Adapt or Perish!

My title may sound a bit harsh, but I think it is going to be my mantra for 2011.  The definition of Adapt according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is: “to make fit (as for a new use) often by modification.”  Another definition of adapt is: “to change (something) so as to make it suitable for a new use or situation.”   Synonyms for adapt include: acclimate, acclimatize, accommodate, adjust, condition, conform, doctor, edit, fashion, fit, put, shape, suit, tailor

I continue to be inspired by attorneys and other professionals who make critical changes within their practice or business model, because times are changing and they are responding to the needs of their clients today, rather than continuing to do things the way they used to in the “good old days.”

Conversely, I am compassionately concerned about those professionals who resist the necessary changes required to keep up with today’s technology, client demands, time management tools, social media strategies, relationship building tactics, etc. I’ve noticed that there seems to be a demographic when it comes to embracing change among professionals.  Be they attorneys, financial advisors, CPA’s or other professional, I’ve met many over 50 who refuse to create a website, or learn how to use social media at all much less use it effectively, and some still want to use a machine to dictate information for a secretary to transcribe.

I recently read in Forbes that workers over 55 years of age have experienced the highest rate of unemployment in 60 years. That is concerning since that population may have 15-20 good working years left, but many can’t find work.  What is going to happen to them?  Will they be the next homeless population?  What happened to their Golden Years?  Many  have done nothing wrong, and have continued to work hard as best they know how, yet find themselves unemployed or with a struggling business.  Perhaps one of the reasons is that they stuck with a recipe for success that worked in another era, but just doesn’t cut it in today’s fast paced world.

Often I present solutions to their challenges about “I don’t know how to do that”, or “I haven’t tried that”, or “I don’t have time”, but their response is often laden with about more resistance. “I don’t want to take the time”, or “I don’t have the money right now”, or “my clients wouldn’t find me there” are some of the common objections voiced.    

It takes courage to step out in faith and try something new.  Yet, I know whenever I’ve taken that bold step to reinvent myself or my business model, or adapt to new technologies and skillsets, it has always taken me to a new level personally and professionally.  Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new allows me to create partnership.  There are some things I don’t understand and don’t want to take the time to figure out, but when I ask for help, friends and colleagues step in and help me accomplish my goal and break through barriers.

I implore those who resist change, at whatever age, income level, or career type, to step into that which you fear.  Step out of your comfort zone and adapt to the new way of doing things and change your mindset. The harsh reality is that those who fail to adapt will eventually die off.  That might mean the end of a business, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or some other ending.  Yet, the good news is that life continues to move and change, whether you want to or not.  Those who will embrace what is in front of them, will find new opportunities to explore.

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Lori T. Williams is a 25 year attorney based in Birmingham, MI.  As owner of a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, Lori personally assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist to meet their needs. Click here for a pdf of legal referral services. 

Through group training and events, Lori also focuses on referral marketing strategies for attorneys and other professionals. For more information about Lori or Your Legal Resource, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.  For networking events, training programs, and workshop information, visit: www.bestlegalresource.com/events.

 

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