20 April 2022

To disrupt or be

Disruption does not need to be a negative word – especially if you create it!

The Covid pandemic has been a disruptive event thrust upon us. We have all had enough of the havoc it has wreaked over the past two years. However, even within a grand scale disruption like a pandemic, there are opportunities for positive change. We can take back control of the narrative and put ourselves in a position to benefit from disruption. 

Covid is but one example of disruption, albeit a major one. Disruption happens in all facets of life, in our professional and personal domains. The one constant, however, is you. 

Our attitude towards disruption shapes how we handle change. It also informs how we position ourselves as change-makers, as positive disruptors capable of breaking down, assessing, and reconstituting our reality and lives. 

We hand over our agency when we only view disruption as an external force pushing and pulling us from pillar to post. At best, we become reactive to events around us, a bit-part player in someone else's story. When we give up control of our story, we lose the strategic advantage of having agency and the psychological advantage it brings. Our ego is diminished. We lose an essential element of our life force.

Disruption happens to us, but importantly, we must never forget that we can be the disruptor. 

You can be a disruptor by speaking up or doing something about a negative aspect of the status quo, whether in your personal life or the workplace. By being the shining light or the champion in the organisation who does not allow uncontrollable, external disruptions to influence or affect your mindset adversely, you disrupt for good. By not accepting the prevailing wisdom or the traditional way of doing things, you can open yourself and others to new ideas and better outcomes. 

The key to being a positive disruptor is mindfulness. When we accept our situation or circumstances as a given, as immutable, we tend to slip into sleepwalker mode. We tick boxes and follow the seemingly pre-destined path laid out before us. We park our brains and let habit do the driving. 

But you need to be in the driver's seat! Be the driving force in your life. Mindfulness means you are SELF-aware and conscious of your thoughts, situation, and circumstances. It's flipping the switch from ''what does this situation demand from me?'' to ''what can I demand from this situation?'' 

You can control this – you can control how you approach things and whether you let those things negatively or positively impact you. Focus on your attitude and how you decide to respond. Ask questions. Interrogate. Reframe your outlook. Look for cracks in the facade. Where can you gain the leverage to pry open new possibilities? Imagine new horizons. 

Opportunities are everywhere, especially if we are curious. Curiosity is integral to ensuring that you are on the front foot, awake and prepared to move and disrupt.

Adopting this attitude may require becoming comfortable with being a maverick and shaking things up. 

Extend this thinking to your business. To be a disruptor, you must:   

  • Do your competitor research and homework on potential opportunities. Stay informed to put yourself on the front foot.
  • Follow a framework: what is the market size, customer demand?
  • Understand the metrics to allow you to make an informed decision.
  • Focus on your organisation and maintain an "athletic stance" - remaining nimble/ agile is integral to pivoting quickly in this volatile environment.
  • Could you potentially disrupt your business model to get a better outcome?    

To achieve Greater Success, don't wait to be disrupted. Be the disruptor!

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