How shedding old skins sets you free for what’s next

Shedding Old skins

In my teen years, I was steadfast in my desire to avoid working in an office. It’s why I refused to learn to touch type at school.

But after University, my path changed, and I ended up working in an office. I didn’t have to type because our Assistant was the only person with a computer. When we all got computers, I started wishing I hadn’t been so stubborn and had learned to touch type in school!

However, I adapted and am now a quick four-finger typist.

After a very long career identifying as a public servant, I transitioned to running a private business.

It’s been a process of continually noticing what from that old identity no longer serves future me and shedding those layers like the layers of an onion.

I’ve grown new layers that better serve running a business, but the values at the heart of the onion have remained unchanged.

Putting on blinkers and resisting those changes would have been personally detrimental.

Well-known businesses like Kodak, Blockbuster and Nokia tried to maintain identities as their environment changed and look what happened to them.

If you want to avoid a similar fate, take heed of research studies that show identity-driven thinking can lead to:

  • biased perceptions and expectations and
  • making overconfident predictions about success.

It’s a choice between clinging to who you used to be, or keeping an open mind, and being curious about how you behave and think and why that’s tied to your sense of self.

Figuring that out is important, but it’s not enough. You won’t adapt unless you have the courage to relax your preconceived sense of self and experiment  with who you need to be next.

Remember that it’s good to have a vision of the future, but how often has your exact vision become a reality?

There’s an old Yiddish saying, “Man plans and God laughs”. And it’s likely the coming years will bring lots of laughter (you may feel like crying when that happens).

However, remember although it may not feel like it at the time, laughter is good for you in many ways. It stimulates your organs and produces endorphins – it’s energising.

You can start with keeping an open mind and observing what’s happening in the broader world.

Notice how you react to what’s changing around you and ask yourself, ‘Which of my behaviours and ways of thinking are no longer serving me and others?

Then, pretend you’re going into a dressing room in a fashion store. Try different behaviours and ways of thinking to see which ones fit the emerging future.

Treat them like clothes you style differently, depending on the situation, and decide which should become wardrobe staples and which are fashion faux pas.

And like any good fashionista, have some fun with it and keep an eye out for emerging trends!

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