No, I am not talking about a sci-fi reptilian of paranormal origins; but rather, a shift that reshapes your thoughts and behavior. Change happens when an event plays havoc with your routine; when you realize that your life tomorrow will not look like today. It could be as joyous as the arrival of a new baby, devastating as a natural disaster, as simple an unexpected pink-slip or in the sorrow of a last breath – and everything between. Resilience is required in shape shifting. We generally find ourselves ill-equipped in the ability to shift our thinking and respond to change.
Things come and go in life. What is new and effective today becomes obsolete and no longer useful tomorrow. Those, planning for early retirement in 2007 were scrapping retirement altogether by the end of 2008. Having the ability to survive and thrive in the face of change, you need resilience.
In his book, LINCHPIN, Seth Godin has are four approaches to resilience, in ascending order, from brave to stupid:
- Don’t need it is the shortcut to living in crazy times. If you don’t have an office, it won’t flood. If you have sixteen clients, losing one won’t wipe you out.* If your cost of living is low, it’s far less exposed to a loss in income. If there are no stairs in your house, a broken hip doesn’t mean you have to move. Intentionally stripping away dependencies on things you can no longer depend on is the single best preparation to change.
- Invest in a network. When your neighbor can lend you what you need, it’s far easier to survive losing what you’ve got. Cities, villages and tribes (with thriving interconnected neighborhoods) find that the way they mesh resources and people, combined with mutual generosity, makes them more able to withstand unexpected change. And yes, the word is ‘invest’, because the connection economy thrives on generosity, not need.
- Create backups. Not just your data (you do have a copy of your data in two or three places, don’t you?) but anything that’s essential to your career, your family or your existence. A friend with a nut allergy kept a spare epi-pen at our house—the cost of a second one was small compared to the cost of being without.
- Build a moat is the silly one, the expensive Maginot-line of last resort. Build a moat is the mindset of some people and businesses (especially big business), with isolated castles that are stocked to overflowing with enough goods to survive any disaster. Except, of course, they’re not. Because they can’t think of everything. No one can.
Imagine, the impact if we were programmed and polished shape-shifters honing our resilience to manage crazy, chaos and volatility Rather than giving into the instinct to isolate ourselves from change by hunkering down in a theoretical (or physical) barrier around our translation of the future.