I recently read two things that gave me the idea for this post. The first one is a summary of Disrupt Yourself by Whitney L. Johnson. The second one is the autobiography of Ray Kroc, the man who built McDonald’s. Both of them taught me an important lesson:
To move to the next level in life, you may need to disrupt yourself.
The concept of disruption was popularized in the business world by a book titled The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. It tells the stories of how big companies failed because of disruptions in their businesses. They couldn’t see a new wave coming. Or they saw it, but they hesitated to change because that would mean sacrificing their cash cow. As a result, many of them went out of business.
Disrupt Yourself applied this concept to an individual’s career. In essence, it says that you need to disrupt yourself every now and then to adapt to new situations. You can’t just stay the same. You can’t just stay in your comfort zone. You need to change in order to thrive.
The story of Ray Kroc shows this principle in action. He was a person who was willing to disrupt himself. He knew that things would change and therefore he would have to change as well. Consequently, he was always alert to new waves.
There were multiple disruptions throughout his career, but the most famous one is his decision to build McDonald’s. At that time, he already had a comfortable job selling milk-shake mixing machines. But he saw that the demand for the machines would drop in a few years, so he opened his eyes for a new opportunity before it’s too late.
The opportunity came when he heard good reports about a restaurant operated by McDonald brothers. The reports made him curious, so he flew out to check it out himself. Impressed by what he saw, he then negotiated with the brothers to expand their restaurant to new places.
It was a disruption in his life. In his own words, he had to “slave away” to build McDonald’s. He had to leave his comfort zone behind and faced a lot of resistance. But he did it. The result is McDonald’s that we know today.
It’s easier said than done, but we need to learn to disrupt ourselves. We need to learn to change the way we do things. That’s how you can enter a new season in your life and move up to the next level. You can’t expect something new if you just do what you have always been doing.
P.S. I have a special offer coming on Black Friday (Nov 25). Stay tuned!