Adapt To Change And You Will Thrive
You’re going to want to sit down for this one.
If you’re already sitting down, stand up. Then sit down.
Adapting to change quickly is the key to your future success.
Ever heard the story “The Bridge that leads to Nowhere”? This might sound strange but there is a bridge that leads to nowhere. It’s a perfectly well build bridge that goes nowhere. It’s located in the city of Choluteca, Honduras.
The River That Changed Course
In 1998 the Choluteca bridge that spanned the Choleteca river was completed. It was a modern marvel of engineering built to withstand the powerful forces of nature. Not long after it opened, Honduras was hit by the devasting effects of Hurricane Mitch.
When the hurricane hit, it deposited 1900mm of rain in four days. This was the equivalent of the rain the country would generally receive in six months. Over 7,000 lives were lost, and all the bridges were destroyed except one. The Choluteca Bridge remained standing.
But there was a problem; the roads leading to the bridge were washed away. That’s not all; the floodwaters forced the Choluteca River to change course. The river no longer flowed under the bridge. So while the bridge survived, it no longer spanned the river.
Twelve years later, the bridge remains standing. But, unfortunately, it became a bridge that led to nowhere.
While the Choluteca river changed its course, it didn’t stop flowing after the hurricane. All that happened was the river found a cut-out new path for itself.
Why Adapting to Change is Critical to Success
For most of us, we don’t like change. We prefer to stay in our comfort zone where we feel safe and happy. We can deal with change as long as it’s other people who change, not us.
The Choluteca bridge and river story is the perfect metaphor for how change is forced upon us. Unless we learn to adapt quickly, we get left behind.
We saw this during the 2020 global pandemic. While many countries knew that we would be hit with a global pandemic one day, some prepared for the possibilities, and some didn’t. And even those who did, many countries weren’t prepared for the enormous social and economic disruption COVID 19 caused.
Let’s examine some famous companies who went out of business because they didn’t adapt to change quickly enough.
Companies That Failed To Change
Kodak was founded in 1888 and has led the photographic market for over 100 years. Believe it or, they were the first to invent the digital camera but were fearful this innovation would hurt their film businesses. As a result, they didn’t adapt to change and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
At its peak, Blockbuster had over 9,000 outlets and employed 84,000 people worldwide. However, the rise of streaming services like Netflix led to its demise. They didn’t change their business model and failed to adapt to change quickly enough. As a result, 84,000 people had to find new employment.
Remember the old Sears Catalog. Until 1989, Sears was the largest retailer in the USA until Walmart took over. Then along came Target, and e-commerce giants like Amazon continued to grow. But unfortunately, they did nothing to adapt to the online world and continued to stagnant. They didn’t see the need to change and the rest is history.
Other Iconic Retailers
Here are other iconic retailers who couldn’t adapt to the changing needs of their customers, the impact COVID had on buying patterns, or adapting to a new wave of online stores.
- Pier 1 – founded in 1962 and filed for bankruptcy in February 2020
- J.C. Penney, founded in 1902, filed for bankruptcy in May 2020
- Neiman Marcus – founded in 1907, filed for bankruptcy in May 2020
- Lord and Taylor – founded in 1826 – filed for bankruptcy in August 2020
Yes, the pandemic did contribute to the demise of some retailers; however, their demise was primarily failing to embrace new technologies and the impact e-commerce stores would have on their business models.
Change is All Around Us
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Working From Home
Working is no longer restricted to working in an office. Fifty years ago, even ten years ago, working meant going to a physical place of work. However, with emerging technologies, many can now embrace the working from home revolution. All you need is a computer, mobile device, and the internet.
Fitness Went Online
During the many lockdowns, fitness took a new direction. Personal trainers had to rethink how they would keep clients. This meant turning to online fitness instruction. People set up gyms in their garage, turned to online fitness programs from the comfort of the bedroom or lounge.
Everyone Has a Smartphone
Fifty years ago, a landline was an essential means of staying in touch with friends and family. Today, landlines at home are almost redundant with the increased use of smartphones. Research tells us that less than 50% of homes still have a landline.
