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The Time Traveler’s Guide to Leading through Change

Food 4 Thought from four4soaring

We don’t have to change, we GET TO change.

The brevity of that mantra and the substitution of the words “get to” for “have to” or “must” evokes anticipation, engagement, and action.

At least it feels like that is what the “influencers” and leaders who started introducing this “get to” language intended?

We “get to” engage.

We “get to” be excited.

We “get to” be who we were born to be.

What happens when the change is so successive and rapid that we feel like Henry and his wife, Clare, from The Time Traveler’s Wife*, constantly being plucked and tossed from one brand new set of circumstances and times to the other?

*(Great movie and an even better book!)

What becomes of us when we are trying to make out of that “tossing” a coherent life and determine a path forward from what feels like an endless litany of random glimpses, incomplete information and disjointed encounters?

…or more comedically, what happens when we feel like: Adam Sandler in Click or Brendan Fraser who wakes up after being frozen in Encino Man (or growing up in a bomb shelter as in Blast from the Past?) Where is our Pauly Shore to help navigate the 90’s Encino, California high school scene?

As a child of the 80’s I remember characters like Saturday morning cartoon’s Captain Caveman or SNL’s beloved Phil Hartman as Caveman Lawyer who seemingly couldn’t adjust to life in modern times after being thrust into the modern age.

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, I’m just a Caveman. I fell in some ice and later got thawed out by your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me. Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW and run off into the hills or whatever. Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, did little demons get inside and type it? I don’t know. My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts.

Saturday Night Live on NBC

Even as we strive to move through our pandemic and post-pandemic transformations, we learn that change is much more than just a major upheaval that will have some finite end to it. As we absorb the way the world is morphing around us, we begin to realize that rapid iteration is a fact of life, much like our friend Henry in the Time Traveler’s Wife or our more comedic buddies from the 80’s and 90’s.

We also recognize every day that we are not going back to a time when things were simpler. No, we are stuck in continuous “change mode.” Often, just getting our bearings before we get whisked away to the next radical scene.

I suppose the way to address this is to look for the constants?

What are the continuous threads we can hold onto just as Henry clings to his wife and daughter?

I like to think we have two amazing anchors to grab hold of – and if you have been reading this food 4 thought thing for a while you will find them familiar:

Purpose and Community

George Bernard Shaw said it this way:

“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

Shaw

How do we become the splendid torch when the winds of change and the seas of ambiguity threaten to put our flame out on a daily basis?

I’d like to suggest that if we are going to embrace Shaw’s mantra and master our ride along the waves of change – we must bring our entire selves to the table to do it.

That means we need to step back and take stock of ourselves.

For this food 4 thought, we need to ask ourselves :

  • Are we being true to our calling?
  • Are we acting like the person we get to be?
  • Are we fully realizing our gifts and talents?
  • Are we bringing our whole self to every endeavor, every encounter, every conversation, and every relationship?

Or

Or

Are we looking to find purpose in the midst of change and striving to do for the community what we can?

I know easy to say and harder to do. I find this very challenging as well, but I feel we have to try!

I hope you find this valuable and remember, if for any reason you don’t…it is all just food 4 thought. If you want to continue to conversation, join me on one of my other platforms. If you find this or any of my content shareable, don’t hesitate to encourage others with it! #Iwant2CUsoar

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By J Johnson

I am seeking to discover, find and share salt and light into the world. After growing up in financial poverty, but with a wealth of loving people lifting me up all along the way, I struggled for a good while to "do it all on my own." Until I finally found something indescribable in a mere "about me" section of a blog. Now I have the peace that discovery provides as well as the overwhelming urge to share everything I can with as many as I can. I am now trying to use those life experiences, my formal and informal education and my over 20 years of human resources and leadership experience to have a broader conversation with the world about that something, that Light, and about Love and Leadership...with a dose of Laughter along the way. 4 Ls to live by and to soar by. Four for Soaring.

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