It’s not just the clocks that have changed at The Nest this past month, there seems to be change everywhere.
The Royal Mail postage change (which is outrageous and probably going to sink many small online businesses) has forced us to change our packaging. We are making massive changes preparing for opening our first shop. We’re putting some of our loose leaf teas into silk bags for the first time(!) We did our first training session with a gorgeous place in Melbourne that started serving our teas last week. We are moving home and office soon also.
It is all change.
One thing that can always be relied upon to stay constant however, are the dinner table debates that go on in our household every time we get together. Easter was no exception.
What started as a discussion over the origin of Easter eggs soon shifted to a debate about the relevance of religion in the modern world, especially when compared to science.
Which resulted in a full blown argument. The highlights being a short but outrageous conversation about the similarities between Jesus and Hitler (I think the main thread was they were both revolutionaries). Which led us to science and the laws of the universe v’s faith and belief.
This set me off on a rant about Evolutionary Psychology.
With everything going on at the moment it has me pondering why human beings tend to dislike change so much. Is change a bad thing?
We’re trying to build a business from scratch so by its nature we grow, which is change. And every mistake made has to be learnt from and corrected, which again involves change.
But actively making big changes to your life and your business is a peculiar thing to grasp. It often seems like a very risky and often unnecessary business, the old ‘if it ain’t broke why fix it’ mentality comes into play.
To successfully lead a business you must have the ability to embrace change and be able to react to things that happen to you and your business with a calm head.
Things like the Royal Mail postage increase, we didn’t predict or expect that change and it was completely out of our control, but we must react to it in a positive way and make it work to keep our business alive and running smoothly.
But what about building or leading a business that is more than just ‘alive and running’. In the current climate coasting along seems to be all we dare to hope for. But shouldn’t you want more than that? For yourself and your business?
That brings us back to the change question. To actively (rather than re-actively) pursue change, to seek to bring it about through your own planned actions, is a scary practice indeed. It’s scary because it isn’t a ‘natural’ human trait.
We are programmed to survive, to expend as little energy as possible, we go through the motions, the program. We’re hardwired to know that survival is a risk averse business. Don’t take risks, don’t step out of what you know and what works.
It makes sense really. We have spent our whole lives experiencing the world around us, gathering information, forming ideas, opinions, growing, molding who we are and what works for us. We develop our own identity from every single past experience… we condition our own nature, the way we perceive ourselves and the way we want others to perceive us.
We don’t like change because it forces us to reassess what we have always done in the past, it forces us to examine the evidence we have used to form our own identity.
It suggests that this evidence and ultimately our own identity is wrong, or at least that there is room for interpretation. And no one likes to be wrong. Especially about themselves.
But change can be a very positive thing. The very act of reassessing your past behavior and accepted beliefs leaves space for new ideas and experiences.
For a start up, actively pursuing change can cause massive waves and not wanting to the rock the boat that you have painstakingly built with your bare hands seems reasonable.
But you have to.
It’s survival of the fittest in the business world as well as the animal kingdom and while humans can safely adopt a risk averse strategy, being at the top of the food chain, your small startup is at the very bottom.
You simply don’t have the best genes. You have less money, less resources, less expertise and your are trying to not only survive but rise to the top of a world that is just not geared for you.
So the only option is to adopt a risky strategy of change driven by your passion, your drive and your gut instincts. Because they are the only things you’ve got going for you. And you might fail. Sadly the odds are stacked up against you and your bad genes.
But a few manage to break through. For a small few, it pays off. And that is exactly why we do it.
Keep your eyes out for the new silk tea sacs Teabirds!
Oh and check out this cool little video that we made: http://youtu.be/QGqnUUHlhb8
Love + Tea