Have you ever noticed that some people seem more comfortable with change than others? Do you know someone who seems excited about a change when everyone else is freaking out?
I’ve found that there’s a key difference in the type of person that handles change well, compared to the person who is highly resistant to change.
Let’s get the record straight, though. The person who is calm doesn’t enjoy change… No one likes to change! But unfortunately, we all live in a world that is constantly in flux. No matter how firmly you resist, change is as sure as tomorrow’s sunrise. Despite our reluctance to face it, we all live in a world that is always changing.
In order to face today’s new circumstances and be ready for tomorrow’s challenges, you’re going to have to find the courage to pivot.
Sometimes life forces us to make minor pivots to adjust to this constantly changing world. Making small changes are easy when there’s not much on the line. However, big changes are always scary. The “what if” questions that accompany a major pivot in your family, business, or personal life can become paralyzing if not handled well.
After researching how thousands of people and organizations face change, I’ve noticed that there’s a common trait among the people who pivot successfully. Why can some people face the big, scary changes in life much easier than everyone else around them?
In my recent UNBEATABLE interview, Jeff Lopes reminded me of the research I had conducted on this subject years ago. I spent two years researching how organizations and leaders address change for a PhD dissertation. In the process I discovered that 1 key makes all the difference.
Change course before you drive off the cliff
Life is like a winding mountain road. When driving down a serpentine road, if you don’t change course, you’ll end up in ditch… or dead.
Because life is always throwing curves in our path, all of use are forced to change course regularly. It takes quick reflexes to be able to adjust to dangerous curves on a mountain road. The willingness to anticipate changing course could be the difference between life and death on the most dangerous roads. So it is with life.
Even if you don’t enjoy change, anticipating it makes you ready for the next bend in the road before it’s too late.
It’s not the end of the journey
This is where change can start to get scary. The big, circuitous changes in life can leave you looking back with nostalgia. I need to remind you that a change doesn’t equal the end of the journey; it just implies a different approach to get to the final destination.
You’ll wind up in the ditch if your stuck looking in the rear view mirror. Change is always going to force you to leave a few things in the past. There’s no way to skillfully adapt to the changes life throws your way without being willing to let go of a few things in your rear view mirror.
There’s more than one course to your destination
There is always more than one way to get to the top of a mountain. Some routes to the top of the mountain are more painful than others, but the view at the top is the same no matter the route you take to get there. Jeff reminded me that every successful leader learns to pivot by keeping their eye on the final destination regardless of the challenges on the road in front of them.
Don’t get so focused on the part of the road right in front of you that you lose vision of the final destination.
You have no choice but to change course when the road in front of you is blocked. When the bridge is out, even the smoothest route to the top of the mountain can became impassable.
Perspective determines your pivot
Here is the 1 key that makes all the difference… Perspective!
The people who pivot well have a different perspective than everyone else. People who pivot well have learned to look at the past without becoming paralyzed. All of us are tempted to look back at the past and focus on what a change might force us to leave behind. This obsession with the cost associated with a pivot can make you loose site of gains.
Nothing compares to the view at the top of the mountain. The steepest mountains have the most spectacular views! Your perspective when facing change makes all the difference when climbing the steepest mountains. Perspective helps people pivot by reminding them that the ultimate goal is to reach the mountaintop.
As life sends curves in your road or obstacles in your path, keep your focus on the final destination. Every change comes with a cost. However, keeping your perspective on the top of the mountain can help you pivot successfully over the curves and obstacles in your path.