Actually, I finished this book yesterday. I had so much enthusiasm & energy to write the review yesterday only. But, I wanted to wait, to analyze & figure out what I loved the most about the book. So, here we are.
I bought this book at the right moment I would say, I was taking a leap of faith in my professional career, willing to take more responsibilities, changing an industry, and also was moving back to home. There was a nervousness this time, I was moving back with my choice, not because of any circumstances, not because of a reason but because I wanted to. Basically, things are a bit scary when you don’t have someone to blame when things go wrong.
Here I was, two position up, leading a pack of social media executives and trying to make a space in my own city with all my heart. I was looking for something which would make sense and help me to calm a bit. And, here it was
When I started reading the book, the only information I had was that this book was in every ‘10 books you should read in regard to your professional life’ article and a little bit of stalking I ended up doing of the writer, so yes.
The book talks about disruption in personal life & professional life. Disrupt, generally, means – drastically alter or destroy the structure of. It usually takes place when you are changing a job, shifting to another industry or trying to figure out what you want to do in life next which involves risks.
She talks about disruption with the help of S-Curve which was developed in the 80s. The book contains 7 chapter – 7 steps towards disruption and each one contains examples of success, failure, inspiration based on the S- Curve.
The disruption starts with taking the right risks, it means that knowing the job which needs to be done, where you figure of the problem, distinguish between competitive risk & market risk and then get on with it. She says, ‘when you make the decision to start something new, first figure out the jobs you want to do. Then position yourself to play where no one else is playing’. The story of LEGO, from struggling and $800m in debt in 2003 to world domination now. They took the right risk and it paid off.
She talks about playing with your distinctive strengths, to figure out what you are good at, what are the strengths & traits which define you and contribute to your success. You can figure that out by asking few questions, such as:
What skills have helped you survive? What makes you feel strong? What exasperates you about others? What made you different, even an oddball as a child? “As a child, we do what we love to do – even if it makes us an oddity,” said Johnson. What compliments do you shrug off? We are often oblivious to our strength. What are your hard-won skills? What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
The perfect example of this is J.K Rowling when she put her focus on doing the one thing she was really good at, writing. And, the world knows the history.
The most important part of the book is when it talks about embracing constant constraints which are very vital to find your strengths and when it comes to decision making. We often face constraints in terms of lack of money, lack of experience, lack of knowledge and there is a huge gain in embracing it and making it a vital role in your growth. Often, a constraint gives a big idea. PayTm success during a demonstration is the biggest example, people’s contain about not able to use hard money became a blessing for the company, which they used brilliantly.
We must battle enlightenment to see a clear picture. When we believe we are owed something by life, deserving more than the person to our right or left, we get caught in a vortex of narcissism that makes personal disruption impossible. There are different types of enlightenment such as cultural, emotional, and intellectual. You should not think that you are entitled to something because nobody likes such person.
She tells us that it is okay to step back, it is better than pushed back. There is a moment in your professional life where you the next event – such as when you have hit a saturation point, your work does not make you happy, your productivity has gone down. And, to fix it, you must step back. I have known people who have taken a leap in their carriers, started fresh and have done really well. I could think of one example from Korea, Jang-geum (fl. early 16th century) was reputedly the first female Royal Physician in Korean history, she started off as a royal cook and later became the third highest-ranking officer in the Court under King Jungjong rule.
It is alright to accept failure, to give its due. It is something which was taught to us kids, that coming first is always the goal, if you come second or third, it will always make your valueless. We devastate when we fail at something, sports, exams, relationships, jobs, but we often forget that if you let a failure become a referendum on you, the millstone of shame will drown you and your dreams.
And, finally be discovery driven, figure out what you love, if there are innovations, discoveries in that field and play where no one else is playing. For example, we see many companies who change their strategy after a new trend, innovation or opportunity. Research shows that 70% of all successful new businesses end up with a strategy different from the one they initially pursued. Oprah Winfrey needs no introduction, she is the example of how you make your failure into success and rule the world like a queen.
This book made me think about my decisions, carries choices and gave me a personal enlightenment. It was great because I could relate to each and every chapter with one incident or the other of my life. I started as a journalist, now heading a social media team for the agency, AmuraTech in Pune. Now, I know how to control my emotions, what are my strengths and how to channelize my energy to achieve efficiency and triumph in what I do.
It was a delight to read this book and if you are reading this then you must read the book too.
Whitney Johnson was recognized as one of the world’s most influential management thinkers in 2015 and was a finalist for the Top thinkers on Talent at the biennial Thinkers50 ceremony in London. She is best known for her work on driving corporate innovation through personal disruption.
Cover pic: whitneyjohnson.com
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