Change is a constant. Ho-hum, right? Everybody knows that. But, if you really do expect change, what are you actually going to do about it? If you’re committed to making your best even better, you won’t just react to change. You’ll create it.
In my book The Potential Principle, I encourage readers who want to reach their best to focus on four areas of the Potential Matrix: the performing quadrant, the learning quadrant, the thinking quadrant, and the reflecting quadrant. But there’s one tool that you can use in all of these areas at once to create breakthrough improvement and move closer toward realizing your full potential. The first tool is to disrupt yourself before someone or something else does it for you.
If change hits you from some outside source — say, a disruptive technology, company or nation — you’ll find yourself scrambling to adapt. You’ll struggle to catch up rather than strive to stay ahead. But what if you’re the one bringing the change? What if you’re the one driving innovation? That makes you the game changer!
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. They keep growing, and they keep the people in their families and companies growing as well.
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? What is the ratio between your “daydreaming” and your “daily doing?” You can plan and prepare too much if it prevents you from taking action. And sometimes, it’s good to recognize that a daydream is really just a fantasy, and you’d be better off focusing your energy on more important goals.
Maybe you’re spinning your wheels in unhealthy relationships. This can be the hardest area of your life to disrupt. But if someone is influencing you negatively, you might need to change, limit or end your relationship with them.
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 yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an “idea studio” that seeks to motivate and develop leaders in and outside of business. He’s the bestselling author of books like Fred Factor and The Potential Principle and a noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and company change. He holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. Check out any of his excellent books, his video series, “Team Building: How to Motivate and Manage People” or his website, marksanborn.com, to learn more.