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Shaving as a Metaphor for Change and Mindset

I’ve evolved my shaving process very little over the last 30 years. I’ve tried the various incarnations of Gillette technology but felt I was paying more for Roger Federer’s endorsement than a great shave. So disposable razors it has been for about 15 years.

Come January and in an effort to reduce waste I switched to a good old-fashioned safety razor, the type where you screw in a genuine blade. Who knew it would be so tricky? Despite being super careful, every morning brought a new cut, tissue staunching the blood and me looking like Norman Gunston.

How long to go on with this? I’m ready to chuck it in, revert to the comfort zone of disposables and hang the environment. But I read and talk a lot about growth mindset and grappling with change, so I reframe my pain as a challenge to be mastered and push on.

And surprise, the pain and blood end as the new technique suddenly clicks. 6 weeks in and whilst I still must pay slightly closer attention than before (a good exercise in mindfulness – it’s all linked!), it’s pretty easy.

This scenario is played out daily by all of us grappling with change. And we all are in some way. It’s hard when the change is self-imposed. Resentment can be high when the change is imposed from elsewhere. In a corporate setting the change may be a new process or system, a new office layout, a new approach to managing or leading from our boss, a new vision or set of values from global HQ. The logic may be communicated and explained clearly but it’s the individual that must learn and adapt.

Despite the whole of life teaching us that nothing worth doing was mastered quickly (walking, reading, languages, sport, presenting, selling, managing….), the initial failure can easily see us reaching again for the old ways. But as Stephen Covey said, “every breakthrough only comes after a break with”. We have to let go of the old in order to grasp the new

So, reflect on whatever it is you may be struggling with now and see it for what it probably is, short term pain for longer term gain. It’s the only way we grow.

Richard Wentworth Ping is CEO and owner of Wentworth People. With offices in Singapore and Australia and a network of consultants across Asia, they help clients handle change, build leaders and shape culture. Contact him on richard.wping@wentworthpeople.com.au or +61 425 262580 or visit the website www.wentworthpeople.com