As we step into another week, I’ve been pondering a thought-provoking quote: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” These words from Heraclitus capture the essence of change, its inevitability, and the transformative power it holds.
In today’s fast-paced world, change isn’t just a constant; it’s the defining feature of our journey. It’s like embarking on a river voyage where the water never stays the same, and neither do we. As the leader in your practice, we believe that understanding and adapting to change is not just a valuable skill; it’s the compass that helps us navigate the unpredictable currents of life.
There are countless examples and case studies where organizations have adapting to change really well and ten times more where they haven’t. You can guess what happened to the firms who didn’t adapt to change. We call them “dinosaurs” for a reason. Think Blockbuster, Sears and Kodak. These companies once sat at the top of their industries and they are all bankrupt or nonexistent today. There are common themes in firms with long-term success like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and IBM. You can embrace change and emerge stronger when you gain some of their insights and strategies. Here are four that have resonated deeply with me and worked well in my life and in the lives of my coaching members:
1. Acceptance is the first step. The river of life flows with its own rhythm. We cannot control every twist and turn. But what we can control is our attitude towards change. Wendell Berry wrote the essay “A Native Hill” in 1968 which describes the difference between the landscapes of roads and paths. Brad Stulberg used this essay as a jumping off point and useful metaphor in his new book, Master of Change. “Roads resist the landscape,” Stulberg says. “A road plows over whatever is in the way instead of working with its environment. When you travel on a road, you know your destination and if you get knocked off, it is a bad thing. A path, on the other hand, works in harmony with its surroundings. You have a sense of where you are going but you’re much more open to navigating and making use of what detours arise. There is no getting knocked off a path, since it is continuously unfolding and revealing itself to you. We might think roads seem stronger but a path is far more robust, durable and persistent.” That’s exactly how we want to approach change in our lives. We must embrace the open flow of life with open arms, for it is the force that propels us forward.
2. Never stop learning. Just as a river evolves, so should our knowledge and skills. Stay curious, keep learning, and be prepared to adapt to new information and technologies. If the open flow of life is the force that propels us forward, education is the paddle. Share what you learn with others, especially if something is working well. Don’t hoard good ideas. Share them freely. It will open your mind for the next big idea. Learn, learn, learn. Each night before going to bed, ask yourself what three things you now know that you didn’t know when you woke up this morning. Don’t go to sleep until you have an answer to this question.
3. Embrace Resilience. Remember, the path may challenge us, but it also strengthens us. Building resilience allows us to bounce back from setbacks and emerge even stronger. Stulberg calls this a rugged flexibility. We might think we’re on the right path, clinging to our identity and the way we’ve always done things but the reality is that we’re always changing. It’s OK to admit we all crave stability but we must acknowledge that we’ll be forced to achieve it somewhere new. Your best laid plans, even when based on past success, knowledge and tested strategies will happen in the future and you simply do not know everything that will happen in day, week, month or year.
4. Finally, stay mindful. Take a moment to reflect on your journey. Mindfulness can help you appreciate the beauty of the path you’re on and the growth it brings. Dan Sullivan calls this T1, T2 and so on, where we can aim for a lofty horizon, as long as we look back at the progress points along the way. T1 might have been last year or five years ago. T2 is today. The horizon is still the horizon, but we see all the progress we’ve made and we’re less likely to get discouraged by the fact that we haven’t reached our “destination” yet. That’s OK. You’ll probably never be done striving in the race against time. Be mindful of this or you might lose your way.
As we journey together, I want you to know that our commitment to your success and well-being remains unwavering. We’re here to help you navigate the ever-changing currents of life, and together, we’ll not only adapt to change but thrive in it. In closing, let’s remember that every twist and turn in the path offers new experiences, new opportunities, and the chance to become a better version of ourselves. So, let’s embark on this week with enthusiasm, knowing that change is our constant companion, and together, we will make the most of it.
Wishing you a week filled with positivity and resilience!