#146-You’re Better At Adapting Than You Think
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. First of all, shout out to Denel, who is a great friend and a great fan of this show. Thank you for continuing to listen and giving some great support and great encouragement. I also want to announce something which is really cool. I just take a look at our stats every so often on this podcast. And one of the stats it’s pretty amazing is this podcast is now reaching and has an audience and listeners in 61 countries. That’s unreal. Wow, 61 countries. I’m super proud of that. In just over a year, we had our best day yesterday, actually the best day ever in terms of downloads.
John: So we are growing like crazy. Please share this with your friends. I love your feedback. You tell me all kinds of great stuff about how this is helpful. I want to help more people and get this message out to others. And I’m always interested in new ideas, content guesses that you can enjoy on this show, but in particular things that you might be struggling with leadership challenges in your organization or just leading yourself how to do that a little bit more effectively.
John: So, as you know, we cover a whole bunch of different topics on this and a lot of them come from you. So today, what I want to talk about is the concept of adaptability. And I get a lot of questions around, OK, how do you know how to lead an organization or when to lead an organization through major change? And I will tell you, this does not even have to do with you leading your organization. This is just even leading your own life because I know I’ve talked to a lot of people and I’ve been there myself where you knew a decision you wanted to make and you felt like that decision would prompt so much change in your life and you weren’t quite sure if you were ready for that change. You weren’t quite sure if you could handle so much disruption or just sheer change. It could be a positive change, but you just weren’t sure if you can handle all of that. And one time or maybe your family or your organization, people in your organization, your employees, whatever it is.
John: So I want to talk about, then I want to actually give a few stories. Yeah. Crazy, huh? I’ve got some stories to share. Point as always. I’ve got a few. So here’s the interesting thing. I saw a study and a guy had done a test to see if he could learn how to ride a bicycle that was actually built totally opposite of how you would normally have a bike built. So when you normally turn bike handlebars to the left, it turns the left and right to the right. We’ve all learned how to ride a bike. And once you do, you can not be on a bike for ten years and jump on and pick it right back up. But what he wanted to test was could your brain actually learn how to ride this bike if it was wired differently? And would it be quick? Would you be able to pick it up, would you not?
John: Well, what’s interesting is he did this experiment and you looked at it, videoed and it seemed like this relatively easy thing. OK, well, you just kind of reverse it in your brain, right? Instead of turning to the right, you need to turn to the left when you feel yourself, you know, go in the opposite direction. But this guy could not master it. And his whole point of this was how difficult it was. But ultimately, he did. He trained his brain to adapt to a whole different way of riding a bike. And you have to make very quick decisions while riding a bike because otherwise, you’re going to fall over. It took him eight months to figure out how to ride a bike effectively and efficiently.
John: And he actually went around and did like, you know, worked seminars. I remember hearing him or seeing him on a stage and he rode the bike stage and it was this big deal. Well, he put out a challenge to another guy. I think the guy is a YouTube guy named Mike
Boyd. And Mike figured out how to do it in like four days or five days. The same exact thing. Still took four or five days, but not eight months. It took four or five days. So, you know, my point is you figure out your body and your brain, figure out how to do things unbelievably quickly. And now eight months doesn’t sound quick.
John: But if it’s something you’ve learned for your whole life, my point is it was at his place there was a period where he’s like, you know, I just don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I can retrain my brain. But ultimately, you can retrain your brain, you can retrain your body, you can retrain anything and you adapt to different circumstances. And then this other guy figured out how to do it in four days. And I’m sure since then people have figured out how to do it in four hours and then four minutes.
John: My point is sometimes those things that we think are impossible and like, OK, I’m never going to be able to relearn something. Not only can you do it, but oftentimes you can do it even. Faster than you think you can. Another example is I read a study where they took glasses and they inverted the lens. So in other words, when you look through this glass, these glasses, you saw the world upside down, literally. You saw everything upside down. Now, I can’t even imagine putting these glasses on and trying to walk, let alone not get sick and barf. But when you did it, ultimately over time, your brain was retrained. And what they found in these people in this study is that their eyes, their brain basically flip-flopped the image.
John: So once that image was reflected into their retinas, they read that your brain flip flop, interpreted it, and flip flop the image back. So when they finally were putting on the glasses, they saw not an inverted image, but an actual normal image. Now, the crazy thing is when they took off the glasses, then without any kind of glasses, they saw the world upside down. Their brain had literally changed their whole way of perceiving and understanding and interpreting what it saw through the lens of your eyes. Unbelievable. Another great example of how adaptable we are.
