As cliche as it sounds, we often hear the infamous saying, “Change is the only constant in life”, which makes adapting extremely crucial. It is both a survival and a success skill. Take Samsung for example, would it have survived if they continued to make flip phones (as cool as that era was!), while the rest of the world had the Internet at the touch of their finger? Just as our consumers are changing, businesses need to be evolving as well to meet their consumers demands.
That being said, change is difficult to embrace for some. Many times, this is due to individuals afraid of losing control and possibly experiencing bad outcomes they are unprepared for. The simple reason to embrace change is: If you don’t, you get left behind.
Take Motorola for instance, they were once the pinnacle of technology and were an integral part of developing wireless technology. However, the brand chose to stick to its traditional ways of creating devices that no longer met the changing demands of its consumers. Soon enough, Motorola was overtaken by Samsung and its Galaxy range of Android devices. The brand has since been sold to Google and were later then bought by Lenovo who eventually phased out Motorola completely. On the flipside, Samsung’s steady success can be attributed to its founder’s willingness to change with the volatile and every-changing industry.
Change for us individuals is never easy. One look at the countless New Year’s resolutions we have failed to keep is proof enough. As soon as we are presented with the opportunity to retreat back to our comfort zones, most of us will find ourselves back at square one. To champion change, we have compiled valuable advice from six members of Forbes Coaches Council on practical steps we can take to embrace change and be a successful individual.
1. Silence Your ‘Reptile Brain’
There is a part of our cerebrum that is commonly referred to as the “lizard brain” and it is responsible for our survival instincts. That means, we literally have a voice at the back of our head cautioning us to go slow, compromise, and be resistant. This part of the brain prefers the tried and true method, and when confronted with an “emergency” situation filled with unfamiliarity, will flood you with adrenaline warnings as you run out of your comfort zone. Do not appease the lizard. Train your brain to pursue change, embrace downfalls and pick yourself back up and reap the rewards of your risk. International Coaching Federation certified coach, Inga Bielińska, agrees to not view relapses as failures. She emphasises that the secret to change and success is to not let your setbacks undermine your self-confidence. It is important to remember that failures are not final, instead failures are formative.
2. Design An Attainable Roadmap
Looking at the full scope of change can be utterly overwhelming. Leader of SMALIK Enterprises, StephynieMalik, shares that planning an attainable timeline and strategy is a crucial preparation step to embrace change. Individuals should create an action plan to execute and understand how changes pan out, in order to keep a calm and peaceful mind. Preemptive planning helps break a future of change into smaller achievable actions and new possibilities. DennisVolpe, Principal at Leadership Research Institute, reveals that new possibilities and perspective can only be gained when you commit yourself to having the right mindset. Instead of focusing on possible roadblocks when creating your roadmap, learn to look at the advantages and learning opportunities and recalibrate your mind to practice positive thinking.
3. Be Consistent And Accountable
The fruits of change are not always quickly visible. This might be frustrating and disappointing when you are unable to see your investment in doing things different. However, do not simply quit halfway just because you are not reaping what you have sowed. Taking steps to embrace change can sometimes be a slow and daunting process but consistency is key to achieve desired results. Kamyar Shah, Business Consult at World Consulting Group emphasises on consistent actions being the answer to achieving change. He also reveals that this is influenced by consistent motivation to keep going. This is not an easy task which is why LouisCater, CEO of Best Practice Institute, has an accountability partner which he checks in with every week! His advice to embrace change? Get an accountability partner to celebrate the good, reevaluate the bad and attain advice from for the upcoming week.
4. Grow Your Skill Set
ElizabethRuiz, founder of EAR Enterprises, delivers the harsh truth, saying “embracing change is not optional if you want to grow”. She states that it is effective to grow your skill set to adapt to the current needs of the world. How can you do that? Identify areas where you feel you may need more knowledge or skills to carry out your role successfully. For example, if your business is venturing into the digital world, are you skilled enough to handle that? Truth is, not every millennial is digitally-savvy. There are a small group of old school millenials who shy away from the digital world because of its constant noise. So, if that is a skill you need to dabble in frequently at work, find ways to hone your digital skills.
5. Change Your Mindset
Last, but certainly not least, pursue change as you would an adventure. Reframe your mind when it comes to change. Are you more inclined to view it as a red rag to a bull or as a candy to a toddler? If it is the latter, you are on the right track. However, if it is the former, you are more likely to encounter negative emotions and experiences while everyone else reaches for the stars. ShefaliRaina, founder and executive coach at Alpha Lane Partners agrees that our actions and behaviour is a byproduct of our thoughts. Train and shape your mind to see change as a fun process to learn and grow. This also helps you build up your inner confidence and when presented with the unknown, you are more likely to jump into it with great excitement rather than trepidation.
In closing, do not just sit around and let change happen to you. Start applying these tips in your life proactively and consistently. You may not get to choose when change impacts you, but you can choose how you respond. Luis Cilimingras, IDEO partner and managing director’s golden advice from leading numerous ‘change’ projects quips, “Keep seeking out inspiration. It is your job to live inspired.”