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Our choice to change makes us who we are. Often, choosing to not taking a decision brings about a change, too. In other words, there is no getting around change and not being affected by it.
But how do you ensure you can keep your head when those around you are losing theirs? How do you manage to stay grounded when the winds of change threaten to bring about irreversible changes to your life and your work? And how do you make sure the change that is afoot works in your favor.
Here are just five ways to make sure you come out tops:
1. Be proactive:
Change is much easier when you are driving it, as opposed to when it is happening to you. If there is a trend in the market, try to be at the front of it, rather than adapt to it later. If you are not enjoying your job, it’s better to seek something else that is more fun, rather than wait, be fired, and then look around.
Same goes for an entrepreneur. Be it your personal or professional life, one of the most important principles is the idea of being proactive – make the changes that are necessary before they become inevitable.
2. Develop support networks:
Change is hard. It is emotionally difficult. It also requires that you may need access to opportunities and different types of help. There are people who get to a certain stage in their life and have no network at all; they become lonely and find it tough to navigate the change.
Work on making your family ties stronger. Have friends and mentors who can advise you and help you make connections with other people. These people become constant in your life.
3. Develop resilience:
The world has never been so turbulent. The fashionable word for it is, VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Also, you can’t expect to be successful all time. But you can’t get crushed by the failure either. So you must develop tenacity. Tenacity is like a muscle – the more you stretch it and work it, the stronger it becomes.
So you train yourself to overcome disappointment and failure. For instance, it took me two attempts to get into the department of my choice at IIT. I got into Harvard Business School after two attempts. The transformation of Cummins and Microsoft in India took many years; you just have to keep at it until you taste success.
4. Develop a reputation or personal brand:
What is it that you take with you professionally? Two things – your network and your reputation. If you have a reputation for being dishonest, it will travel with you.
If you have a knack for attracting great talent, people will know. You have to be conscious about how you wish to be perceived, and build a track record along these things. This is true both as an employee and entrepreneur.
5. Develop learning agility:
The total knowledge in the world doubles every year. There are huge advances and new developments every year. So if you don’t develop the ability to constantly learn new things and reinvent yourself, there is a big risk of
As it is famously said about Darwin’s theory of natural selection, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” So you must develop curiosity about everything, learn to learn new things, become comfortable with ambiguity.
Again, learning agility is a muscle that can be developed. You train yourself to be curious, read more, learn about other businesses, take online courses and so on. I highly recommend that every few years do something totally different.
(As told to Prerna Raturi)
(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine ( February 2016 Issue).