Charles Darwin reportedly once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
In life, there’s birth, death and lots of change in between the two. All our collective environments – natural, cultural, professional, technological and virtually every other part of our existence – are constantly changing. If we deny those changes, at best, we do
nothing to favorably influence their inevitability or impact on us. At worst, we secure our obsolescence more quickly and definitively. I find this true in life and business.
Recently I was reminded of the critical importance of adapting as a survival necessity.
I was engaged in a professional endeavor that abruptly came to a discouraging end. The impact on my life was not insignificant. While I recognized the opportunities hiding underneath the resulting challenges, my initial go-to efforts to seize any such opportunities just proved unproductive and disheartening. I knew those old paths all too well and found the thought of traversing them even once more to be exhausting. So I stumbled around searching for inspiration and eventually was reminded of advice I’d given to others many times before.
I told myself, “Rich, focus on the value you can offer the world around you.” Our success in every area of marketing, business and life is based upon the value we’re perceived to offer to our markets, clients, personal relationships and communities. So, that’s where I sought my next solutions.
I started by considering what good I currently offer – both personally and professionally. Then I dug deeper to understand what new and distinct value I might yet be able to offer. It wasn’t particularly difficult to find things I’m confident about. The struggle was trying to align the value I might offer to the changes going on around me – and then finding a way to monetize that. After some painfully slow reflection, which at times felt like crawling through wet cement, it came to me. So I made a choice, took a risk, made an investment and leaped into action.
What am I talking about? I’ll come to that in a moment. But it almost doesn’t matter, because the specific outcomes aren’t the point here. It is NOT the success of my endeavors which make me smarter, stronger or better. Rather, it’s the movement, the momentum, the embracing of change and the commitment to a course of action to meet change that empowers me, keeps me vital and strengthens the value I’m able to offer the world around me.
Now, the purpose of this article isn’t to brag about the new Marketing With Teeth drone services branch we’re launching in the upcoming days (although we certainly encourage your interest). And it’s not to convey that I’m proud to lead the charge as our first FAA-certified drone pilot or that our agency has expanded our expertise and value offerings to include video editing and a variety of other video-related design skillsets.
The purpose is to offer only one word of business survival advice – for organizations of all types and sizes, for clients, colleagues, students, friends and family. The advice, quite simply, is …
Pay close attention to the changes in your environment. Whether you like or dislike, agree or disagree with those changes, fear or find those changes inconvenient, know that your response and lack of response to change shape your future influence on the world and the changes that lie ahead.
Winston Churchill once asserted, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” I don’t claim to know perfection, but I know our vitality, our significance, centers around how effectively we adapt to an ever-changing world around us. So stay vital. Grow. Adapt.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Be an instrument of change. Be one with it. Make your mark… and adapt it as you move ahead!