I went to a business lunch event this week. The keynote speaker was Ahmed Fahour, CEO of Australia Post. I found Ahmed’s presentation very interesting and not surprising that one of the key themes of the talk was about adapting to change. In a world that is going digital and moving online with rapidly increasing speed, the need for some of the old mainstream services of Australia Post (Remember when you used to hand-write a letter and mail it??) have been seriously waning.
So Aussie Post is getting adaptive in order to change with the times because, ultimately, it was change or die. Charlies Darwin said:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”
Change however, tends to be highly resisted by humans in general. It’s like it is part of our DNA. There is inner wiring that keeps humming the message that change means moving into the unknown, and if you don’t know what is beyond that point, then it could be really bad for you.
So while the state of affairs for Australia Post was change or die, a sad truth for many people is that you can, if you really want to, survive life without many changes. But that begs the question: What kind of a life is it? Are you risking the half-lived life?
If you’re even considering that the answer may be ‘yes’ then I dare say that you might be better off if life threw you a serious curve ball. It is not at all hard to find information about people diagnosed with cancer or some other life threatening illness who say (if they survive) that it was the best thing that ever happened to them.
To prove my point, I just went to the internet and searched for just that. I quickly found a website for Joanna Montgomery who wrote a blog post called Cancer Might Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. In it she said:
“With the cancer diagnosis, my priorities changed in an instant. The list of what was truly important got real short, real quick. Decision-making became easier. I became more motivated to do things I had been putting off. The old phrase about not sweating the small stuff became crystal clear. I used to be someone who tended to get bogged down at times in the minutiae. Not so much post-diagnosis. My time now is much more precious.”
Getting ‘bogged down with the minutiae’ is a particularly common human trait that serves the purpose of providing the perfect excuse for not changing. But find yourself faced with a serious threat, and your list of what’s important will get very short. You will be forced to adapt and change, sometimes simply to survive.
But why wait for that kind of threat?
Thinking back to Ahmed Fahour’s speech, the message was actually about even more than just adapting to change in order to survive. It was also about embracing change and being innovative in order for the organisation to grow and thrive. It was inspiring.
This is a great message for individuals too… Be adaptable, embrace change, get innovative and design the life you want, grow and thrive. Don’t wait for the threat. Do it on your own terms. Take on the inevitable resistance as if your life depended on it.
P.S. If you’re ready to make (or even embrace!) a change and not quite sure how, drop me a line at email@example.com. Together we can get you there!