isn’t true anymore. 

 

Consider the dilemma of the antelope. When lions hunt antelopes, the pride’s dominant male stays where he is. The female lions — the real hunters, swifter than the male — sneak around to the far side of the herd, fan out in a wide semi-circle, and lie down in the grass. The dominant male, bigger but slower, really incapable of catching the antelope by himself, takes on the job of suddenly leaping up and roaring at the antelope. He’s good at it. The antelope bolt from him — and run straight into the trap laid by the waiting females.

 

For the antelope, safety would lie in running toward the roar. Safety comes from deliberately picking out the thing that is most terrifying, and moving toward the source of the fear. No antelope has ever been known to do that. Very few people can either — but people are the only ones who can learn to deal with the change that they fear.

 

So what about you? What do you fear the most? What conversation do you dread the most? Who in your business or family do you not get along with? Who can you not bring yourself to forgive? What change have you wasted precious time and energy on fighting? 

 

Whether you know it or not, they will be your most powerful teachers of change. Moving forward, toward the fear is the safest and most productive thing you can do. 

 

I’m certain there would be more antelopes in the world if they could move toward that threatening lion. I’m sure there would be more successful people in the world if they invested their energy to seek out their difficult, scary situations so they could work through them. 

 

I feel the need to admit here that I have frequently run from the lion myself. With that admission I can also say that whenever I found the courage to run toward the lion it worked out pretty well. 


Will 2019 be the year you face your lions? Will you run at them? Run past them, over them or through them? You can do it, you absolutely can do it, the only question is… will you?

If it Ain’t Broke, Break It?

You know, try as I might I’m just not a big fan of change. Unless of course I’m driving the change. But I’m also fully aware that perhaps the most dangerous words in business are, “because we’ve always done it that way.”

 

So the first part of this post is written for me and those of you who share similar sentiments about change. We need to get the heck over it and realize that the pace of change is only going to continue to accelerate. We can either get on board that bus or that bus is going to run us over. 

 

Imagine the world if everyone lived with that “we’ve always done it that way” philosophy. No cars, no airplanes, no TV, no internet, and oh my gosh, no cell phones. (I guess no phones for that matter)

 

Obviously we only need to think for a few seconds to realize that change can be very good. The challenge for many people is stopping to think for those few seconds. The reality is that almost everything we use in our daily lives will one day be replaced by something even better.

 

If you can’t embrace change you can’t grow and if you can’t grow you can’t get better. The first thing you may want to consider changing is your instinct to resist change. Replace it with an open mind and at least a “we’ll see” attitude, you never know, you may just be pleasantly surprised.

 

Now for the second part of this post. It is written for those of you just itching to change stuff because you can. You should take a quick lesson from Winston Churchill who said, “there is nothing wrong with change, if it’s in the right direction.”

 

Change for the sake of change is seldom good change. Before you change what’s worked for a long time you may want to consider exactly why it’s worked for a long time. While I’d agree, there very possibly is a better way, make certain you’re not also discarding the part of a process that works and replacing it with an untested process that may not. 

 

“We’ve always done it that way” is a proven method of failure. “Let’s blow up what works and start over” often is as well.


Moving forward with little or no knowledge of your starting point is a quick path to nowhere. Go ahead and change, just be certain that your “better” direction indeed has a solid, realistic chance to be better.


Everything Changes

Here’s a question for you to think about. Are you managing change in your life or is change managing your life? 

It’s one or the other because this much is certain: “things” in your life are changing. 

I’m a bit astonished at the number of people I run into who are still almost completely resistant to change. They expend tremendous amounts of energy fighting it rather then trying to figure out how to use it to their advantage. 

I understand why people may be a little reluctant to fully embrace change. Every change brings with it the possibility of something worse. To some people the risk of “worse” is just not worth the possibility of something better. 

People also fear failure. Changing your job, or changing your career or changing almost anything has the possibility of ending in complete failure and nobody wants that. 

Few people really embrace the unknown and every change brings with it a set of “unknowns.” No matter how well you’ve thought out the change there is likely to be something that you didn’t plan on. That’s more risk. 

Change also tells us that time is passing. We’re getting older. For the life of me I can’t find a single corner store with the penny candy that I so enjoyed as a kid. Now that I can buy as much penny candy as I want, without even asking my parents permission, there is no penny candy to be found. I can’t believe anyone would call that progress.

So, many people agree that for the most part, change is bad. 

But that’s because most people just habitually focus on the negative aspects of change. (Yes, I said most people and the fact that it’s sad doesn’t mean it isn’t true) We’ve all had poor experiences with change and it seems the bad outcomes are far easier to remember than the more common good outcomes. 