Answer Phones are Defunct
There no longer a need to answer phones; texting is the new way to leave a message. And it’s instant.
People Are More Connected
With social media, people are now connected 24/7. You know what they ate for dinner, where they went on vacation, what they did on the weekend, and much much more. As a result, our private lives have become less private.
Online Shopping is the New Norm
Before the pandemic, many were skeptical about shopping online. They preferred to physically go to the grocery store or their local mall to do their shopping. The pandemic forced us online. There was a huge uptake in shopping online and having goods delivered to your home. People changed and ordered groceries, meals, and takeaways delivered to their homes.
Watching Live TV has Been Replaced
The days where you watched live TV have changed. With streaming services, even cable TV is at risk. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, you no longer need to go to the cinema as many streaming services are taking over the production of movies with original content.
Going Green is no Longer a Fad
Going green, climate change, and recycling is becoming increasingly important. People are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, recycle clothes, use LED lightbulbs, and bring their bags to the grocery store, all to reduce waste.
And the list goes on. Change is all around us, and it’s constant.
What Change Means For You
Change has always been constant. It’s the pace of change that is overwhelming for many. Like the Choluteca river, many sit back in their comfort zone, waiting for the river to flow under the bridge again. Others who don’t like change try to force the river back under the bridge.
We can’t stop change, but we can learn how to manage it better. It’s vital we accept that the river has moved, the bridge is redundant, and we need to carve out a new future for ourselves.
We need to accept that change will continue to happen with or without our permission.
To succeed personally, professionally, and in business, we need to learn to face and manage change. Those who adapt to change well will be the ones who prosper in the future.
How do we accept change and learn to adjust to where the river is now taking us is by investing in personal and professional development activities.
The Value of Personal Development and Learning New Skills
Many bridges connect us from our past to the present and the present to the future. For example, when you first left school or graduated from college, are those same learnings and lessons as relevant today, as they were back then?
Has there been a Choluteca bridge moment in your life? What did you learn from the experience?
The story of the Choluteca bridge teaches us many lessons spanning our personal, professional, and business lives. Those who adapt to change the fastest, learn to change course by upskilling themselves are the ones who thrive, not just survive.
3 Kick Butt Personal Development Guidelines
As you can see, personal growth is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. To advance your career, improve your earning power, achieve your goals and objectives, you need a new set of skills. Although changing habits and real growth takes time, there are several personal development activities you can engage in for rapid growth.
Create a Personal and Professional Development Plan
- Create a compelling vision for the future.
- Define your values and use these as a moral compass to guide all your actions.
- Craft goals aligned to your vision and values.
- Surround yourself with positive people and avoid the naysayers and negative influences in your life.
- Read self-development and self-help books.
- Purposefully leave your comfort zone and into the learning zone.
- Face your fears and make them your friend.
Improve Your Personal Effectiveness
- Developing more effective communication skills by understanding your communication style and how this impacts your relationships.
- Understanding how others like to communicate and learn to adapt your social and communication style to gain cooperation.
- Developing a can-do attitude that encourages cooperation and excellence.
- Aligning yourself with a personal performance coach or mentor.
Improve Your Earning Power and Future Prospects
- Improving your employment skills like resume writing and interviewing.
- Developing your leadership skills.
- Developing your strategic thinking skills.
- Executive and professional development activities.
- Mastering emotional intelligence.
- If you are moving from an employee to a managerial role, learning to manage upwards and sideways.
- Learning how to manage people and their expectations.
Learn to Thrive Not Just Survive
Dealing with change and learning to thrive is a journey, not a destination. This is why you should get comfortable with uncomfortable and move out of your comfort zone. That’s where you find the opportunities in life.
If you need help to define your vision for the future, values, and goals, this is what we focus on with our personal and professional development training and coaching.
If you need to improve your communication skills, there is nothing better to learn than sales training even if you aren’t in a dedicated sales role.
If you need help becoming a better leader, manager, or growing a business, our business coaching tailored to your needs might be the answer for you.
Book a FREE 30-Minute Discovery Session now to find out what Strategez for Success options might be right for you. If we aren’t a good fit for you or aren’t a good fit for us, we will make other recommendations accordingly.
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