Many of us are waiting. We’re playing it safe, not taking any risks, putting off our next big steps, the transformations we long to make in our lives and work, until the winds of global economic change die down. We’ve locked the doors, boarded up the windows, and headed down into the basement.
But the problem is that boarded-up windows not only keep the winds from coming in, they keep us from seeing out—we close off our perspective, our ability to see the big picture. The problem is that sometimes playing it safe and sticking with the status quo is the most unsafe choice we can make.
When we finally venture out from our basements and tentatively open our doors, we are likely to see a different world out there, one created and reshaped by the people who didn’t hide away, who instead realized that the only way to survive was to start planning the rebuilding process before the structure collapsed, not after.
We are likely to find that the place we held in the old world, that we so desperately tried to protect, no longer exists. And because we weren’t part of creating the new world, we also weren’t part of creating and ensuring our place in it.
Now I’m not suggesting that you just abandon everything and throw yourself out into the storm. If you are an executive or business owner, you need to start preparing to lead change by figuring out exactly what that means and how you can stay ahead of the curve of change without abandoning what already works in your organization.
If you are not financially ready to start that new business you’ve been longing to start, quitting your job today isn’t the answer. But as I’ve said before, the choice isn’t either/or. It isn’t either you stay at an unfulfilling job or you risk everything and start your business. The choice is both/and.
Stay at the job while you take concrete steps toward starting your business, going beyond just dreaming about it. Commit to taking action every day to build it, and taking into account the bigger world picture as you do: The world is undergoing an epochal shift. Build your business based on what the world needs and will need, based on likely trends as well as the changes you want to see in the world. If you build your future assuming it will look like the past, your business will be obsolete before you even open its doors. In fact, the business of the future might not even have doors, not the way we’ve always thought of them anyway.
Waiting on the world to change is the riskiest move we could ever make—not because it won’t, but because it will.
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