The BIF Summit has no theme beyond presenting remarkable stories transformation. Participants themselves discover patterns, aha's, and insights that make sense for them. That's what happens when you put stories of transformation together with curious people from all walks of life and many different fields.
I'm sharing my top 10 insights from BIF2016 in a series of 10 stories, each with five videos of stories that led me to that insight. Many more stories touched on this subject, so you might want to explore the entire set of BIF2016 videos.
Insight: You must reinvent yourself before you can transform your communities, your jobs, your companies, or the world.
"In this rapidly changing world, reinventing yourself is the most important skill to develop," said BIF founder and chief catalyst Saul Kaplan as he kicked off the first day of BIF2016. Anyone who thought this was an exaggeration soon found out otherwise.
Here are the stories that spoke to me on personal transformation (in no particular order).
Own Your Transformation
Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself, says the speed of disruption has not only increased for businesses, but for individuals as well. She illustrate personal disruption using the same S curve that Clay Christensen used to illustrate business disruption in his classic book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. Johnson's message: We need to learn how to handle the S curves of our careers. We need to learn to jump to new challenges that make use of our strengths and talents — and to do so before plateauing or falling off the curve.
Find The Tools In Your Own Life
Robert Rivera's The Good Life Organization catches young people who slip through the cracks of our educational and social systems. He catches them with hip-hop, storytelling, videography, and personal connection. Rivera pulled himself out of those same cracks himself, in a journey that took him from “dope dealer to hope dealer.” He uses hip-hop to reach kids, because hip-hop is their history. “It’s important that they know it and claim it, and build off that foundation," Rivera says. “If our kids today can recapture that narrative, realize their link in the chain of tradition, it’s not so farfetched that they might have the idea for the new Facebook.”
Find Strengths In The Things You're Not Good At
Writer Kare Anderson turned her extreme shyness turned into an asset that transformed her. That taught her that “the flip side of a gap is a strength you've been honing accidentally.” For her, the key to personal transformation is finding and harnessing the talents that hide on the “flip side” of what we consider our flaws and faults. The way to discover these talents you can't see is to become accessible to others, listening closely to them, and understand what they see in you that you can’t.
Everyone Deserves a Second Chance
Coss Marte’s philosophy: Work with what you have, even if what you have includes a stint in prison. After Marte's drug-dealing career landed him in prison, he created a fitness program he could do in his cell and lost 60 pounds while serving his sentence. Once released, he used his fitness program to start the successful ConBody fitness center. Having created his own second chance, Marte spreads second-chance opportunities to others like him. His employees are also formerly incarcerated individuals who are searching for the good in themselves and in the world.
Turn Off Your Autopilot
Dave Gray has only two rules for change: 1) Turn off your autopilot, and 2) do something — anything — differently than you have before. Gray, author of Liminal Thinking, says “We can't change the past, and the future doesn't exist yet. So we only have now.” Small, conscious changes to our thinking that we make here and now can help us disrupt ourselves and transform ourselves into change agents — something we can’t do by studying the past and planning for the future.
Other stories in this series: