How we see the world and how others see the world is often different and contrasting. This is normal. The many times the difference between success or failure can boil down to humility and empathy.

The way you’ve learned to see the world and live within it is a result of your life’s experience. And it is these experiences that we bring with us to the table when we make important decisions. This is true for anyone. However, many of today’s leaders may already face a dilemma where their experiences work against them when defining a strategy to compete for relevance in the future. Disruptive technology is not natural to them, yet it is like air or water to growing legions of connected consumers.

Many of us are old enough to remember what it was like to have to get up from the comfort of a sofa to manually change the channel on a television. We recall the days of a DOS prompt or playing Pong on a bulky machine. Maybe your daily workout was carrying a huge bag that held your portable cell phone. And these people are only in their 50s!

Like most, we learned how to use every technology that became disruptive over the years…even if we didn’t understand it at first. We learned how to step out of our comfort zone and came to realize that repeatable processes became our new comfort zone.

Everyone of Us Expanded Our Comfort Zones

Today’s Millennials and Digital Natives grew up differently. While the majority of us lived an analog-first lifestyle for many years, today’s generations never lived outside of their digital comfort zone. While the majority of us consider screens foremost as displays, Digital Natives touch, pinch and swipe the screens and expect a reaction. While we’re trying to catch up, they never knew anything else.

This example alone should communicate how we can’t solely rely on our experiences to compete for relevance or the future. To make informed decisions about the experiences we have not yet felt or embraced requires the ability to see the world through the eyes of another and to walk along the path of those individuals we normally do not follow.

It’s easy to say or let others say that change isn’t in your job description or comment with “that’s not my job.” Frankly, we have no choice. Someone must lead the change that’s occurring.

That’s where you come in.

Change Is You

This is the time when you must question everything.
This is the time when you must learn.
Innovation begins here. Innovation begins with you.

You are the change agent.

Nobody said it’s not easy, but it’s within your ability and reach.
Nobody said it doesn’t take courage to do what others will not.
It requires your vision to see what others can’t.
It requires your empathy to feel what others experience.
It requires persistence to overcome resistance.
In the end, it requires you.

Where you are and where you need to be is separated only by your vision, as well as your actions and words.
Enjoy this moment. Enjoy with it other change agents at the upcoming THINK 13 conference.
And then do something about it. Lead change. Build a culture of innovation.
If in doubt, begin.