Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot affect change.
—George Bernard Shaw
“Change” means “becoming something different.” That’s why it requires courage—the ability to do something different or dangerous. Many of us naturally fear change because it means we no longer have stability, power, or know what to expect. Yet, change is inevitable and is now happening faster than ever. Job security is a thing of the past; baby boomers born from 1959 to 1964 worked an average of twelve jobs, and at least 25 percent of them worked more than fifteen jobs. Regardless of our field of expertise, we must constantly monitor new knowledge, technology, approaches, markets, best practices, evaluations, and legal concerns. If we don’t keep up with information and technology, we quickly fall behind, risking opportunities for job promotions, unemployment, relationships, and so forth.
The Wellness Compass postulates that professional success requires ongoing growth and learning. Growth requires us to adapt new information and practices, learning requires us to be flexible and open-minded to accept new ideas, and open-mindedness requires us to take risks to overcome the inherent uncertainty and loss of power that accompanies change. Alternatively, those who remain fearful or inflexible are either late or lagging adopters of change. Over time their frustration and relative stagnation create a bitter outlook that can undermine success. If this theory is true, then one of the first steps to maintain success is overcoming fears.
Our choice is really how quickly we adopt new practices. If it’s easy for you to change and try new things, then it is relatively easy for you to grow, learn, and adapt to our ever-changing world. If you are fearful of or resistant to change, you may not be able to reach your full potential and are more likely to get stuck in ruts while others who are adapting literally leave you behind. Our generic courageously changing goal is to be someone who can bravely overcome any challenge, who can apply the principles open-mindedness, creativity and lifelong earning to overcome any challenge, and accomplish their life’s purpose. The first part of this chapter focuses on key attributes or principles of change: courage, creativity, open-mindedness. It concludes by examining the importance of lifelong learning as a crucial component to accomplishment of your life purpose and/or professional success.
Two important activities accompany this chapter
- Activity 15.1 Foundations of Change targets readers who are not as comfortable with change or flexibility in becoming more innovative, open-minded, and creative. Travelers seeking for assistance in building their capacity to more comfortably change and/or be more flexible across any topic are encouraged to complete this activity prior to implementing a goal or utilizing the Wellness Compass Journey activities.
- Activity 15.2 Professional Development SWOT is designed as an assessment and planning tool to facilitate growth in learning and professional success. It is the capstone activity of this chapter, facilitates growth in learning and mental acuity, and utilizes a detailed SWOT (Strengths-Weakness-Opportunities-Threat) assessment to create a professional vision and commence growth in one’s life purpose. This activity is considered the starting point for anyone seeking to enhance their life’s purpose. Activities in the chapters 16 and 17 build upon the foundation established in this activity.
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 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey,” 2015, retrieved on June 16, 2015, from www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf. For statistics on jobs held, see http://www.bls.gov/nls/79r25jobsbyedu.xlsx.