Embracing Change

Change will happen whether you embrace or resist it.   A taxi driver may talk about Uber as an evil force, and the sales person can resist online ordering for fear of her job.   Resisting market forces will not stop them.   Rather than resisting market forces, one may need to update her skills from an order taker to someone who creates a connection with a customer.   The neighborhood baker had to change his offering when supermarkets started selling baked goods.   Change in the marketplace creates the opportunity to differentiate by offering an experience through a human connection.

Tom Mendoza, Vice Chairman of NetApp says, "By not taking a risk, you have just taken a risk."

Opportunities abound for those willing to do what others can't or don't want to do.  My experience that show that if you are willing to sacrifice over a sustained period of time you will eventually break out of the pack.   Many are not willing to sustain sacrifice over a period of 3-5 years or more.   Once you break out of the pack, you will have the opportunity to be generous to others because you will no longer just be surviving.

I have had to break out of my comfort zone in order to grow.   Four years ago, I left a successful career in technology sales management to become a Microsoft consultant.   As a student I struggled as a writer.   By putting my writing on display for others as a blogger, I am forced to develop new skills.   Over the past year, I have volunteered to speak at conferences on new topics.   I am not just practicing a new skill, I am exercising my "change muscle".

Seth Godin says we provide excuses to ourselves because we don't like change.  He says that people don't like change because it creates incompetence.   People settle for who they are today because they are too afraid to see themselves differently than they are today.  Seth suggests that successful people gain experience by embracing incompetence.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, "We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with."   I look to develop relationships with people who want to grow, are successful in business, or have a skill I want to develop.   For me, this is a better alternative to spending time with an expert on the television show Game of Thrones.   If I can't spend time with those I admire, I read the books they have written or listen to the podcasts they produce.

Ben Franklin was part of a mastermind group known as Junto.   Recently I learned that JR Tolkien and CS Lewis were all part of the same mastermind group known as the Inklings.   It is said that CS Lewis gave JR Tolkien the challenge that the hobbit needed to leave the shire to become interesting.

I enjoy learning to solve interesting problems and learning how to lead others.   I try to learn the patterns of problem solving by listening to and reading the work of experts.  I am also trying to develop skills on how lead others through positive change.   I validate patterns through small risks.   When trying new things, I try to practice what Jim Collins describes as shooting bullets first, and then cannon balls.

Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach recommends taking very small steps towards change. For instance if you want to work out, commit to stay at the gym for 10 minutes per day over the next week.   How can you learn to get out of your comfort zone and embrace change?   In which direction do you need to start firing your bullets?