We live in times of profound change, uncertainty and disruption.
I believe that because of greater entropy in our world today, we will experience more change and chaos in our lives.
We WILL face change and disruption. It’s not if – only when.
That is the reality of our lives: More surprises and shocks.
In my own journey, I have realized that there is one trait above all else that is paramount if we’re to learn to thrive in times of change and that is:
The will to keep moving forward
The will to put ego aside and change yourself
The will to pick yourself up when you fail
The will to get another job after you’ve been laid off or downsized
The will to pick up the phone when the last prospect doesn’t email back for weeks
The will to go on a blind date without being sour after a lengthy relationship crashed
The will to move forward despite the physical pain and suffering that you’re enduring with an illness
The will to believe in yourself when others don’t
The will to fight when you’re so tired of doing it for so long
Skill, competence, smarts, intellect, luck, humor contribute deeply to fertilize the soil of our character but not as much as the strength of our will. Especially when in times of change where we are hit with seemingly random and unexpected events more often.
Obstacles in front of you are no match for your will.
The true test of success in times of change and uncertainty is our measured by our Will.
It is the trait that will define us for the times of turbulence. It is this one thing that will determine if we will succeed in love, life or enterprise. It is the will to go on despite the difficult road ahead.
Why is Will so important?
Because we all fall.
We all face obstacles, more than ever.
Because our lives today are affected by so much complexity, speed, randomness and uncertainty. By chaos. More often.
Look around. Nothing is predictable, certain or safe. From jobs to health, everything has changed. Think of how many people you know who are fighting all kinds of battles. Businesses are under severe pressure to grow. From small businesses to large ones to non-profits to government agencies, there is transformation and change that is upending people’s lives.
Our job changes.
Lines of computer code replace years of toil and experience.
Our workplace undergoes a massive transformation.
Our relationships get strained because of workplace stress.
A health crisis emerges.
Someone close to us passes unexpectedly making us rethink everything.
Our business suffers a random event.
Massive college loans look overwhelming.
What is will? How can it help me adapt to change?
Don’t confuse will with skill.
Skill is very important and attained through dedication and hard work at learning a craft.
Will is something different.
Will is a force emanating from within.
Will is strength.
Will is resistance of the mind to give in to the obstacle we face.
Will is the courage to believe in yourself.
Will is the motor that drives your action.
Will is a decision – it is a choice to get up even when you see no logic or reason in doing so.
Will is burning desire to show them what you got.
There’s no secret to finding your will. You have it. I have it. We all have it. It rests in our mind, ready to come out.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t let the complexity of a problem deter your faith in being able to solve it.
Get up and fight. Get up and believe. Get up and achieve.
Harnessing the will to move forward and take back control of our life is a battle not with the problems we face. It is a battle with our own mind.
Let me share a story.
I was working in corporate America at the time for a big company. Our company was going through massive change because the business model was being threatened by new government regulations.
Cost cuts. Job changes. Change in the workplace.
Each week my boss would tell us that he wasn’t sure how long he could keep our jobs afloat. Job cuts were being demanded by his boss all the time and he was resisting it by reducing budgets instead. Feeling the ship sinking into a deep unknown triggered a bout of anxiety that I had never experienced.
After months and months of stagnation and feeling unsure of myself, I had this shift occur in my mind. It wasn’t over night. The shift happened when I decided that hook or crook, I was going to fight. I wasn’t going to be reactionary. I was going to be proactive. I was going to try to do something bold to save my job. I was going to build something of value for our team. I didn’t know exactly what but I had this determination that fueled my energy.
It wasn’t faith because I was unsure of a positive outcome. Instead, I believe that it was a decision to take action when logic told me otherwise.
Despite all the change and disruption in my job, after a year or so, I was able to achieve a big goal that helped me save my job.
That shift of determination to move forward towards a bold new goal happened because of my will. I will’d myself to stop whining and overthinking and get to work to do something. I made a choice. I said to myself, “I will” and I got to work doing.
Since then, I’ve been saying “I will” with conviction, determination and choice and it has made a world of difference.
I believe we are capable of accomplishing great things we cannot yet imagine. We have to continue moving forward.
I believe that hidden underneath the skin of our beaten selves lies this roaring river of strength waiting to be unleashed.
I also believe that obstacles, problems, pain, suffering and roadblocks of life help us to rediscover our power.
We just have to release it by saying these two simple words: