Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
This gets back to the point that humans tend to resist change. There are certain ways that you can make yourself more open to changes. If you deliberately take steps to do things differently in your everyday life, you’ll find it easier to accept larger scale changes that you can’t or shouldn’t avoid. Some of these suggestions may seem small or trivial, but they help to hard wire your brain into feeling more comfortable about change. Remember, even small changes will often feel uncomfortable at first.
- Take alternative routes to your destinations. For example, if you normally take the freeway, try taking side roads when you have the time.
- Read, watch or listen to different types of entertainment. Watch TV shows or movies that you wouldn’t normally watch. If you normally watch action movies, try romantic comedies or vice versa.
- Experiment with types of food that you don’t normally eat. If you’ve never tried Thai, Ethiopian, Korean or Greek food, for example, try it. Learn to cook new types of dishes as well as trying different types of restaurants.
- Learn a new game or sport simply for fun. This can be anything from chess to a computer game to a type of dance. If it’s completely different from anything you’ve done before, so much the better.
Learn to Leverage Technology For Greater Success
Many changes appear in the form of technological innovations. Today, the rate of change can be amazingly fast. For example, in the matter of little more than a decade, movies were mainly watched, respectively, on VHS, DVD and streaming services. Social media sites rise and fall. Google changes its search engine algorithms constantly. Mobile technology is quickly expanding.
While these are all well known changes, there are probably many smaller, less obvious ones in your own industry. It’s important to stay current and to be open to taking advantage of these innovations. For example, if you have a restaurant or other retail business, you should be optimized for local search engines so that people on mobile phones and other devices can easily find you.
Program Yourself to Love Change
Earlier we spoke about how it can be helpful to learn to be comfortable with a certain degree of discomfort. You can, however, take this a step further and learn to truly embrace change. You may need to acquire a new mindset. This involves a commitment to living in the present, which is more difficult than it may appear. We are all, to a greater or lesser degree, products of our past. The habits we’ve accumulated over the years can be hard to break.
- Remind yourself that change is often positive and can help you both personally and professionally. Be aware of any tendency you have to hope that things will just return to normal. In reality, change is normal!
- Read current books on change, especially in areas that pertain to your field or lifestyle. Watch videos online, such as TED Talks that help you stay up to date.
- Stay active physically. Exercise and walking in nature are good to help you focus on your environment and stay in the present.
- Practice meditation, yoga or other disciplines that teach the importance of living in the now.
Real Leaders Charge Toward Change
If you look at the greatest leaders in the world, either in the past or present, you’ll find that they openly embraced change. In many cases they are the catalyst for change. This applies equally to famous inventors in the past such as Thomas Edison and business leaders of modern times, such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Branson. These are not people who resisted change but who led it. You should take inspiration from the leaders you admire most, whether in the fields of politics, sports, business or any other area.
Change is More Essential Now Than Ever Before
It’s a familiar truism that “change is the only constant.” However, it’s also true that the rate of change has been consistently increasing in recent years. Before the industrial revolution, it was still possible for most people to live in their own insular realities and not worry about what was happening in the wider world. As automation became prevalent and breakthroughs such as the automobile, airplane and television became popular, change became harder to resist. In the digital age, however, change is occurring at an exponential rate. You can no longer afford to hide from change. On the contrary, you should position yourself so that you welcome it and help guide it.
How We Can Benefit From Change
While change itself is going to occur whether you accept it or not, you can actually take steps so that you benefit from it. This can give you a competitive advantage.
- Shift your resources so that change benefits rather than harms you. This may mean updating your technology. It might mean changing the products or services you offer your customers.
- Stay well informed. Information is sometimes referred to as the new currency. When you can see change coming before others, you can position yourself to profit from it. Staying informed means reading the latest books, blog posts and social media posts of leaders and influencers in your industry. Make sure you notice who is succeeding today, not just in your industry but in others as well. See how these leaders are adapting to change.
- Communicate with clients, customers and prospects. For anyone in business, it’s more important than every to stay connected with customers. As change occurs all around us, people’s needs and desires shift very quickly. If you are aware of these shifts, you can profit from them.
While the future is hard to predict, one thing of which we can be certain is that change will continue to occur at an ever faster rate. There are two ways to react to this –attempt to resist change or learn to embrace and adapt to it. The latter is a much better recipe for success and peace of mind.
Bruce Riggs serves as the Leadership Practice Leader for Career Development Partners and president of The Sales Coaching Group™. Bruce is a trained executive with 3 decades and 60,000 hours of real-world experience serving start-ups and Fortune 100 companies. He works with executive level (C-Suite) and emerging leaders.
He has a diverse and highly successful background working with start-up, mid-size, and Fortune 100 companies. He brings a unique perspective to clients throughout the United States. He teaches leaders how to grow and thrive in environments in which people can operate at their best.
Riggs innovative views has earned him invitations to speak with an array of leaders including corporate, entrepreneurs, military and government organizations.