John: You know, Lisa, my operations director, just told me she came back from St. Croix on a vacation and you drop your drive on the opposite side of the street. And I asked her, I said, how was that like, really difficult. Like, did you know, were you almost in accident stuff? And now, surprisingly, you kind of learn how to do it. The turns are tough, but you figure out a lot
faster than you would think. You learn how to do this. Bottom line is, we are much more adaptable and the people in your organization and the people in your life are much more
adaptable to change. And you ever think sometimes we worry too much about this? You know, I’m always amazed when we got into covid here at the gym. First, the gyms were closed and then they are open.
John: And now we’re if you’re listening, there’s a period down the road. This is now April of 2021. We’re still in covid at my gym. They’ve opened the gym. But you have to wear a mask full time, not just a little bit. Now, when this first came out, it was OK. You have to wear your mask while you’re walking around. But when you got to your weights or station or your elliptical, whatever you’re doing, you could take your mask off because it was inconceivable, like, how can you work out, like a fully intense workout with a mask covering your face. So when they came out with this rule, I’m like, you know, my lifting buddy Jeff and I was like, how are we going to do this? Like we do these really intense workouts.
John: And in fact, Thursday we have every morning, every week we just dread it because it’s this absolutely hellacious spin class that is the toughest thing I’ve ever done, I think ever. And we’re like, how are we ever going to do this? But what’s amazing is even despite the fast growth. And you can’t catch your breath, you can’t get a breath, your body actually adapts to it, it’s unbelievable. I’m blown away at the fact that we actually have learned. And now it’s kind of, you know, it’s still a tough workout. But we’ve adapted and learned how to do a really intense workout with, like, no breathing ability. I mean, a mask over your face. Think about this before covid, would you ever you’ve seen those high, you know, ultra-elite athletes trained with a mask. And I remember thinking, wow, they’re crazy. I mean, that’s nuts. It’s just a whole different level.
John: And now this is our norm. You go to the gym and everybody’s having to train. So we are in much better shape because of that. A literally hour cardio capability is much better than it would have been having we not been in this. And it was like a slow side benefit, but we never thought we could do that. If you asked this before, covid, can you imagine doing this intense, you know, spin class with a mask over your mouth and your nose? No way. There’s no I just wouldn’t even do it. It’s hard enough when you have the full capacity to breathe. There is no way, no conceivable way we could do that. Yet every Thursday morning, we do it. We make it happen.
John: So my point is and my question to you, as leaders, leaders of your own life, leaders of your family, leaders of your company, leaders of your sports team, whatever it is, what decisions are you holding off on because you are concerned about yours or you’re the people in your organizations’ ability to adapt to change? And my point is, I have been delayed as a leader and just even a human in my own life, the leader in my own life. I have delayed or not made decisions because I was overly concerned about other people’s adaptability, sometimes my own, but other people’s adaptability and my learning from that is don’t be people are very able much more so than they even realize to adapt to change.
John: So if you’re a leader, feeling like your organization needs to go in a new direction, don’t delay. If that’s true and you’re the leader and you truly believe that and you need to make a key strategic change, don’t delay because you feel like people won’t be able to make that change with you. The opportunity here is to learn how to lead through change, which I’ve done on some other podcasts on a morning. Happy to talk to you about that. But don’t
delay that decision because of others’ inability to adapt to that change. Don’t underestimate people’s ability and yours to adapt to the change.
John: If you’re in a relationship or you’re trying to get out of the relationship, don’t delay because you’re feeling like your inability to adapt to the circumstances, your new life, or whatever the case may be. If that’s truly not the right relationship, if you’re in a company and you have personnel changes to make and you know somebody doesn’t belong in your organization, don’t delay because you feel like that’s going to leave this big gap or hole in your organization. And how are other people going to adapt to the workload and everything like that? If you feel like the culture is started to slide in the wrong direction, don’t delay making the change and turning it back because you’re concerned about how other people will respond. That’s the biggest one of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make, and I think people in general with their life.
John: So I hope I gave you some things to think about with this and maybe just kind of a little self check there as a leader yourself and or maybe, you know, somebody who’s kind of caught in that situation or you’ve heard them talk about this type of thing, realize your ability to adapt to new circumstances is unbelievable. It truly, truly. So with that quick one today, hopefully, that was beneficial. Please make sure you give five stars, review, share, like comment, all that kind of good stuff. And I’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks, everybody.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!