How the power of disruption can take you to the next level

I’m overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude right now. I’m also overwhelmed with this topic. One of the greatest gifts that Marriott International gave me was that it put me in an environment that rewarded people for completely disrupting themselves. Have you ever heard that term? Professor Clayton Christensen from Harvard Business School coined this term called disruptive innovation.

Don’t be a Blockbuster Video

To simplify it, think about Blockbuster Video. Netflix was the disruptive innovation that put Blockbuster out of business. Polaroid cameras, you know back then it was instamatic. Now we all take pictures on our smartphone and it completely made Polaroid obsolete. Well, not really because they’re kind of cool and sexy and you can get them in different colors now, but the point being is that disruptive innovation was the term and concept coined by Professor Christensen that said,

…there’s a kind of a low-end product that then gets replaced by a higher-end one. When that happens, the new concept has at least six times higher levels of success with that 20 times greater revenue streams from it. Disruptive innovation, you completely disrupt something and then there’s this Innovation.

I remember when I took the job with Marriott out of college, I went into HR, I got my degree in HR and you know $6 an hour wasn’t making much money, but it was my dream job and it was Monday through Friday 8 to 5 and I loved it. Six months into it, I find out that in order to be a Director of Human Resources, I have to leave my comfort zone and completely do something different that I’ve never heard of.  I decided to go into food and beverage because that was open then.

I went into the bar world and I was managing a sports bar. So, suddenly now my days are Tuesday through Saturday, I go in at 1:00PM in the afternoon and I’m working until 2AM. I’d spent a lot of time on one side of the bar, never behind the bar myself. You get what I’m saying? That was the first time that I disrupted myself in order to reach a game or achieve something new.

I would then go on to disrupt myself multiple times. I never thought I’d leave North Carolina, but because it was a task force opportunity, I moved and then never got home. Three months, three months, three months, I just kept going. I’m a little country girl from Podunkville North Carolina and I moved to Manhattan in the big city where I saying hi to everybody on the street and people thought I was crazy. The point is that throughout our lives we make educated decisions and power decisions to disrupt ourselves to achieve some new level that we want to get to.  We do it on purpose with purpose and with intention typically right?

I want to suggest today that this virus is causing so many changes, shifts, and disruptions in people’s lives significantly. It just wasn’t our choice. However, it may be the catalyst that we all needed to succeed and go to some higher level. I just want to suggest that we perceive things differently, that Marriott environment gave me the opportunity to change my very perception of myself. What I could do, what I was capable of, my boss one day turned around on the jet bridge walking to my first professional business trip flight. She turned around and handed me her first class seat ticket and took my coach ticket. You know, I can’t talk about that without crying. In that second and in that unselfish gesture, she completely disrupted my feelings about myself and my possibilities. She thought I was first class.

I was disrupted in that moment. This virus has disrupted so many of us and I want you to see it as potentially what if just like in business, this is the opportunity to multiply our levels of success exponentially. To multiply our levels of income and financial gain exponentially and up the level of impact we can have on other people and their lives. What’s keeping us stuck in this is that we didn’t choose. It wasn’t my choice. It wasn’t in my control. It was out of my control. I’m not sure I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

When in doubt, here are 5 tips you can use

Let me give you five tips as I started thinking of this today. Five things that that helped me embrace this disruption when I didn’t think I could do it, but then it absolutely without a doubt without question led me to where I was supposed to be. I just didn’t see it at that time.

Number 1.  Assess where you are and where you want to be. You have to do that. You have to know where you are and you have to be able to distinctively say, “Where is it that I want to be?”.  Not the job you want to be in but other things, think bigger. What level do you want to be? What do you want your days to look like? What do you want your life to feel like? Go big or go home, it’s time to put the pom poms down and get on the field. Let’s start playing. So, assess where you are and in order to get to that place where you want to go, you’ve got to play to your distinctive strengths. You cannot possibly play to your distinctive strengths if you don’t know what they are. That’s number one.

Number 2. Recognize that this whole disruption and innovation is all about discovery.  Something like 90% of successful businesses, the strategy that they started with, what they thought was their whole foundation of their success and what ultimately LED them to be successful was not due to their original strategy. Columbia University proved that 90% of businesses that were ultimately successful had to abandon their initial strategy and adopt a brand new one that was completely unexpected and it came from a process of creativity of discovery of being open-minded. I want you to abandon fear and uncertainty right now and replace that with curiosity, creativity, and really think outside the box.  If you have a friend that does this, phone them, call them, call me. So, that’s number two, recognize it’s a discovery process, stop being afraid and just get curious.

Number 3. Embrace constraints. There are limitations on all of us. I would like to think of constraints as boundaries that we don’t have to create ourselves. How many of you have trouble creating boundaries? You’ve heard you need to set boundaries. Yeah, I struggle with it. So, hey the constraints now and in this world, I’m operating in, guess what, they’re built in boundaries. They are simply things that I need to recognize there are realities I can’t do anything about and I need to be more creative to figure out how to accomplish what I want to accomplish within those boundaries. My whole well-being for the last ten years was based on doing live events, hugging, kissing, shaking hands, and just loving on teams in person. Well, suddenly that’s obsolete. Now what?  Embrace the constraints and operate within them. It’s okay. It’s not going to kill us.

Number 4.  You have got to be patient for a lot of things right now, but I want you to be impatient about finding small wins. Get quick small wins. Things will turn around and you have to be patient for that, for them to ultimately prove to be fruitful and get to the other side. Just look for small wins each day.

Number 5. More important than ever, just start. One step forward, start today. Procrastination is a form of perfectionism. You’re not lazy. You haven’t lost all your initiative. You’re probably a trapped perfectionist in the midst of a highly imperfect, highly chaotic, and highly uncertain world right now. Just start today and do one little thing. Go for practice, go for forward motion, go for different, but don’t go for perfection.

Now that I’ve thought about it, I want to add a bonus one. If you do those five great than here is extra credit. Battle your thoughts of entitlement and victimhood if you’re having those. I hope you’re not, that’s why this is extra credit and probably why I just thought of it right now. Most of the people that I interact with they do not possess a victim mentality. They do not possess this thought of, “It’s everybody against me. Everybody has an easier time than I do.”. They don’t even have that.

However, if entitlement thoughts are creeping in, if victim thoughts are creeping into your head for maybe the first time in your life because this challenge were facing is so unbelievable. Perhaps some of you are feeling a victim thought process or mentality for the first time in your life and that doesn’t feel right. Then, guess what that does to us high achievers? The gerbil in the wheel, procrastination. That’s our stinkin thinkin.

So, battle those thoughts of entitlement that, “Oh I got so far and then this virus pulled the rug out from under this.”. This could be the greatest thing that ever happened to you. This could be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thank you for all of this. Thank you.