I spoke with a dear friend recently about a proposed mutual project and to catch up on our 2017 developments. Melissa McGavick is an executive coach and someone I love to bounce ideas off of because I have the utmost respect for her. As I was updating her, I suggested that a particular role may not be available to someone like me as I can be a bit rogue. She said, “you need to stop using that word. You’re not rogue, you are a disruptor.”
Um, thanks? Am I crazy and chaotic? When I think of disruption, I immediately conjure images of roadblocks, turmoil, noise. I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant, but I trust Melissa’s expertise and knew she meant it as a positive.
A few days later, another friend who is also a coach and national speaker, Ryan Estis, posted an article titled “Disrupt Yourself Before the Marketplace Does It for You.” With a focus on anticipating changes needed to succeed within and for a company, I was intrigued by what Ryan was saying. “It’s easy to fall in love with the formula for success” but also “success breeds complacency.” Agreed. Companies like Apple have been total industry disruptors for years by staying innovative and far ahead of the curve. Now I was curious that someone would use this term to describe me.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “disruptor” as the following:
Prevents something from continuing as expected…new and effective way, innovator. NOW we were on to something.
In December, I had the opportunity to return to a full-time position with my company, W by Worth. This is a tremendous organization and a position that provides a flexible full-time career from home. It’s a job I’ve had, and a job I love. However, the position also came with limits and I was already kicking around the idea of Moxie Mama. I wanted to really tap into my creativity and was not entirely sure how it would look, but knew definitively that doing the SAME thing, taking the SAFE option was not going to move the needle. I opted to continue as a stylist with them, but step away from the business development role. (PS anyone in Western PA who is interested please let me know!)
Each January, I do an exercise to come up with my theme for the year–narrowed to a single word. In 2017, I chose the word BOLDNESS because I knew that whatever I decided required so much change that I was going to need a big dose of it. Comfort zone, exited!
Launching a blog and brand that represents ME and my values was scary as hell and completely disruptive to the status quo of my life. But it occurred to me, I have ALWAYS been the one in every organization asking WHY. Like an annoying toddler some days, I’m sure, but understanding the WHY of a company, a role, an organization is critical to getting the buy-in of your people, too. Like my friend Ryan in his article, my willingness to question “why we always do things this way” is not always considered a positive attribute in corporate America. The only way to be TRULY innovative and always challenge myself was going to have to be my own brand.
This isn’t unique to me, my friends. I had dinner with two girlfriends last night (quick sidebar–it absolutely soothed my soul to laugh with friends. Do this often). T recently left her husband of 15 years–a risk made bigger with the addition of a couple of kids. It is one thing to disrupt your OWN life, but when your kids are involved, you have to weigh it so carefully. When asked how her new single life was treating her, she responded “I’ve actually been single for over 15 years.” After cracking up, I asked her what changed? In February, T decided she had to DISRUPT her world to find peace. Her joy is evident in her beaming smile. Huge risk, absolutely. Bigger payoff–YES.
I get it, it can be TERRIFYING to make a change, especially when the life/health/career/style/image you have feel safe and comfortable. What makes this problematic is that GREAT success requires great change. Boldness. Courage. Maybe even a little crazy.
What could change in your life? Where are you complacent and comfortable but often think “this could be MORE?’