For the past two years, life has been chaotic. As the saying goes, the only thing constant is change, but the last 730 or so days have tested our limits. Navigating the constant barrage of change can be exhausting. And here’s the thing, very few people like change. It’s scary!
But instead of running from change, it’s time to get curious. Curiosity reframes the conversation around change. It takes failure and criticism and embraces it as fuel for growth.
The athlete’s mindset in the face of change
As a sports agent for two decades, I saw that those in the sports world dealt with change not just on a daily basis, but on an hourly basis, maybe even a minute-by-minute basis. One missed putt; one bad swing; one double fault—those actions create change immediately. And the best of the best in the sports world learned how to adapt. They didn’t run from change; they got curious about it.
The great teams, great coaches, great athletes, they knew how to adapt and adjust to win in the moment. Timeouts, half times, watching film, all the best know that their game must evolve in order to sustain success inside of change. And success starts with curiosity about how you can get better every day.
Tom Brady’s knew how to get curious inside of change
I had Alex Guerrero on my podcast who is Tom Brady’s body coach and co-founder of their performance company TB12. In the episode, Alex shared their principles for a “Winning Mindset,” which clearly Brady has after 22 years in the league. The TB12 principles of the “Winning Mindset” include:
- Stay positive
- Always give your best effort
- Accept no limits
- Learn from failure
- Develop a growth mindset
- Above all, stay determined
I imagine these 6 principles are part of the reason Brady was able to sustain his success for so many years. Instead of running away from change, he had to evolve physically and mentally. He had to adjust the way he played as the sport evolved around him. There was always someone younger and hungrier ready to replace him, but it was Brady’s ability to stay curious and lean into change that kept him at the top for so long before his well-earned retirement last week.
Curiosity creates choices
Like Brady, curiosity can help you achieve what has never been done. It’s a remarkable tool for weeding out a major obstacle for growth: defensiveness. Defensiveness is the flip side of wanting approval. And approval can keep us under the control of others’ opinions and paralyzed by fear inside of moments of change.
When we trade defensiveness for curiosity we can become bulletproof. All of the sudden, criticism doesn’t make us feel victimized but is an opportunity for growth and adjustment. Failure becomes feedback for getting better. Letting go of defensiveness leaves room for evolution inside of change.
The other thing about curiosity is that it unlocks opportunity. When we choose curiosity over our default of fear and defensiveness it shifts the way we view change. Suddenly we see the possibilities where before we only saw the obstacles. Curiosity creates choices and if we’re prepared to adapt we can seize the opportunities it unlocks for greatness.
My challenge to you
Instead of avoiding change or letting it overwhelm you, lean into the pit in your stomach. Tell that angst in your mind that you got this! Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes! Don’t let change exhaust you, lean in and let it be your guide to new opportunities.
I challenge you to believe in your ability to evolve. The person that comes out on the other side is a better version of the person who walked in.
More on leaning into change:
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to up their game. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up to receive our newsletter, subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast, and watch her TED Talk on The Secrets to a Champion Mindset.