Change is always hard to navigate. But it’s the only constant out there: relationships shift, priorities move, and sometimes, careers take a different turn.
The most successful people in the world are not just good at navigating change –they master it. They recognize that it’s the only thing keeping them ahead in their careers – whether it’s being their own boss or climbing the corporate ladder.
Here’s how 3 successful ones navigated theirs as they built the careers they love.
Elon Musk: Learning Transfer
Elon Musk is a trailblazer in the business world. And what makes him so remarkable is his path spans totally unrelated fields: before his ventures in space (SpaceX) and electric cars (Tesla), he got his start launching an online directory service (Zip2), then went on to merge his fin-tech company (X.com) in a deal that brought PayPal.
Musk dreams big, and the sheer difference in industries he enters is what sets him apart – and also increases his risk.
One of Musk’s strategies for lowering this risk is known as “learning transfer“. Essentially, it helps Musk learn the basic principles on a deep level, fast. He then uses this speed to his advantage.
Here’s how it works: first off, Musk breaks down his lessons – whether in space travel or finance – into abstract principles. This lets him get to the core concepts that drive different industries, but on a deep level.
Since learning transfer is defined as “the degree to which an individual applies previously learned knowledge and skills to new situations,” research suggests that this breakdown of core principles helps facilitate learning transfer better.
Secondly, he then reconstructs these core principles in order to apply it to other industries. Experts suggest asking yourself two questions: “What does this remind me of?” and “Why does this remind me of that?”
When you’re embarking on something new, training yourself to ask those questions helps you form connections between two seemingly unrelated concepts. This will ultimately help you find the patterns so you can learn faster and make better decisions.
Sara Blakely: Resourcefulness
Change is considered scary because it’s unknowable. You never what will hit you, when or at what time.
And when you’re trying to a build an empire like Sara Blakely, the hurdles can keep coming – which is why you need to use every resource at your disposal when they do.
As the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, Blakely’s journey to success has been anything but smooth. The founder of Spanx had to pull a lot of resourceful moves to get to where she is today.
When she couldn’t afford a lawyer to patent her product, she wrote her own after purchasing a textbook.
When she wanted to hype demand, she had friends buy their own products, then mailed them checks after to reimburse them.
When she was losing the Neiman Marcus director’s attention for her pitch, she invited her for a before-and-after preview in the bathroom.
The list goes on and on. The point is, Blakely didn’t know if her journey would turn out well. She was trying something that had never been done before. It required taking every challenge as it came and finding a creative way to solve it.
When you navigate the unknowable, novel ideas that work within your constraints are the most effective. Yes things are changing all the time, but as long as your resourcefulness is constant, there’s nothing holding you back.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Mental Toughness
If you’re one of Kalibrr’s millennial jobseekers, then you’ve definitely heard of The Rock from his early wrestling days. Before he shifted into wrestling and acting however, The Rock had a, well, rocky start to his stardom.
As he recounts on his recently launched YouTube channel, Johnson’s road to success had a lot of unexpected change-ups. Starting out with a football career spanning his high school and college days, he was playing for the Canadian Football League with the dream of making it to the NFL.
But instead of being offered a spot, he got injured, was offered a contract with the practice squad, and was ultimately cut.
Johnson defines this as his “Seven Bucks Moment” because he only had that much to his name when he was fired. He then moved back in with his parents, temporarily depressed and cleaning everything in sight.
After two weeks of that, he decided that he would no longer pursue football, and that he would give his all into professional wrestling – training to become the entertainer we all know him for today.
Johnson recounts that his move into the world of professional wrestling was a long shot – he had nothing to offer and he didn’t know if he would find success in it. All he knew was that he believed in himself – and that one day, the world was going to hear from him and his achievements.
This just goes to show you that no matter how much change you go through, if you consistently believe in yourself when nobody else does, then you can achieve great things.
Change may be difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible. And since it’s inevitable, the best you can do is apply these strategies, develop your own, and learn as you go along.