A deep dive into one of the 8 Critical Capabilities from the book PowerUp8 BY Debbie Craig
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama
Holding on to a worthwhile vision
As the world speeds up and we face many disruptions, we need to adapt our thinking, behaviour and habits at a rapid pace. Many changes are happening simultaneously in our personal, work and social lives. This requires daily prioritisation, focus and decision making to make the best of our circumstances.
Many years ago, I was hiking to Everest Base Camp in the midst of a regional super storm which resulted in flight delays, snowstorms, avalanches and not knowing whether we would be able to achieve our life dream of getting up to base camp. We were already committed and 2 days up the mountain, as we heard the news of 8 people dying in an avalanche and the closure of base camp. I had also injured my foot and was facing many days of painful walking. We faced a choice. Do we turn around and go back home? Or do we continue for the next 6 days in the hope that we avoid any avalanches and that the path would be opened before we got there?
We chose to continue and navigate the changing conditions holding on to our dream, knowing what it had taken to get this far. Despite facing deep snow, icy paths, detours, collapsed bridges, daily foot therapy, altitude sickness and freezing weather, we had an unforgettable adventure. I have called upon that trust and resilience many times over, as I have navigated other different challenges.
Currently we are facing a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, already tired and on the back foot from a difficult 2020. We are being forced to reflect, stay informed and adapt our every-day behaviours. We are grappling with how to stay safe and financially viable. We are having to work hard at managing fear and stress (which depletes our energy and immune systems) and aiming to stay in a state of creative adaptability (which recharges our energy, boosts our immune systems and enables us to make critical decisions).
To resist or to navigate?
Our choice is to react to uncertainty as a passive resistor with much anxiety or respond as a maze navigator that looks for opportunities to learn and make a difference. Change can be fun, and exciting when we choose the change (e.g. moving to a new house, starting a new job or learning a new skill). When change is forced upon us from outside and we feel we have no control over it, (e.g. organisational restructuring, clients cancelling, new procedures or skills), we can feel insecure and out of our depths.
It is in these times, that we need to become greater than our circumstances, our challenges or our old habits of fearful, limited thinking and be adaptable, optimistic and influence positively while we navigate sudden curve balls and complex frightening change.
When we adopt the identity of a maze navigator and take on all life’s adventures with a spirit of optimism, trust, openness to learning, resilience and teamwork; we experience more energy and less anxiety. We are also able to build inner resilience, meet fabulous people and make meaningful achievements and connections.
When we fall into the trap of being a passive resistor, we can succumb to fears and insecurities that tempt us to hold back, play it safe, resist and avoid change. We get left behind, miss opportunities, delay our learning curve and are not prepared when the impact of change hits us. We may also find that there are less people around us willing to help as they have moved on, leaving us isolated or in the company of other pessimists, or victims of change.
“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you” Brian Tracy
Daily hacks and habits for courage
Practice these daily habits to practice your ability to deal with disruptive, unexpected change and to encourage others to embrace the opportunities and possibilities that change brings when we stay in a positive, creative state.
Habit #1: The Agile Pivot
Agility = ability to move quickly and easily AND also to think and understand quickly.
Pivoting = ability to change direction quickly when the chosen approach is no longer working – while still remaining focused on the ultimate goal or purpose
When we combine agility and pivoting, we get a sense of what is needed to adapt in these crazy, interesting and disruptive times. We think of soccer or netball players pivoting, but also many companies have pivoted their strategy when their current tactics were not working. See our resource links below for more on Pivoting and Agility.
Habit #2: Purposeful stories
We all need a sense of vision and purpose to know where we are going and why. Change navigators take time to create their own vision boards and co-create courageous and inspiring visions for their teams, families or organisations. It is not just the end goal, which is important to share, but the journey and roadmap with key milestones to get there i.e. the narrative or story. This includes the acknowledgement that the journey will likely be a windy adventurous one with many twists and turns, but that together we will make it to the worthwhile destination. Some great vision examples are given below. Change navigators excel at inspiring others through the art of storytelling. See more Storytelling Techniques in the resources below.
Habit #3: Empowered Perseverance
Resilience is knowing and believing at a deep soul level, that we will all be ok in the end. Resilience is facing falling, failing, disappointments and painful experiences and not giving up. It is finding the gift, lesson or silver lining behind every dark cloud. It is reaching a place of acceptance of what happened, and bouncing back after a difficult time and starting afresh and seeing all experiences as learning experiences rather than good or bad. Resilience is telling the story of your past in a way that empowers yourself and others, rather than blames or shames. It is also not falling into the toxic traps of cynicism, skepticism, or denial. It is keeping the vision alive despite seemingly insurmountable odds. See resources below for more on resilience and grit.
Tips, tools and resources
We have listed a few CHANGE NAVIGATOR resources below and many more are in the PowerUp8 book. Check out … tools in the link below.
- 3 Rules for Making a Successful Pivot, Entrepreneur Mag
- 7 Storytelling Techniques Used by the Most Inspiring TED Presenters – Nayomi Chibana
- 5 ways to lead in an era of constant change | Jim Hemerling
- Eric Ries explains The Pivot
- TED’s secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson
- Grit: the power of passion and perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth 3
- Learning Agility Indicator
- Self-disruptive leader – Korn Ferry