Change is the way of life. When we get to the other side of this pandemic, many things will be different—some better, some worse. Some will make life easier. Some will make life more difficult.
While life is always about change, this pandemic has ratcheted up the feeling that it’s more aggressive, obvious and oppressive. Life is now filled with more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that go to the heart of our well-being and psychological safety. You can either resist or embrace the change: How do you want to come through this?
WHAT DOES RESISTANCE LOOK LIKE?
We often get stuck in the that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been-done or the it-worked-before-so-why-would-we-need-to-change-it? perspective, which is known as the “fixed” or “closed” mindset. A fixed mindset can insure continuity with an allegiance to the past as well as a bow to the institutional processes and adherence to established process. While this perspective provides some psychological safety in the presumption that less change equals less risk, like it or not, change is upon us.
So the question is: Do we operate as if nothing has changed and continue to do things the way we’ve always done them or are we going to try something new and different—try an approach, mindset or perspective that we had resisted previously? For some, it’s just small shift, a small nuance of change. But for the significant part of the population, it’s an operational, soul-wrenching lack of choice: Change, be changed, fall behind or fall off.
WHAT ABOUT EMBRACING CHANGE?
A growth or open mindset is one that continually looks for new ways of doing things. As President John F. Kennedy noted, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” To embrace change, you can allow your creative mind to wonder and explore what’s possible if there were no boundaries, limits or self-limiting beliefs holding you back. I believe that there is no better time than now to throw down the gauntlet and allow yourself to be an adventurer, a moon walker, an explorer in re-evaluating everything and inviting innovation into your life in any and all categories.
Remember all those pre-digital companies that thought they had it down, that didn’t need to change or adapt because what they were doing was working, like Polaroid and Blockbuster? They were so busy looking behind that they failed to look ahead. As Judith Glaser writes in her book “Conversational Intelligence,” “Change is the nature of every successful company’s journey. When the market shifts, successful companies need to be agile; they must be able to get in front of the curve and succeed time and again.”
This is as true for law practices as it is for everything.
So Here’s My Challenge to You
Try something new and different in one, some or all of the categories of your life!
Are you ready to be the innovator, change-maker and visionary or a victim of change, fearful, stuck and holding onto old ways? What processes, perspectives, mindsets and beliefs are you willing to examine, challenge, stress-test and re-evaluate? Take a look at your work, your personal life, your career, your business, your home, your relationships—all the things in your life—and ask yourself these two questions:
- What is truly working and doesn’t need change?
- What isn’t working, and what are you willing to do to make it work?
Go back to the first question and analyze why you think it’s working and why you think something doesn’t need to change. And by change, perhaps it’s just growth, adaptation, new perspectives, development, upskilling or maybe some new habits.
In either question, it might be something as simple as rearranging your sock drawer or trying a new recipe (or actually cooking!) or something much bigger such as coming up with an idea for adding a specialty to your law practice, finally deciding that you are going to go for the big dream, or coming up with a new methodology for your practice. What can you change and think differently about? Everything is up for re-thinking!
As James Clear discusses in “Atomic Habits,” Small changes can trigger atomic results. Go big or go small but live in an open state of mind, taking the time to consider new perspectives and new habits. So when this pandemic allows us to return to some normalcy, you will be well positioned for growth and in a positive and productive mindset.” Ellen Cohen