Monday, April 25, 2016

Disrupt Yourself

As an organizational psychologist, I gain insight from authors writing about best business and management practices more so than books describing the best vacation and retirement communities. Instead of polarizing career and retirement at opposite ends of the spectrum, I view retirement as an extension of my life's work.

That’s why I’ve decided to take one book each month and apply 5 business practices to thriving in retirement.

This month’s featured book is, Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson.

"When the status quo doesn't seem all that bad, jumping often seems needlessly risky."

If life is pretty good for you, it can take more courage to do something different, to disrupt your usual patterns and practices when you are comfortable. I'm warning you that not jumping is more risky. When people are asked what is their biggest regret, the word "not" shows up most often—chances not taken; dreams not  pursued. (Click here  to learn about an experiment in Brooklyn, NY where people were asked to write their biggest regret on a publically displayed chalkboard.)

"Constraints can be the perfect remedy if you are having a difficult time focusing or
are unable to clarify how you want to disrupt yourself."

Adding constraints is an interesting idea when it comes to retirement. Essentially we have almost no constraints. We can do anything—which I'm told, often leads to doing nothing. By creating some constraints, narrowing our focus, we are more creative and motivated to take action.

"With personal disruption, the question you ask is: To achieve my baseline level of happiness, what do I need to accomplish and what am I willing to give up in order to make this happen?"

As you bring focus and intention to your personal disruption, what is it that you want to accomplish? What would you like to erase from your "biggest regret list?" What would you like to check off your "bucket list?" Don't expect this path to be easy—but it is worth it! Commit to staying on the path—your life depends on it!

"Businesses and individuals that are disrupting themselves frequently find themselves with very little, if any, company….If it's scary and lonely, does it mean you shouldn't disrupt? It may just mean you are on the right track. In fact, if you don't disrupt when you feel you are called to do so, you'll die inside just a little."

First I encourage you to do something different—to challenge the status quo, even when you're feeling quite content. Now I'm saying that this path is going to be lonely. You're probably ready to give up on me by now—but hang on. According to Johnson, "You can always convince yourself that staying put is the right thing. But there really is no such thing as standing still."  For example, when I told friends that my husband and I were renting an apartment in a city a little over an hour from our home, many of them didn't get it. That's when I knew I was on the right track. Courageous acts often don't make sense to other people.

"If you do something disruptive today, then the probability that you can disrupt tomorrow increases. Momentum creates momentum."

Disruption is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Your confidence increases; the courage needed to take the next step comes more easily. Think back to something you did for the first time, something that took a lot of courage—maybe initiating a difficult conversation or registering for your first 10K race. Did the first time make the second time easier? That's how disruption works. With momentum, living bravely becomes a way of life.

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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