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By David Harder on November, 1, 2013

Changed for good

Like a comet pulled from orbit

As it passes a sun

Like a stream that meets a boulder

Halfway through the wood

Who can say if I’ve changed for the better?

But because I knew you

I have been changed for good

         From Wicked – lyrics & music by Stephen Schwartz

One of my clients is implementing a revolutionary and masterful change process within her organization. We were discussing the courage that it takes to stand up for growth, particularly when the path is a game changer. She reminded me of a statement that I made to her a few years ago, “If you want to learn what’s going on, you can begin by running from old people.”

“Ouch!” I responded, “That’s so extreme! I believe I was simply suggesting that we run away from the cynicism and contempt that is the mark of an old fart.”

The following day, I met with two clients – both of them highly successful professionals. The topic of social networking came up and both of them dismissed this revolution as an irritating fad. I was struck with how casually they discarded one of today’s most valuable marketing tools.

The next meeting was with another client, a rock star in social networking. His team of four brings in more revenue than the company’s sales team of twenty. I told him of the earlier conversation. He smiled and pulled out two photos.  One was of Pope Benedict’s ordination six years ago. The included over three hundred thousand people filling Vatican square. The next photo comes from the same vantage point and features the recent ordination of our “tweeting” Pope Francis. There is one profound difference: Over a hundred thousand phones were flashing in unison.

My client chuckled, “A lot of business owners are irritated by all of these phones intruding on their sacred moment. This pope is asking the question, ‘How can I get my message onto all of these phones?'”

  • Today, impermeable dictatorships fail in the face of mass communication.
  • Industries rise and fall so quickly that today’s college graduates can anticipate four to five different careers.
  • Google Ventures launches Calico, an organization devoted towards reversing the aging process. 

Change is bringing us abundant opportunity!

And yet, all of us have this internal mechanism that can operate silently and mindlessly blinding us to the opportunities in front of us – all in the name of comfort.

Many years ago, J. Paul Getty said, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.”

Humans crave comfort.

Human crave growth.

It is a strange dichotomy that as the rate of change grows, we seek more comfort, which can be diametrically opposed to growth and progress.

Mentors helped me develop a healthy paranoia around my need to be right. Loving friends pointed out that if I became overly resistant to a great idea, perhaps I ought to be examining what I am afraid of.

Learning how to climb mountains requires skill and courage. The journey is much more gratifying with friends to show the way. The payoffs can be profound.

Recently, a beautiful woman came running up to me at a restaurant. She grabbed my hand and exclaimed, “David, it’s me!” I didn’t recognize her.

A few years before, she had given a narrative about why her life didn’t work.

At the time, I reflected back,

“Based on what you’ve just told us, here is your typical day:  You drive through hours of terrible traffic, take the elevator to a job that simply represents a pay check. You don’t like the people you work with. You come home exhausted and reward yourself with a few hours of autopsy dramas (CSI/Law & Order). Now, tell us why you are so unhappy.”

She told me, “In that moment, I became more frightened of my behavior than in changing my life.”

Want to change the world?

Change someone’s mind!

It is never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be.

There are no rules about changing or staying the same.

I hope you make the best of it.

I hope you meet people with differing points-of-view.

I want you to have a life that you are proud of.

If you find that you are not, I hope you have the courage to begin again.

All the best