With 2021 around the corner, many are pondering New Year’s resolutions. Some will be setting goals, but I will be making choices, taking chances, and causing changes.
The subject of this article was inspired by Alex Prewitt, one of my top Realtors (and a good friend) at Hague Partners and 72SOLD. At the end of each year he writes a “Letter from the Heart” to his friends and current/past clients.
His “Letter from the Heart” subject this year is “Choices, Chances, Changes.” It involves the choices he made, the chances he took, and the changes those choices precipitated in his life.
Each day, in small and large ways, we make choices involving chances that could result in changes. For example, every Tuesday I drive to Houston’s to meet my son, Corey, for lunch. That’s a choice that involves a chance I could crash and end up in a hospital (a serious change).
Doesn’t everything we do, from riding a bike to buying a car to starting a business to saying “I do,” involve a choice with a chance of a change? I honestly can’t think of any choice, no matter how small, that doesn’t involve some degree of chance, with the possibility of change. Even routine choices like shaving (cut myself), taking a shower (slip and fall), having a meal (get food poisoning), or sending an email (look like a dunce with misspellings) involve some degree of chance with the possibility of change.
In last week’s article, I shared my observations about some Covid-caused changes in the way we live that may endure even after Covid is gone. One of my observations was that preventing people from going to fitness centers skyrocketed the sale of home exercise equipment, which may cause fewer people to go back to their gyms when Covid is gone.
What I didn’t observe is how smart entrepreneurs in many areas, from restaurants to gyms, are leveraging creativity to make choices that give them a chance to propel their business when it otherwise might sputter.
One example is Tom Hatten, founder of Mountainside Fitness. I’ve heard recent KTAR radio commercials introducing Mountainside’s virtual home workout program. I checked it out on their website. It looks like you can do everything from receiving personal fitness coaching to participating in group yoga classes from your home on your computer.
I don’t know Tom, but I respect that he recognized that more people have home exercise equipment, and rather than bemoaning it, is offering a way to make it work better for them.
Have you heard of the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen? He made the first crossing of Greenland on cross country skis in 1888. Obviously that was a personal choice of which he once observed: “I demolish my bridges behind me – then there is no choice but forward.” No doubt, the strength of your resolve increases the probability your choice will work out the way you hope.
When assessing the pain that could result from a choice, consider the difference between “want” and “need.” Do you just want it, or do you absolutely need it?
Do you just want to lose weight, or do you need to lose weight? Do you want your idea to work, or do you need your idea to work?
Mark Twain was insightful as to the importance of the right mindset: “Necessity is the mother of taking chances.”
Change is where it can get tricky. When people say they are “making a change,” they really mean that they are making a choice and taking a chance to affect a change. But therein lies a variable. Are you trying to change something externally (around you) or internally (within yourself)?
A suggestion on each:
Internal – From getting fit to being kinder to others, I see internal change as being almost completely about commitment and discipline, with minimal risk of a bad result. Your upside can be huge if your commitment is complete and your discipline concrete. Jack Welch has a fun quote that can be related to internal change: “Change before you have to.”
External – While commitment and discipline are key to increasing your probability of success, there is often additional risk when trying to precipitate external change. Ask the founders of Amazon, Uber, Apple, and other companies that disrupted their industries. You’d better have thick skin because there are always those who will see the status quo as the tried and true way to go. Woodrow Wilson said it well regarding precipitating external change, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”
If, like me, you believe in the choice, chance, and change outlook to life, consider being guided by this sage advice:
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Gail Sheehy
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -John F. Kennedy