Simply accepting the status quo is a huge obstacle for personal growth and development. If you want to achieve even bigger goals or successfully navigate every unpredictable thing in life, you must embrace your fears and undergo a self-disruption. Adam Markel opens up on his own journey of pivoting from stagnation and getting more aligned with his business goals and core life values. He explains how to be proactive in dealing with and growing in the midst of change, one of the constants of life everyone has to live with.
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 1:10 – Fear of the status quo
- 8:37 – Getting ready to pivot
- 13:21 – Disrupting proactively
- 20:05 – Conclusion
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How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
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Solo-Cast From Adam Markel: How To Undergo A Transformative Self-Disruption
It’s just going to be us talking about stagnation versus self-disruption. The one thing in all of my years in business on this beautiful blue-green Earth, this tiny little speck of dust spins in infinite space. In the midst of all of that, I’m going to share some wisdom from my years on the planet, and that is the things that stay the same, that stagnate often disintegrating it. It’s been my experience that there are not that many things that we genuinely should have a fear about.
Fear Of The Status Quo
Fear is one of those things that often will keep us stuck and will take away the joy that we would otherwise experience in life, our pursuits, our work, and everything. One of the fears that I do think is an appropriate fear or irrational fear is the fear of the status quo. That is something that is based on years of being around myself, but around other people, and witnessing what it looks like when any person or any system stops evolving. By that, the system becomes closed, locked, or fixed, or the mindset becomes locked or fixed.
Maybe you know somebody like that. I don’t know, maybe they’re sitting in your seat. We all go through periods where we want comfort and where we would prefer to have comfort over doing things that create discomfort. I’m going to say this whether it’s been your experience or not. Comfort is overrated. It’s in many ways highly overrated. I’m not saying I don’t like comforts. I don’t want to imply that I’m not interested in having all that life has to offer. Even in the way of business success and all the things that financial success can bring, I’m in favor of all those things.
Yet when we get comfortable and our comfort is our primary concern, it’s very much the case that we stop or we slow down the process of our growth. Most of my growth in my life occurred when I was not comfortable. Again, you have to check in on your own life experience to see what that. In the moment when we are experiencing the pain of change or the uncertainty/pain associated with that uncertainty or change itself, we can’t see the growth that’s going to be the ROI for that pain that we’re experiencing for that, dealing with the unknown and dealing with our fear of the unknown and dealing with our insecurity in that uncertainty.Getting comfortable is the point where we stop or slow down the process of growth. Click To Tweet
If you look back at periods in your life when you were the most uncomfortable, you’re going to find that was the period when you were growing the most and when things were okay, good, settled, and comfortable, there was less growth happening at those times. It’s a bit of a riddle. It’s one of those great paradoxes of life that life is filled with. It’s even a spiritual paradox that we have to be constantly vigilant about keeping ourselves open to what is new, fresh, and on guard about the status quo, about being a person that looks at change as harmful first.
That’s the first reaction to change is that it creates that cortisol moment and that adrenaline rush that you think somehow or another this could end badly or could impact you in a way that is not positive. In many ways, that fear I spoke of earlier that’s associated with a process that is part of nature. The law of manifestation in the universe is changed itself. It’s an oxymoron that the great constant in life is change.
When we are afraid of change, when we would prefer the devil, we know that devil that we are interfering with that cosmic law for our growth. I get it. I know what it’s like to be involved in a situation where even though it’s not perfect and it’s not good, the change in that situation is a scary thing. There’s more worry associated with the potential for that situation to change radically. There is eking out that existence, experiencing that dissatisfaction knowing that it’s less than it can be, yet the worry and the fear keep you fighting for its existence, and its status quo.
I was running a company for a number of years and not seeing eye to eye with the people that were on the board, my partners, and the like. Knowing that the relationship was negative in many ways, was not serving me, them, and the company, it was the writing on the wall. By the way, parenthetically, if you’ve never read the book, Who Moved My Cheese, read it. If you have read it, read it again. That’s a book we should all read at least once a year because of the sheer wisdom and the fact that in many ways, we can always look at our lives and go, “Where am I settling at this moment? Where am I settling for mediocrity? Where am I settling for the known?”
What is certain in some respects and the process of abandoning and even moving further away from what is better, what could even be great, if you will. I was in that situation not weeks, not months, but for years, knowing that it was not doing me any good and it was moving me farther away from my most important life and business goals. I was so afraid of what change looked like that I couldn’t even think about it. I couldn’t allow myself to think about it. Ultimately, when I did allow myself to think about it, to speak about it, and to have conversations with my closest confidants about it, the universe upped and sped the process.
Getting Ready To Pivot
It was a beautiful moment because I remember feeling that way, thinking about it, and talking about it, discussing it with my wife and getting myself from a mindset standpoint, ready to pivot. The name of the book I wrote some years ago was all about this concept of pivoting and embedded in that was the idea that you either pivot by design or you pivot by default. The default pivot is the universe saying, “I’m not waiting for you anymore. I’m tired, sick, and tired perhaps of waiting for you to do something.” You’re going to get the boot, shove in the direction, and gently.
When we’re open to that gentle nudge or shove or what have you, it can go more smoothly than when we’re resistant. When we fight all the signs that are in front of us, the writing that’s on the wall on, like Spencer Johnson wrote about. I was open, willing, ready, able, and all that good stuff, then I froze long enough for three months in fear of not knowing what it would look like on the other side of that decision. The universe went ahead and gave me that not so much a nudge at that point, but a real kick and shove out of the status quo.
