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Make That Change

Jes Gignac

Make That Change.

I am an event planner first and foremost. I spent 10 years as an event planner before deciding to take on entrepreneurship.

When most people are asked, “What makes a great event planner?” The answers are usually along the lines of - organized, detail-oriented, friendly, hard-working, creative, …

Never once are the words intelligent, smart, or genius used as descriptors.

Thank you Mr. Hawking for setting the record straight.

Stephen Hawking, one of the most notorious physicists, academics, cosmologists, and author of A Brief History in Time, once stated, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

For all the event planners (and now I know, entrepreneurs) out there, let me say, “Thank you Mr. Hawking.”

You see, all my life I was told by family and friends that I was intelligent, smart and destined for success. I thought I had people fooled in my skills somehow. Clearly my outstanding SAT score of 1090, my GPA of 3.0, or the multiple accounting classes I failed in college did not warrant extreme intelligence. But now I know, they saw in me an ability that eluded intelligence. An extreme ability to adapt to change with grace, a PLAN B, and a poker face.

Then I became an entrepreneur.

As an event planner, I never thought anyone understood what I went through on a daily basis when it came to change. So many colleagues and partners would look at me, shake their heads with a look of guilt and say, “I don’t know how you do what you do.”  It was like they knew I was on a rollercoaster ride that was never going to end.

Then I became an entrepreneur and I realized, THESE people know what that rollercoaster ride is all about!

They knew the ups, downs, twists, turns, queasiness, dizziness, thrill, and LOVE that I knew.

I have met many entrepreneurs along my journey. Some of them I find extremely intelligent and can’t wait until my next chance to learn from them. Some of them, not so much.

I’ve realized that the ones I feel not so much about, are those that do not embrace and adapt to change. They don’t look at what is happening to their business, analyze it and make a change. Or in the worst cases, these entrepreneurs aren’t changing themselves to adapt to their partners, employees, competitors, and overall, world around them.

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Change isn’t easy. Love what others don’t.  

Nothing is easy as an entrepreneur, we all know that. Change can either challenge us and make us great, or threaten us and make us weak. As an entrepreneur, you HAVE to learn to not just accept change, but to LOVE change. LOVE it so much that you can’t wait for the next big change to hit you in the face, knock you down, and then hit you again as soon as you stand up.

Entrepreneurs are used to doing what others don’t, being what others won’t, and loving things others can’t.

I love change, but I understand that not everyone does. From one entrepreneur to another, I want you to love change much as I do, because it’s awesome – and it’s something that non-entrepreneurs can’t love because they don’t have to.

Here are a few ways I encourage and challenge you all to love change as much as I do this year.

Accept that change is constant.

It’s the same reason people love or hate surfing. It takes you so much time, skill and discipline to learn to get up and get moving, only to get knocked down again and again. You can never learn to always stand up because the waves and tide are constantly changing. Great surfers learn to adapt to the changing wave, accept that each ride will be different every time, and just keep swimming.

Believe that change brings something greater than the old.  

This is always the case, whether you know it right away or not. Just believe. I’ve practiced keeping a journal of times when I thought change was the most horrible thing in the world. I document monthly how my life or situation are different because of that change. I challenge you do to the same. I guarantee over time, you will realize that change brought about something greater that what it was.

Focus your energy on fostering the new, not fighting the old.

Instead of trying to fight why things changed or who made the change, focus all of your energy and time on fostering the new that the change created. If you change your attitude, you change the entire outcome of the change itself.

Trust that small changes pave the way to big accomplishments.

The Baltimore Ravens didn’t magically get into the playoffs this season because of game changing moments. Joe Flacco’s completions to Torrey Smith for touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns for their success is a result of small changes every practice, every day, every week, every minute of every game…throughout the entire season. As entrepreneurs we need to keep this thought in mind at all times. Big accomplishments are the result of small changes every single day.

Wear a poker face. Move quickly. Make a change.

Changes happen at the drop of a hat. Our reactions and decisions in those moments, as well as the perception of how we deal with change to others are what define us and our intelligence. When sh*t hits the fan in your business, you have no other choice but to keep calm, wear a poker face, move quickly and make a change– whether it be the right one or wrong one at the time. As an entrepreneur, no one else is going to do this for you. The worst thing you can do in a situation where change needs to be made is do nothing.

If nothing else, remember the words of Stephen Hawking, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

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