Living in a Time of Intense Speed

Speed Racer

You can almost feel life getting faster can’t you? It’s ok. People also said this in: 2005, 1995, 1975, 1955, and so on.  But now, it feels as though the speed is multiplied and magnified every day in business and specifically our careers.  How can you embrace this speed and not get swallowed up in the blitzkrieg attack of daily life?

I grew up in the 80’s. Times were simpler then. Imagine the things we did.

  • We played outside. A lot. In the summer we hit dingers at the local ball field.  In the winter we got buckets in the gym.  Maybe we found a little time for Nintendo.
  • We learned how to use and read a map.  We also got lost because sometimes we didn’t understand the latter.
  • We learned useless information out of a book to place it in our “memory” because we couldn’t “Google it”
  • Email? What the hell is email?
  • The Internet. Al Gore knew about it…apparently.
  • Big businesses succeeded. As an employee, you went to college, got an entry level job and hoped to “work your way to the top” to retire in your 60’s after years of dedication to your company with a soft pension to land on and social security to take care of you.
  • Patience. I’ve been told people had more of this “back then”, but I don’t remember.
  • Millionaires. The 80’s had Millionaires.

Sounds nice doesn’t it? The simple life.

Let me tell you how this is different today and cite reasons we all need to prepare to adapt and embrace the speed of change (Cue The Scorpions, “Winds of Change”).

  1. 24/7 Lifestyle. If you have a career that demands anything of you, you’re likely working when you get up (or shortly thereafter) and at some point when you’re at home or on the weekend. Just 25 years ago this was oh so different. For the positive, it’s also opened up many remote working agreements, and flexibility outside of the handcuffed 9 to 5. We now have the ability to make it happen from wherever you choose.
  2. Billionaires. The 80’s had Millionaires, today we have Billionaires. Do you know the difference between one million seconds and one billion seconds? One million seconds is roughly 12 days. One billion seconds is 32 years. Let that sink in. There is NO shortage of money out there.
  3. Patience. Why? I can get what I want, when I want it, from whomever will help me this instant. Have a customer service compliant?  Tweet it. If you don’t get an answer in two minutes tell me how this makes you feel? I get frustrated. I know there is someone on the other end receiving a notification. If you don’t know what Twitter is, EVERYONE under the age of 20 does, and they’ll be looking for your job in 2-3 years.
  4. Coaching Carousel.  Sports often provides excellent insight to life.  This is no different.  Tell me how many coaches were fired during or after the 2014 NFL season? I believe I count eight new coaches in 2015.  Six in 2014.  That’s nearly half of the league with a new coach in the last two years alone.  Some didn’t even make it out of the season.  Roughly 14 grown men are worth so much to their previous organizations, that they’re being paid MILLIONS to go elsewhere. Win. And WIN right now.
  5. Volatility.  Markets and businesses are moving faster than ever and this is causing more volatility. Would you like some examples?  Do you think Blockbuster saw Netflix coming? They’re gone. Do you think Yellow Cab would ever have to worry about a faceless mobile competitor Uber? How about AirBnB proving to be a big pain for competing hotels. Book retailers large and small are closing at a rate faster than cheap TVs disappear after a Black Friday sale. Every business is being disrupted in this massive time of innovation (the internet).
  6. Television. I think this is super-interesting. Think about your consumption habits just five years ago. Now look at where we are.  DVR. Netflix. TV via the Web. YouTube. Mobile/Tablet consumption (anywhere/anytime). I’m really excited to see where this will be just a few years from now. Think of paying for this utility like you do water or gas.  You only pay for what you use.  Not the super-mega-special 500+ channels. Change is coming…for the better.
  7. Education. I could rant on this one for a while and will likely do so in another post, but really think about this. What can you learn today on your own time? I don’t care if it is via YouTube, podcasts, online courses, or an ebook.  Education is all around us.  Not in a building and not for $100,000 of debt that could (and I say could strongly) ruin the next 20 years of your life and earning potential to boot. This model is changing.

I believe with all of my heart this is, and will continue to be, a terrific time for personal reinvention. In years past you may not have had the time, angle, or countless opportunities to change the trajectory of your lifestyle or career. No longer!

New tools, business reinvention and explosive company growth continue to prove this point. I firmly believe a person must adapt an intense appetite for learning as we grow quickly into the 21st century. Never let this appetite become full and opportunities will continue to present themselves.  Embrace the change. Embrace a new way of doing things. Embrace the challenge of continued growth and learning.

The world will not slow down and wait for you.

Lastly, understand this fact. No one else knows what the will happen or what plan is prefect for the future.  Don’t be afraid to take a shot. Learn, reinvent, and resurface a more dangerous individual. I remind myself of this all the time.

Remember this thought from Lou Holtz

In this world, you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow

ACTION ITEM: Change often isn’t easy, but it is constant. Work at the ability to adapt and embrace change like a muscle, it will get stronger with use. If you fear change, the fear will grow with every doubt.

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