Stop and think for a minute about the last ten years of your life. So many things have changed that it’s hard to remember them all. Just 10 years ago the iPhone existed only in the developmental labs of Apple. Today it’s hard for many people to think of life without a Smartphone in their pocket.

It’s seems like half the people I know are now wearing some sort of fitness tracker. Just 5 years ago people would have said “a fitness what?” 

Some of us are old enough to remember getting the long distance bill. For those of you not old enough to remember that, it’s the extra bill from the telephone company for calling someone with a different area code. For those of you who are really young the area code is the first three digits of your phone number.

My how things have changed…. so many improvements we have forgotten most of them…and more things continue to change everyday. 

Today the gig economy is growing almost by the minute. A recent study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. That’s an incredible pace of change that will affect the workplace for all Americans, not just those participating in the gig economy but anyone who works for a living.

The point is simple: everything changes with time. Everything! 

Accept change as a positive in your life, it means you’re still learning and growing. It means you’re willing to try new things and stretch yourself to reach your true potential. Accepting changes proves to yourself and others that you are willing to flex a bit as you receive new information and ideas. 

Pretty much everyone wants “things” to be better but many of those same people don’t want change in their lives.

There is no “better” without change. If you really really want better then don’t wait for change to happen, make change happen in a way that “better” is ensured.

The only way to beat change is to not fight it. Make it work for you and you’ll find it cooperates a whole lot more.

Is all Change Good?

I’m a big fan of change. I’m particularly fond of change that doesn’t have any impact on me. I know so many things and people that need to change I couldn’t possibly list them all. But as for me and my little world, well, we’re just fine the way we are.

I really do think that way sometimes and virtually every time I do I slow my progress towards ultimate success. To me ultimate success is all about being better today than you were yesterday. No matter how good you are at something if you don’t continually try to get better eventually you’ll get worse. 

Winston Churchill is quoted often on the subject of change and he said about it, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  He knew that improvement was impossible without change. I see people all the time who profess to want something “different” or “better” yet refuse to accept any change in their life. 

There really isn’t any way to get better or different without something or someone changing. 

Many of the people reading this committed to some type of change at the beginning of 2016. You likely called it a “resolution.” We’re around 40% of the way through 2016 and it’s not a bad time to stop for a moment to take stock of how your change is going.

So, how you doing? 

What have you started doing and perhaps even more importantly, what have you stopped doing.  If you’re a busy person it’s very likely that you think you’re too busy to start a new habit. You’re really not, after all, there is not a person alive who has more time than you. Rather than a shortage of time what you most likely have is a shortage of prioritization skills or maybe just a shortage of priorities.

You might not like hearing that but it is what it is. 

Change, at least change in the right direction, just as often means stopping something as it does starting something. Often the hardest part about starting something new is stopping something old so that you’ll have time for the new. It is simply a question of priorities… and prioritization. 

As you move into the second half of 2016 set your sights on what truly matters to you. Those priorities can still guide you to a successful year and even more successful years in the future.

All change can be good but it’s up to you to make it so.

 

Can you Adapt?

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein 

Can you adapt? That’s a pretty big question! Successful people and companies have proven that they can adapt, in fact, it’s a key to their success. They are willing to accept change and not only are they willing to accept it, they embrace it and use it to improve themselves and their organizations. 

History is riddled with the failures of organizations and people who had the ability and skills required to succeed but who lacked the willingness to adapt. 

Nothing hinders succeeds like the love of traditions. Traditions are great…. right up until the time they hold us back from trying something new. The unwillingness to try new things is a close cousin of unwillingness to try at all. I understand why most people struggle with change. All change, whether it’s chosen or forced, comes with some sense of loss. We may not even realize we are feeling that loss but it’s there and it affects us.

The only thing constant about change is that it never stops. Some change is so small we barely notice it, some is so big that it’s truly life altering. Big change can stop us in our tracks, it kills momentum and can have severe consequences….if…. you cannot adapt.

Since change is constant and often shows up uninvited successful people prepare for it by always, or nearly always, having a “plan B” ready to go. They may be forced to move in a direction they would be prefer not to (like being let go from their job) but that doesn’t mean they have to move without a plan. 

The most successful people frequently run “what if” scenarios in their mind. They plan for the worst case and then work to improve on the worst case. They may look calm but that’s only because they saw “it” coming before anyone else.  

Most everyone claims to want to improve, they forget the fact that nothing improves until something changes. If you can accept change and adapt then you can improve! 

The fact is, you can. The question is, will you?