4 Tried and True Methods for Embracing Change

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

Here’s a quote that sends chills up my spine: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” In advertising, that’s known as a veiled threat. So, where am I going with this? Let me start by asking a question: Be honest…do you embrace change? Even if you do, it’s increasingly difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Moore’s law states that the overall computer processing power doubles every 24 months…that’s every two years!  At that rate, how can you possibly keep up? Here are four ways you can embrace change.

4 Ways to Embrace Change

Number 1: Don’t define yourself chronologically. You’re not too young, too old or too anything. Keep your eyes open for opportunity. Here are a few people who didn’t let age get in their way: Ray Kroc was a milkshake salesman when he bought McDonald’s. He was 52. Writer Frank McCourt was 66 when he wrote Angela’s Ashes. Julia Child was 50 when she wrote her first cookbook. Charles Darwin wrote Origin of the Species when he was 50. Jack Cover invented the taser at age 50, but didn’t sell a single one until he was 60. Tim Zagat quit his job as a lawyer to create the book of restaurant reviews at age 51. Henry Ford was a failure with the Model T which he invented at age 45…he didn’t succeed until he invented the assembly line…at age 60. So, don’t define yourself by your age. Who cares how many days you’ve been on this earth.

Number 2: Associate with people who embrace change. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn has this to say about being around the right influences: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I’m fortunate to have an entrepreneurial husband. He wasn’t always an entrepreneur, but one week after 9/11, he was laid off from his advertising job at age 51 and had to completely reinvent himself as a private tour guide. It wasn’t easy, but he had the wherewithal to embrace change. In addition to my husband, the friends I spend the most time with are always seeking opportunities for improvement or looking for new business ideas. My friend Leisha John is known as the “queen of green” and the first Chief Sustainability Officer of EY, she’s done a TED Talk called “White Roofs for Green Schools,” and is also on the board of Earthwatch…On top of everything else, she recently went to funeral school because she watches trends and believes the industry is ripe for disruption! Another friend, Chris Wolfe has been in the insurance industry for 30 years and founded the Everglades Correctional Toastmasters Gavel Club, has been a model, and he’s also considering running for political office. Other people I associate with who have embraced change is an African American woman named Clemmie Perry who recognized that there are very few minorities and even fewer minority women who play golf. She created “Women of Color Golf” and was recently in Washington, D.C. where she received an award from the White House for empowering minority girls and women via the sport of golf. So, make sure you hang around people who embrace change.

Number 3: Be a lifelong learner. There are so many free or low-cost ways to educate yourself. There are many ways to take online courses: Udemy (like university and academy). MIT put many of their courses online. Coursera. Lynda.com for technology. YouTube! You can learn how to do almost anything from YouTube. Another suggestion: read widely…and I don’t mean Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…although those are all necessary. Read everything. Read outside your professional publications…for example, if you’re sitting in a doctor’s office, look around and read Time magazine. Pick up Scientific American. Subscribe to Inc., Entrepreneur and Success…share subscriptions with friends…or get an online subscription. Read Fast Company. Check out The Economist. Read fiction. Listen to audiobooks…most libraries have a free app that allows you to download audiobooks. Follow thought leaders like Seth Godin, Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zacharia, etc.

Number 4: Change your point of view….literally. Try and expand your horizon. Travel as much and as widely as possible. Get to know people beyond your current radius. The Dalai Lama says, “Once a year go some place you’ve never been before.” If you can’t afford to travel or don’t have the vacation time, apply that to where you live. For example, go to a museum. Experience your city like a tourist. I live in Miami and people like to complain that Miami has no culture. The problem is, they never venture out of their routine. I ask them if they go to the book fair…and they say, what book fair? What about the film festival…have you ever been to the Miami Film Festival? They look at me in a state of shock. I ask them about Art Basel or the Perez Art Museum or if they’ve seen a play at Arsht and 9 times out of 10, they don’t know what I’m talking about…Change your point of view and look around at what’s in your own backyard. Along the same lines, see yourself as a moving metaphor…Expand your point of you and include yourself in relation to the world, not as a finite point in time. I run and do yoga. For me, that means running as a way to keep moving forward…yoga, it literally and symbolically keeps me flexible.

It’s important to embrace change and I’ve just given you four suggestions for doing just that: #1: Don’t define yourself chronologically. #2: Associate with people who embrace change. #3: Remain a lifelong learner. And #4: Change your point of view….because if you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.

What are you doing to embrace change?  Share your suggestions in the comments section.

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