An authoritative voice in business and news media and an on-air contributor for CNBC, Carol Roth is a highly sought after panel moderator and emcee who always ensures that “business is never boring”, making her a time and time again favourite with all audiences. In this recent column forEntrepreneur magazine, Carol looks at why change should be seen as a good thing, and not something to dread:
There is only one thing that is constant in life — and that is change. The reality is, we don’t like change. We especially don’t like change when things were going well, and we now don’t know what the future holds and / or when we have to take on risk and go out of our comfort zone.
However, if you want to be successful, being willing and able to change is no longer an option. It’s not a “nice to have” skill — it’s a “need to have” skill. Those who aren’t willing to embrace change, particularly entrepreneurs, will find themselves left behind.
Being left behind is more of a reality than ever nowadays because of technology. While it took 75 years for 100 million people to use the telephone, the cellular phone took only 16 years to get that level of adoption. Facebook only needed just more than four years to hit that 100 million user mark, and the game Candy Crush did so in just over a year’s time.
With technology acting as a catalyst for change to move at an increasingly accelerated pace, we need to learn how accept and welcome it.
To become comfortable with being uncomfortable, there are both mindset shifts and actions that you can undertake.
1. Believe that change is good.
While people are predisposed to hate losing more than they like winning, you can change your mindset by believing that change is good. I like to point to fashion as the easiest way to remind yourself of this. In the 1970s, bell bottom pants, wide ties and feathered hair — for men — meant that you were looking good. If I told you then that shortly, you would have to give that up for a perm and a can of aqua net, acid-washed jeans rolled like bagels at the bottom and a fluorescent sweatshirt to look good, you would have thought that I was crazy.
But that’s what happened in fashion in a mere 10 years’ time. If you didn’t change in the ’80s, you looked like an outdated relic. And if you still haven’t changed your look, you might want to consider doing so now.
So, if you are ever worried about change, pull out some 1970s and 1980s fashion pictures — and that should set you straight.
2. Understand that change is necessary.
If you and your business are goal-oriented, you want to keep achieving more and moving forward. If you are not moving forward, you will likely be left behind. Getting that entrenched into your thinking is important for you to be able to accept and embrace change.
Related: 5 Points of Wisdom the Wright Brothers Can Offer About Leading Big Change
3. Learn how to fail.
Part of our fear of change is the mis-guidance that we received during school that failure is somehow bad. You must be able and willing to fail in order to try new things and ultimately, effect change.
However, there’s a right and a wrong way to fail. You want to fail quickly, so that you haven’t used up too much time and opportunity costs in pursuing change. You want to fail cheaply, so that you haven’t tied too much of your personal or businesses finance to any one potential change. Finally, you never want to fail the same way twice. Not learning from your mistakes is costly and makes failure painful instead of part of the path.
4. Set — and stretch — goals.
Many people don’t know the difference between hopes and dreams and wishes and goals. Goals are concrete outcomes that have specific time frames and action items associated with them. So, don’t set a goal in your mind and forget it. Chart it out with a completion date, and break it down by action steps that you need to accomplish to get to that goal, with each of those milestones having a specific completion date as well.
Once you have those goals down, triple them. The reason I say that is that people are hard-wired to meet or just exceed whatever goal they have (if you don’t believe me, think about Olympic runners and swimmers that over time are just able to beat out the last world record by a few mere seconds).
If you triple your goals, it will push you to get further than your original goal. Even if you get only half way to the tripled goal, it’s still 50 percent more than you would have done in your met your original goal. Try it.
5. Get help.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. When you think about change, engage others to help you through it. Going through change with a support system makes it not only easier, but often, more successful.
Hopefully, those mindset and action shifts will allow you to be at the forefront of change and not wait until the point where it’s too painful not to change.