I did an interview a little while back of Nellie Akalp and she had an great childhood by being raised in an entrepreneurial family. I straight up asked her what the take aways were from having a childhood like that. She dug out four pieces of gold from her past that I thought were brilliant. These take aways are not just for those fortunate enough to be raised by go-getter parents. These ideas can be adopted by anyone. When it’s all said and done, behavior can be learned. If a child, having all the immaturity and mistakes that is inherent with that age, can learn these take aways, then how much more so can a determined adult?
I want to give you two for now and I then I will give you an opportunity to get the remaining two in a moment. Here are my thoughts on what Nellie said were her take aways.
Open to Change
When I was a child, I was amazed at the habits of crazy rabbits in the road. These were not your fluffy Foo Foo rabbits people have as pets. These were wild rabbits. They roamed the landscape at will. The also wandered onto the back roads where I lived as a child. It wasn’t uncommon to be driving down the road and see a rabbit start to cross the road as our blue and white Dodge came rolling down the road. Nor was it was uncommon for the rabbit to cross in front of our van and get safely into the opposite lane and suddenly stop, turn around and try to get back to the place he had just come from, only to bounce straight in front of our rabbit-crushing van. Dead goes the rabbit.
I know that is a sad story and I, like you, don’t like it. But I always wondered what was up with that bad choice. It was safe. All that rabbit had to do was take two more hops to the other side of the road and it would have been safe. I found an answer as to why those rabbits turned around. When the rabbit is leaving the safety of its side of the road to get to the other side, that rabbits knows one thing: where it had just come from was safe. It doesn’t know for sure that the change of scenery on the other side of the road is safe or not. It just knows that the other side of the road is not the same as the side he just come from. So, unwilling to follow through with his change, he tries to stay where it is safe.
Not willing to move forward and accept change can be just as dangerous for us. We feel like the place or circumstances we are in are good enough. Forget that the other side of the road has better shelter and better resources and a better set up. We know about here. Furtive, timid attempts to make the change can be our down fall.
Taylor Swift said if well, ““This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” That was a profound statement. Things will change. It is inevitable. Some of us tend to want to keep things as they are. One wag said it this way, The only people that like to be changed are babies. But change is coming. Our job is to be open to it and to boldly run with it. George Bernard Shaw once said: “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Chuck Smith was a pastor in Southern California. He was the touchstone of an international movement of churches. Thousands of churches world wide were started because of his influence. One line that he used to say was a powerful little quip that is not found in the Bible, but it sounds like it should. He said, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.”
Every football player knows that. You’ll see the whole team out on the field stretching out muscles and getting their bodies limber. Those players know that if you have a good range of flex in your legs and arms and back and neck and ankles that when the hit from a locomotive occurs, their body has the flex room to take it. The same is true with business. You are going to get hit with bad news or struggles. If you are too ridged, something is going to snap or break or tear.
Matthew Toren defines “flexibility in business as the ability for a company to make whatever internal changes are necessary to respond effectively to the changing outward environment, as quickly as possible.” (http://prinyourpajamas.com/keys-to-business-flexibility/) This goes hand in had with the first point about being open to change. Being open to change allows you to be flexible enough to pivot and profit from a changing business climate.
Do you remember the company called Blockbuster? That is a classic story of inflexibility. They were tied to the brick and mortar movie rental outlets. And they dominated the industry. They got big and were in most cities, sometimes with two or three stores in each city. But, they refused to flex or were too slow to flex as times started to change. Netflix and RedBox showed up. Blockbuster initially fought against these upstarts. Later, when they saw their own bottom line getting hammered, they tried to change. They tried to do the RedBox thing. They tried to do the rent through mail thing. When most consumers think about watching a movie, they do not immediately consider Blockbuster. Dan Rayburn from StreamingMedia.com is quoted as saying, “Blockbuster has no brand. Consumers stopped thinking about the brand a long time ago.” (http://www.webpronews.com/blockbuster-closing-all-retail-locations-2013-11) By the time they tried to make the move, it was too late.
I thought those were two brilliant take aways from the childhood of the entrepreneurial family. But, as you saw, they are universal. We can apply these ideas to our lives regardless of what kind of family we came from. It is just a matter of adopting them for ourselves. Again, these are just two of the four. Find the other two here: