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Be A Deliberate Disruptor And Stay Realistic And Optimistic

Written by: Rosalyn Palmer, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Back at the beginning of January, returning to my regular Pilates practice, I signed into the Zoom class to hear chit-chat as participants shared their Christmas stories and New Year greetings. One sentiment that was echoed several times went along the lines of, “It was nice but all the decorations are cleared away now and I can get back to normal away from the disruption of it all”.


What a strange way to describe a time of goodwill and joy, a time to rest and reset. Perhaps for you it is not Christmas but Thanksgiving or The Chinese New Year or Diwali but no doubt there will be some special time of the year that you spend weeks preparing for.

Those in my Pilates group who were calling the Christmas break disruptive clearly also love the time of year. So, it is bittersweet.

Really it is about habitual behaviours versus change. We are creatures of habit. Habitual equals safe and we are hardwired in the primitive parts of our brains to seek safety as this equals staying alive.

We function best as pattern machines and disrupting the pattern can be akin to a feeling of death. That is why, if you have a pattern of behaviour or thinking that really isn’t working for you, it may take repeated attempts to break free of it. Think about quitting smoking or alcohol for starters.

Sadly, pain can be familiar. Feeling unworthy can be familiar. Being abused can be familiar so unhealthy patterns get repeated as you will subconsciously create them as the familiar pattern is, well, familiar.

However, making yourself familiar and thus comfortable with change is key to growth. Breaking familiar patterns is essential to dismantle accepted or familiar norms and thus create different futures.

The kind of people who change the world is disruptors. There can be those who disrupt the world in a negative way, think of warlords and megalomaniacs, or those who through their disruption will leave something better.

Even when events are disruptive, Covid, for example, there will be some positive elements to the change. There will be people who create positive change and use the opportunity to dismantle what went before and put something better in its place. People who are forced to pivot or change and who often amaze themselves in the process.

Many innovations came out of World War II in this way.

In 1928 Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin but it wasn’t until World War II that its use became widespread. Calling it ‘a race against death’ the U.S. War Department put its resources into manufacturing it on a large scale as they recognised how it changed the survival chances of injured fighters. Indeed, the U.S considered it so essential that prior to the D-Day landings it produced 2.3 million doses of penicillin for the Allied troops.

A similar story can be told about blood plasma transfusions. During World War II, Charles Drew, a U.S. surgeon, developed a system for blood transfusions using freeze-dried plasma as it had been established that unlike blood with its different groups, plasma could be given to anyone regardless of their blood type.

When I was at university in the ‘80s one of my housemates was studying business and computers. She took us to see a massive room full of computers, or it may have been one large computer the size of a room. I forget. Whichever it was, it didn’t feel like it would catch on. If she had told me that less than 20 years later, I’d be walking around with a powerful computer in my pocket I’d have had a hard time believing her. Someone had that vision and someone disrupted the accepted norm that computers should be massive along the way.

Think about Uber that doesn’t own vehicles or Air BnB that doesn’t own hotels. Both were disruptive innovators (a term coined by Professor Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School).

I lived formerly in London UK for 20 years. The black cab drivers held mini-car drivers in contempt as they didn’t have The Knowledge (knowing all the streets in the Capital) or drove shoddy cars. As a passenger, I didn’t feel safe with the latter and would always use a black cab. Yet, the last time I jumped into a black cab in London the driver told me he was retraining as a plumber because Uber and satnavs had wiped out their trade.

Do you remember going to Blockbuster on a Friday or Saturday night, taking home a couple of videos, and then putting them back in the dropbox on Monday? Or failing to remember to take them back until the following Friday and having to pay about ten times the rental free as you had accrued a daily late return fine? Now as part of my subscription, or for a fee that is smaller than that fine, I can watch any one of hundreds of movies on demand via my TV. In the comfort of my home.

I like to think that someone, when handing over their fine at Blockbuster, decided that enough was enough and that there must be a better way to rent movies. That they were the kind of people who has the passion and imagination and the guts to create something new when such a thing didn't exist before or had been done in a different way for years.

Is being a disruptor something that takes special skills? Is it something that ordinary people can do?

In the 90s I discovered Carolyn Myss. Listening to her recording of ‘Spiritual Madness’ something really struck me. She spoke about how often it is a seemingly ordinary member of the community doing everyday things that creates the butterfly effect that positively impacts the whole community.

The emphasis was on the fact that you may not even realise the effect you are having.

Like George Bailey in the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, you may need an angel, or at least the gift of perspective, to realise just how much you have impacted positively those around you. We are all capable of this sort of disruption.

To get familiar with it you can start small. Start by stopping resisting change or seeing things that are different as chaotic. Change your vocabulary about what is happening.

If you focus on how disruptive anything is (or even label a lovely time of year such as Christmas as ‘disruptive’) then it will overwhelm you and have a negative effect.

Be a deliberate disruptor and stay realistic and optimistic. Realistic, optimism can create a powerful mindset. Because you're being realistic about where you are in your life right now, while still maintaining an optimistic point of view.

You will win at your life if you believe that you can handle what's on your plate and change your view and vocabulary about events. Even different, messy, occasions such as Christmas or moving into a new home. This allows you to instead feel excited about the positive changes that you are embracing.

Welcome the disruption.

Disrupt your norm.

You will be amazed at the possibilities it can open you to.

Follow Rosalyn on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit her website for more info.


Rosalyn Palmer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Rosalyn Palmer is an award-winning transformational coach and therapist and one of the Brainz 500 Global 2021 list of Companies, Entrepreneurs, Influential leaders and Small business owners recognized for their entrepreneurial success, achievements or dedication to help others. Her work combines advanced rapid transformational therapy with clinical hypnotherapy & NLP-based coaching to create deep desired changes. She works 1-2-1 with clients and via her group courses including the 13-week The Realigned Leader and The Realigned Life transformations. As best-selling author of the award-winning self-help book: ‘Reset! A Blueprint for a Better Life’ and three other Amazon bestsellers, Rosalyn makes emotional wellbeing accessible to all. She enables high performers to live their best lives that feel as good inside as they look on the super-successful outside. Rosalyn draws on extensive business experiences - in top London PR & Marcomms (‘retiring’ as a self-made millionaire at age 40 after a stellar career helping clients including Tony Robbins and Edward de Bono) and the insight of being conflicted when the outward vision of your life doesn’t serve you. Added to this are her deeper values and life experiences born from many challenges including cancer; redundancy; bereavement; menopause; divorce; financial loss that broke her open to finding out what really matters in life and how to live a life of balance and joy. As a natural communicator, she is the well-being expert for radio show Girls Around Town, has a monthly newspaper column, and two podcast series: Monkey Business and Life Alchemy.



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