As I reflected this morning on the first week of school, it took me in many different directions. One stood out- CHANGE. What change means to you is probably quite different than what it means to your neighbor down the hall, best friend, or even your spouse. Change can be a POWERFUL word or a SCARY proposition. That depends on our mental model of change. You see, we all have mental models (our thoughts on what something should look like based on past experience). The perspective on change can be good or bad. I consider leadership to have self awareness of your personal understanding of change.
To me change conjurers images of: coaches turning downtrodden teams to winners, the sun rising eloquently after a long nighttime thunderstorm, a newly elected President “wowing” the country with progress. You get the picture – change is positive and powerful according to my mental model. I can safely assure you, change was not always so positive to me. When I first began coaching, change was scary, unnerving and unwelcome to a “system” coach.
On the other hand, change may stir up images of being inundated with high stakes testing, low moral among a team, or the negative impact of a storm. We all know people who fear change and get angry when it applies to them. Their mental model of change has been negatively impacted by change and is very closed to the concept.
That brings us to the end product. Growth-mindset; this word has changed my life, my career, and my health. Going through life-altering situations such as dealing with family illness, almost losing my coaching career in my most successful season due to back problems, and the unexpected death of my sister, have all caused change in my life. At the same time my positive influences such as: having a dedicated wife and parents who support me, a great mentor who taught me the value of my work ethic and “natural” leadership (as he called it), and success as a athlete and coach have helped build a #growth-mindset in my life.
Change is as inevitable-take a positive mental model and develop a growth-mindset. Change is necessary to mature, grow, and sustain a career.
Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”