You and I face changes large and small, many imposed on us by outside forces like government, the economy, our culture and circumstances.
But if you’re a true leader, you won’t just react to change, you’ll create it.
Highly successful people and companies don’t always wait until they “have to” or “need to” change, they change when it is advantageous and creates a competitive edge.
For leaders, the message is clear:
Disrupt yourself before someone or something else does it for you.
If change hits you from some other source—say, a disruptive technology, company, or nation—you’ll find yourself scrambling to adapt. You’ll be struggling to catch up rather than striving to stay ahead. But what if you’re the one bringing the change? What if you’re the one driving the innovation? That makes you the game changer!
Who or what needs disrupting in your life?
Think about the habits, practices, and routines in your life that need to be shaken up a bit. It’s human nature to become complacent and keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. But people who are dedicated to self-improvement unsettle complacency, combat mediocrity, and challenge the status quo, both in themselves and in those around them.
Sometimes it is a team member who needs to be disrupted. Perhaps you’ve tolerated a lack of performance for so long that complacency has set in. Leaders don’t accept subpar performance and they understand that disrupting someone is not only necessary, but far kinder than letting them coast until they need to be released.
Are you doing things that used to succeed but no longer work as well, if at all? Are you spending valuable time on unproductive activities, when that time could be better invested elsewhere? Sometimes habit keeps us going through unproductive motions that need to be disrupted.
What is the ratio between your “daily planning” and your “daily doing”? Leaders can waste massive amounts of time in meetings that don’t end in appropriate action actually being taken. And sometimes it’s good to recognize that something you’ve discussed repeatedly in a meeting that hasn’t happened may actually just be a low priority that needs to be ignored.
Maybe you’re spinning your wheels in unprofitable relationships with customers and vendors. Don’t stay in no-win situations just because you’ve been there a long time. This can be the hardest area of your life to disrupt.
Disrupting yourself will make you stronger. The path to progress and success isn’t a leisurely walk through the countryside. It’s a rocky, steep path of resistance—and resistance develops muscle. Breaking up patterns and unsettling stable, but humdrum, practices can result in new enthusiasm, energy, and opportunities.
If you want to be the best you can be, don’t let someone or something else change your game. Be proactive and disrupt the things that need to change in your life.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com.
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