A training mindset can turn change to your advantage
When I was a boy, I wanted to jump like a cat. So, I went out to my family’s shed, pulled out the ladder and climbed up. I tied a string around one of the rafters. I climbed back down, stood beneath the string and looked up.
There in the shed, I began to jump—batting at the string each time.
I kept up my practice sessions until one day I touched the string. I touched it a few more times. Then I climbed the ladder again, took out my pocket knife and cut the string shorter.
As technology disrupts our clients’ businesses and even our own, I’ve found myself reflecting on that experience with the string. Yes, it’s important to challenge yourself. Setting goals, pushing boundaries, plunging yourself into unfamiliar territory—all these are disquieting, but necessary, steps on the path of personal development.
But what I hadn’t thought of as a boy in that shed, is that change wouldn’t always be my choice to make. Things that I thought were going to happen didn’t. Things that I never would have imagined happening actually did. It’s important to have a plan. But it’s just as important to understand that sometimes, for reasons often beyond your control, it will become necessary to pivot from that plan.
For client services professionals, the lesson is to stay in training. You might not always succeed. The conditions won’t always be right. But more often than not, you’ll surprise yourself. You’ll learn that new software application. You’ll build that marketing plan. You’ll call that company, the one where you have no contacts, because it would be a great client for the firm. And you’ll solve that tough problem for your client—not because you know the answer, but because you know you’ll find out.
A training mindset helps you embrace change. More significantly, however, it helps you adapt to the changes that embrace you. You may never become comfortable with ambiguity, but if you stay in training, you can find ways to cope with it—and even turn it to an advantage. Either way, one day you’ll look up and be struck by a realization. You can jump higher than you ever thought possible.