Step 1: Developing a “Change Mindset”

Several years ago, during a radio interview, I was asked to describe who I was most like. Instead of naming a person, I said I was most like the little dog Toto in the Wizard of Oz. Near the end of the movie, Toto pulled back the curtain and showed everyone how the magic worked by revealing the Wizard pulling on his levers and controls. Toto unmasked the Wizard and provided a much needed reality check.

Reality checks are more important than ever before because bad news has become the backdrop of society. Rising unemployment. Trillions of dollars in bailouts. Soaring inflation. Terrorism. Political unrest. The destruction of retirement savings. And that’s only for starters.

There’s no doubt about it. The world is awash in change. The future is uncertain. However, despite this negative outlook, opportunities abound. Finding and holding onto those [often hidden] opportunities is what conquering change is all about.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be discussing many of the major changes taking place in the world today. Some will be good. Some will be bad. Many of these changes will have no apparent solution. Instead of getting overwhelmed and feeling stressed, your job will be to reframe these changes by asking yourself three questions:

  1. What’s the best that could happen?
  2. What’s the worst that could happen?
  3. What is likely to happen?

Your answer to question #3 is a reality check. It allows you to see things realistically. Once you do, you begin to realize most of the things you worry about never happen.

Change isn’t about worry, upset or defeat. It’s about success, innovation and adaptation. It’s about reframing difficult situations into user-friendly perspectives that allow you to relax (as much as possible) and move forward with confidence. Confidence in your ability to deal with change is critically important because we are in for some very painful changes over the next several years. Most of these changes will have their roots in economic issues. The fallout from these changes will impact all businesses, all professions, all geographic areas and all people. The world will look very different five years from now than it does today.

My favorite quote on change comes from Charles Darwin who said: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” How responsive are you going to be?