That’s many years ago at this point. I can look back on it as you all can look back on moments where you experienced that disruption of the status quo, whether it was because you chose to disrupt what it was or the beauty of the world we live in, it happens however that is. You look back and that was one of the greatest growth moments in my life. That’s one of the most poignant present moments in my life, where I was present with what was going on. It got my attention. I had to mobilize. I had to be resourceful. I had to think on my feet. I had to follow my advice, and eat my cooking. The stuff I wrote about in Pivot had to become my methodology and my practice again. To renew and relive it was glorious.
I couldn’t have asked for it to work out any better than it has. Bringing this up as we are entering into this brand new, beautiful year ahead, I’m suggesting that you look at the places in your life, in your business, in your business life, or your career life where there is the need for some fresh air, fresh water, some newness, new insight, some change of some kind. I’m not suggesting you need to quit your job or quit your career, change careers, or any of that stuff. I’m saying look at the places where things have stagnated if you are leading other people.
As a leader, you have to not only know yourself, know thyself, but you also have to use the wisdom of knowing yourself to be able to know that we’re all the same and that things that you are experiencing, things that you are struggling with, things that you worry about, things that you obsess about pretty much the same things that we all think, worry, and obsess about. We’re all similar that you can use your own experience to be empathetic with other people. You can understand them better to help them find their growth and help facilitate that growth.
You could be the one to give that nudge instead of waiting for the universe to create a more extreme moment of awareness, for example. It’s important that we are proactive, and that we disrupt the status quo on purpose. In a world where change is prevalent and evident, where the pace of technological changes that are all about us, whether it’s AI or it’s anything else that’s new at the moment and we’ll be new in the next moment and the moment after that, what we have to understand is that uncertainty is something we get to control. When we’re constantly in this agile state, this pivot-ready state is something that I talk about a lot in the book, Change Proof, which many of you have purchased or have heard about.
Maybe you’re thinking about it. In that book, Change Proof, and in our digital program that goes along with that the Change Proof program. I talk about how important it is to be agile, to be pivot ready. The opportunities are all around us. They’re everywhere. If we’re, again, locked in a resistant state, a less open state, we may not see those opportunities. We may be blind to them. Temporarily speaking, this is a great year amid this constant and never-ending change to focus your energy on not only leading your own life in a way that is constantly inviting newness, an open state of mind, and an open mindset to things that are to materialize, things that are not known and use that open mindset for the future to how change is always a net positive.
Change is good. You’ve heard that term before, Kaizen, in Japanese. It means change is good. It’s a term that’s often used when it comes to creating constant never-ending improvement to a system, or anything. It’s to see at its core that whatever is changing, ultimately, is an evolutionary change, a transformational change, and that is a net positive. If you could adopt that philosophy, mindset, and mentality, as my father-in-law would always say, you’re going to be able to model that so easily for people around you.
It will help you with your leadership in ways that you cannot begin to imagine including the leadership of friends and family, not just the people in your workplace. It will also help you to create greater self-leadership because you will be the one to look in the mirror and go, “What’s open for examination? Where we’re in this beautiful world that I am a part of is there some opportunity for newness, improvement, or growth?” More than anything, that’s what I wish you now and not just the rest of the year, but the rest of your life, a life that is filled with constant and never-ending self-improvement, and improvement in all of your conditions, whether they’re your financial conditions, your health conditions, or your relationship conditions, all of it.
I truly believe that starts with how we see stagnation, how we see what it means to self-disrupt, to get ahead of the curve and be proactively looking at where our improvement lies. That’s never easy. It is a daily practice for me. It’s a mindset that I have to remind myself about frequently. It’s not like I adopted that mindset 5 or 10 years ago. I’ve been living in the glow of it ever since. I did become aware of these things some time ago, and therefore I’m able to I catch myself. It takes a minute or more to catch where I am falling back on that old tendency, which is a human tendency to opt for the things that are known. the things that are comfortable to us, and the things that we understand as we get older.
Now, I know a few things. I know that’s not the road to growth. I want to stay on the road to growth. That’s what inspired me to share some words with you all. This all to me is a way in which we produce our greater resiliency to the world that we have very little control over. I’m a recovering control freak, I can tell you that. I have to be resilient in the face of any eventuality. That is a great part of our message when it comes to resilience and being change proof is that ability to weather any situation, not just weather it as in survive it, but advance as a result of it to create net positivity out of any negativity, disruption, and chaos.Being change proof is the ability to weather or survive any situation. Create net positivity out of any negativity, disruption, and chaos. Click To Tweet
Chaos is often a sign that there’s going to be some great growth ahead. Our first instinct is often white-knuckle those moments, push back, and fight against them. You can’t fight the currents as I say at the beginning at Change Proof. I tell the story of being a lifeguard and my first summer at the beach, I learned that example. Looking at rip currents and making saves amid these violent riptides, you can’t fight the current. Don’t try. You don’t have to. We have a better process, a better method.
If you’ve not yet found out how resilient you are at this moment, which is a snapshot in time to create your baseline of what your resilience looks like mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually, you can go to RankMyResilience.com, and get your free assessment. It takes three minutes. You’ll get some free resources there and you can find out more about our Change Proof Program as well. We’d love to get your thoughts. Your feedback is wonderful. We live on it. It’s vital to us. You can go to AdamMarkel.com/podcast and leave a comment. I’ll be the one to respond to that there. We appreciate you doing so. The word is important when we find there’s something that works for us and the words that work for us, we have to share those words with others.
This show is a collection of words and the way that other people find it is simply through this algorithm, and I have no clue how that algorithm is set up. I do want no one thing when we get a five-star review, more people get to hear that word, whatever the words are. If you wouldn’t mind taking the time on the platform that you are reading to this and leaving a five-star review, that helps other people to get access to it as well. If somebody would benefit, please feel free to share this episode with them as well. I’ll say ciao for now.