Management guru Peter Drucker wrote, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
After facing a dismal, challenging, rapidly changing world during the past two years trying to rise above the pandemic, we are now entering a brand new year: 2022. And with this brand new year, we must focus on tomorrow, on the future, on recovery, on a “comeback,” and on what we used to ask for as young kids on the playground… a “do over.”
The often used Latin expression “carpe diem” (seize the day) needs to be replaced by a new slogan “carpe manana” (seize tomorrow).
Over the past two years, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. We’ve been confused, uncertain, fearful, frustrated, impatient, stressed and overwhelmed. Our lives have not been “business as usual.” We’ve been living in a world best defined by the words “business as UN-usual.”
We must move uncertainty to certainty. We must move from unpredictable to predictable.
Sure, these are wonderful thoughts but the threshold questions are “How do we recover?” and “How can we slam the reset button on our businesses and our lives?” Here are some answers for you to consider.
1. Embrace change. Don’t fight it. Learn to live with it. Learn to capitalize on it. Learn to focus your efforts on working around it and rising above it.
2. Keep an open mind. Change can be challenging but being open-minded could get you to the right course of action. Remember, “The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it’s open.”
3. Action is the key! We all talk too much, complain too much and bemoan the challenges of change too much. Don’t talk. Just act. Don’t say. Just show. Don’t promise. Just prove. Act!
4. Don’t obsess with the rear view mirror. Looking back is good to remember where you’ve been. Looking back and spending a little (emphasize “little”) time on the past is fine if you obsess with learning from the past. Learn from the past!
5. Never stop learning. New methods, new ideas, new processes and new learning will help you rise above the challenges of change. After all, “When you’re through learning, you’re through!”
6. Take a shot. Legendary professional ice hockey icon Wayne Gretzky said, “I miss 100% of the shots I never take.” You can’t score unless you shoot. In times of challenge, taking shots is vital.
7. Take risks. No longer should you ask the question, “What is the risk I’m taking if I do this?” To succeed in a new order, the more important question is, “What is the risk I’m taking if I don’t do this?” That’s often a greater risk.
8. Work smart. Visualize a fly bashing, crashing and smashing against your window pane trying desperately to break the glass and exit a room. It won’t happen. That fly will work harder and harder until it dies. Ah, if only the fly worked smart and sought out the open door it entered the room from, he would live to fly again. Working hard is important. Working smart is even more important.
9. Be optimistic. Author, philosopher, public speaker Zig Ziglar said, “It’s your attitude… not your aptitude… that defines your altitude.” Be positive. Be optimistic. The glass is half full.
10. Stay young. Sound silly? Stay young in mind, young in heart and young in attitude. This isn’t about chronological age. It’s about you attacking each new challenge with the energy and passion and outlook of youth. Don’t grow old. Stay young and succeed.
Sure, these are ten wonderful thoughts but you’ve likely heard them all before. They’re basic… they’re pragmatic… in some cases, they are obvious. However, here’s the important item to remember. Everything in life (and in business) is 5% idea… and 95% work and execution. None of the aforementioned recommendations will help you unless you commit to working each to its fullest. Ideas alone won’t help you in times of change, challenge, uncertainty and even chaos. It’s your commitment to work through each and every issue that will help you succeed, help you “high five,” and help you grab the golden ring.
There’s a wonderful quote attributed to Michael Jordan, “Some people want it to happen… some wish it would happen… others make it happen.”
Go forth and make it happen!