Really?! Quit Living the Stereotype!

A stereotype is a widely held, but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing (thanks, internet!) Why do we stereotype? Why are you such a stereotype? No really, you are. Some of you don't even realize it; most of you are simply in denial.

 Proof I'm not making this story up...! My wife is going to kill me for using this picture.

Proof I'm not making this story up...! My wife is going to kill me for using this picture.

Before casting that indictment - a quick story...

It was a sunny, beautiful late summer Saturday morning in New York City.  One of those mornings that young people in NYC don't usually see (because it was before 1pm!?). #millennialstereotype

My wife and I were visiting the City and decided to explore with a run. From our hotel on 37th we headed uptown towards Central Park and experienced the city waking up - shops opening, dueling smells of the previous wild night and the coffee that was brewing. We finally finished battling pedestrians and shop owners and arrived in the Park to a whole new world. Strollers, runners, horses, playgrounds... We weren't sure if these were our enemies or our allies - who has that much energy before 10am!? Why is everyone either laughing and smiling or screaming and crying!? #familystereotype

After looping through the park, we were headed back to the hotel when I was stopped. Instantly (I was going to use a hit by a truck metaphor, but it didn't seem right). At the corner of 45th and 8th, next to a bike rental rack, there was a simple advertisement. An ad for - honestly, I still don't know. I was too captivated by the words; I never looked for a logo.

Awesome, right!? 

To be clear, this post isn't about technology - it's about your mindset. What is it about the human condition that implores us to hang on so intently to the past (more on that in future posts! Yes, that was a shameless plug). I've worked with Fortune 100s, Fortune 500s and startups. With CEOs, SVPs, middle managers and doers. With women, men, frat bros and tenured, grouchy, change-hating "old people". #babyboomerstereotype  Yes, they all struggle mightily with thinking they can use what they did yesterday to be successful tomorrow. In previous generations that was possible, sure, but in the VUCA world we live in - not so much. The world (technology) is changing so quickly that we must completely transform the way we examine everything in our attempt to predict the future - or, simply be happy, successful individuals.

Right about now, you're getting annoyed (some personalities are outraged!) that I haven't explained why I think you are such a stereotype - even though you work so hard to "swim upstream" and "think outside the box" and [insert other stupid buzz words and phrases here]. I think you are stereotypically stuck in your ways. You "hate change". Don't blame me, this is science talking... Diffusion of Innovation tells us that only 16% of you are early adopters of ideas, technology and innovation. That means 84% are skeptical and want things to stay how they've always been. In the past. EIGHTY FOUR PERCENT! #science

If you haven't figured it out by now, allow me to be blunt - you can't FLIP your life, your people or your organization by "doing it the way we've always done it" and by looking backward. This isn't one of those "here are three things you can do..." posts - this is a STOP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND CHANGE YOUR THINKING plea!  

Socrates was trying to sell this in early 400 BC. His quote is in every Change Your Life seminar worldwide. While that drives me crazy and makes me want to never use it, it doesn't take away the brilliance... He said, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

So, stop it. Seriously. Stop being a stereotype. It's cliché and embarrassing. Change your mindset; FLIP your thinking and you can transform your organization. 

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To read more about how to FLIP your thinking, click here.