In this scary, ever-shifting world we take comfort in constants. Whether it’s something as silly as our morning coffee mug, or something as meaningful as a Sunday call home, these constants keep us sane.
But we all know the truth, change is the only real constant.
That mug is going to be taken by your office arch-nemesis, and whether it’s work or a workout (but probably Netflix), something is going to come up that keeps you from making the phone call.
As I see it, you only have two options; embrace the curveball and take a swing, or watch it smack into the catcher’s mitt. Don’t like terrible sports cliches? Let’s try again — you have two options, embrace the change or let it ruin you.
I’d recommend the former. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that becoming responsive to change is the single largest predictor of success when information is a commodity available at the click of a button and critical problem solving is the only real differentiator.
A marketer’s ability to adapt to technology, tools, and platforms that change fast, and consumers that change faster, is what will define their success (or obsolescence).
But that’s not to say it’s easy. I highly doubt anyone is going to read this blog, nod their head and make flexibility their new best friend overnight.
In my own career, my ability, or failure, to be responsive to change has either propelled me forward or cemented me still.
I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Finance, fully aware by the time I handed in my last final that arbitrage, investment models, and informed diversification were not in my future plans. A fear of trusting my own creativity led to an unwillingness to take a chance on pursuing a career in writing and it instead it became a hobby indulged far too infrequently.
Most of all, I was scared of change, scared of the unknown. I knew I didn’t love finance, but I also knew I would be an alright analyst.
But to be a writer? The notion seemed ludicrous — to pursue the vocation with my limited experience felt like a child with arm floaties deciding they were ready to step off the edge of a 40 foot high dive.
It would be another two years before I made the leap, albeit first into a journalism program to try to get the swimmies off my arms.
But here I am today, a writer. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege for my work to be published in major publications, and I get to focus everyday on creating content that provides value for some of the world’s biggest brands and businesses.
To get here required casting aside uncertainty and opposition, it required optimism, it required seeing change as part of a natural, inevitable progression that will define who we are and where we should be.
One of my favorite quotes is from a David Foster Wallace essay on Franz Kafka. While the insurmountable bureaucratic powers facing the German writer’s protagonists never did much for me, Wallace’s summary of their struggle rings close to my own:
“No wonder we cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke…. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.”
– David Foster Wallace
The endless and impossible journey we undertake in our careers is to do something that we truly believe in. While this may require compromise, it also requires that we see the inevitable change that constantly threatens to derail this struggle equally as an opportunity to conquer it.
It requires faith that this constant change is our home. Learn to love and respond to it.