How To Know When It’s Time To Blow Everything Up And Start Over
Being a dad of two kids, I feel like I have a special relationship to disruption. It seems that my kids have a special affinity to create disruption. Whether it’s a argument over who used the last of the toothpaste or a debate on who’s job it is to do the dishes, disruption seems to be a familiar companion as a parent. Disruption often blows apart any of my expectation of how parenting and sibling relations might go, or how we think it “should” go. Kids are great at reminding us of all the predictable patterns we get in and expectations we have.
I define Radical Disruption as the willingness to blow up a part of your life or business that is not working. It’s either stagnant, unacceptable or drains the energy from you. Likely you’ve been putting up with this part of your life for an extended period of time. Radical Disruption is the willingness to blow it up, level the foundation and rebuild from the ground up.
I regularly support clients with situations they’ve been putting up with for years or decades. The patterns of the past are hard to break and are often based on “shoulds” or stories of how “it’s always been this way”. Radical Disruption is a great way to sweep the foundation clear so as to build something new.
I think we should incorporate disruption more often. Disruption is a valuable and powerful tool and incredibly effective when appropriate. Disruption exists outside of what’s predictable. A disruptive idea has plenty unknowns, and the unfamiliarity leaves us standing in a new place with a new perspective. Disruption has the unique quality of getting us outside the predictable results of the past. It gets us outside our expectations of how things will go, and forces us to “be” in the moment. Disruption forces us into being present RIGHT NOW because disrupting the status quo means leaving the comfort of the predictable and the past. And it creates a wellspring of new growth (see the above image of Yellowstone after the devastating “Radically Disruptive” forest fires of the 90’s).
And disruption has its place. It is an excellent catalyst for creating new perspectives, new actions and new data. Stagnant? Use it. Not getting the results you want? Try it. You may be quietly reading this and have already identified the two or three places in your life where some form of Radical Disruption would be valuable.
However, while disruption is effective in some places, it has a dark side (doesn’t every all-powerful tool have a dark side?). Radical Disruption is not useful for creating consistent patterns of growth or predictability. Being uninspired in your exercise workout is not a call for a disruption to stop working out. If the new marketing program your business implemented is not getting the results you were expecting after three weeks, this may not be a reason to abandon it.
Radical disruption is a game-changer. It is for very specific situations. It will radically change the landscape, and has its limitations. It’s the sledghammer in your toolbox. While an amazing tool for demolishing a wall, it’s not good at tightening a screw or applying paint.
Consider you may find yourself in one of these two camps about Radical Disruption:
- You find yourself uncomfortable with disruption. You love your systems, your predictability. Even if it is at the cost of getting the results you want in your business and your life. For you, disruption is chaotic, unpredictable and puts you at risk for not being able to control or handle the change. You’re willing to put off change months after it’s obvious that the “writing is on the wall” that the current situation is not producing the desired situation or results.
- You are a big fan of disruption. You use it more frequently than not. It is exciting and explosive, energizes some people while mystifying others. For you, disruption as a tool has you blowing up systems, plans and programs prematurely because the results are not looking as promising as you expected. And you, a big fan of the exciting and bold, can’t be bothered to see if there minor adjustments or allowing a pattern of consistency to develop which would shift the results and get the plan or program back on track. The current energy and excitement are more important than creating results.
Use the above to get some insight about your inherent tendency towards disruption. Now that you understand where you are in the pattern, let’s look at the situations in your life.
To decide if the Radical Disruption (RD) tool is the right tool for your current situation, consider the following: In your current situation…
- Why is THIS situation so important you’d consider a Radical Disruption?
- How is your day-to-day perspective on impacted by the current situation?
- What level of distress/frustration/discomfort has this situation created in its current state?
- Are you willing to continue putting up with the current impact of an undesirable situation?
Disruption requires support. Thinking in a new space requires letting go of the patterns that has you living your current circumstance. Finding MasterMind Groups, a Coach or the support of a committed outsider of your situation is critical to creating new structures for success.
Radical Disruption: Reinvention that blows things up and changes everything starting *right now*