4 Strategies for Mastering the Whitewater

Like it or not, there is no new normal that looks anywhere near what the old normal looked like – a nice period of stability between periods of change. Change is the order of the day – not just periodic incremental change, but big disruptive change – permanent whitewater as Gregory Shea describes in his book Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change. Naturally this calls on us to develop a different approach to what our real job is – thriving in change no matter where you are on our career path. Shea uses the metaphor of kayaking and viewing this turbulent change as the challenge of the whitewater river. Each moment of each day you could be asking yourself “what choice can I make in this moment to master the skills I need to keep going in the right direction?”

  • Shift your context. This change isn’t just something to survive or ride out until the next period of stability comes along. We are in a state of perpetual change. The river is never going to stop! Shift your mindset, develop new skills, and change your expectations!
  • Get off the river and take the time to communicate with colleagues or family.  Take time to make connections outside of the turbulence. Take time up front to make connections and understand how others operate so you support each other in the whitewater!
  • Get good at the Eskimo roll.  All kayakers capsize.  You have to practice the skill of getting back up quickly.  Do you find the same things keep turning you upside down over and over again? How do you take feedback from others? How do stop doing the things that don’t keep you upright? Are you afraid to say “I need help”?
  • Nestle into an eddy and take a deep breathe.  You have to pace yourself.  You can’t wait for the river to slow down. Engage in doing something that I feeds your sense of purpose; find some time, no matter how brief, to do something which is helps you to generate the energy you need every day to handle the turbulence and the capsizing. Find a way to celebrate each rapid that you got through!

To purchase Gregory Shea’s book, Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change, click on the picture.

And if you want to have a brief strategy session with me to identify ways to develop the new skills needed for the long run down the whitewater river, click on the calendar over there to the right to set up a 30 minute appointment.

And share with me here what skills you use for thriving in the permanent whitewater!



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