You adapt, evolve, compete or die
– Paul Tudor Jones
I’ve been working on Wall Street for over seventeen years, and Disruption and change has increased exponentially. I have seen many friends get fired, be replaced or get much lower paying jobs.
Disruption is everywhere.
Here’s what you need to do to avoid being disrupted:
Let’s start with the lies we often tell ourselves on the road to disruption, lies that can cause stasis. Tell me if you have ever told yourself these lies:
- I am not smart enough to be successful
- I will fail
- I don’t have the resources to be successful
- This feels so comfortable
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is, the first know the most unprofitable thing to manufacture is an excuse
How to Disrupt yourself:
Visualize it: Successful people know what they want; they know it so well they can see it in their head. Here’s an exercise I use every morning:
- When you wake up, or before you head out, close your eyes and imagine the world you want
- Visualize living the life you want, visualize every detail, visualize what you want to occur
- Write down what you want to achieve, look at it during the day
Find role models: Find people that are already doing what you want to do. Find people who have already achieved success. Reach out to them, offer something, be helpful, give something of value. Ask questions, get advice.
Get Noticed: Information overload means that we need to figure out how to rise above it. You need to do things that get you noticed and differentiate you. Build a brand, build content, build a following. There are a number of hacks for this, but here are my favorites:
- Public Speaking: guaranteed to build confidence and grow your personal profile. Find events or conferences you can speak at. There is something at every level.
- Start a blog or find another forum to share your views publicly. Even creating a brand by sharing articles relevant to your industry on LinkedIn.
Learn: Learning is critical to differentiation. If you stopped learning ten years ago, then what’s different or better about what you know versus others. Why aren’t you just a commodity? Here’s what I have found useful for learning:
- Life long learning attitude: The first thing is attitude. You need to believe that your education isn’t complete and each interaction has something to teach you.
- Read a lot: Every successful person I know reads a handful of books a month and reads them actively.
- Ask questions: Successful people ask why and why not?
Find problems: Whether to be a good business person, a disruptor or an investor, you should be looking for problems all the time. In all cases, problems generally mean opportunity.
If you are looking to disrupt, problems tell you where the opportunities are. They give you specific problems to solve. A client’s problems tell you what you can do to help them. A business’s problems tell you what could be fixed to improve returns. Your problems tell you what you need to do make yourself a better version of yourself.
Problems are just businesses waiting for the right entrepreneur to unlock value
Pivot: Over seventeen years, pivoting has been critical to what I do. Markets change, businesses change, opportunities move on. The trick to disruption is to be flexible, to pivot when needed. Every few months look around and ask yourself if you are working on the best opportunities.
If you work at a bank, this might just mean moving from banking to sales to trading. If you are an investor this might mean moving from developed market stocks to Emerging markets. Change will feel hard, but that’s the signal to move. To disrupt yourself, in the short term you have to move in the direction of discomfort.
I hope you get to disrupt yourself.