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You have to make it a habit: to ask the questions that challenge what you know in order to thrive.

Great businesses that managed to withstand the test of time never stopped reinventing the perception of their message to be in service of a higher purpose. Their cause remained the same, but the way they communicated it adapted - Nerissa J. Persaud

Nerissa J Persaud

It’s also no wonder and why Self Made Billionaire, the Founder and CEO of Spanx, Sara Blakely shares her insight during a talk at the Stafford Graduate School of Business on how her hyper-observant focus led to overhauling the undergarment industry.

Blakely explains: Ask Questions and Be Hyper-Observant. She notes:

I think of a lot of ideas at traffic lights. I pay attention to things that haven’t evolved and why. I ask myself questions all day, every day. I could be looking at a table and be like, ‘Why is the table like that? When was the table first created? Is that the actual best design for a table? Or could there be something different?

For most of my career, this has been embedded in the way I think, throughout my travels, starting a business and raising a family. What I’ve recognised is this; even with the best of intentions or efforts, what we may consider as ‘hitting it out the park’ or ‘as good as it gets‘ – doesn’t exist.

In other words, if we cease to reimagine, to self-grow, to listen, to learn or investigate how we can take something okay and make it revolutionary : someone else will and all of your years’ efforts would have lost its lustre.

Similarly, in the hiring industry, many exceptional executives who were once at the pinnacle of their game now face considerable pressure from drastic shifts in technology and mindset shifts. In this case, the competition can completely derail your years of efforts if your career position and self-development strategy isn’t enabled for continuous learning and improvement. Much like the fact of gravity, what goes up must come down, the difference here is being able to diversify your perspective to leverage a new perception of what you have to offer. Is it necessary? Is it teachable? Is it improving or adding value to someone else’s lives?

Leading a path that is engaged, opened to listening, thinking out-of-a-new-box when you weren’t taught to do so and having the good sense to question what’s before you, are all apart of the internal mix that builds your unique career space. A space that is irrelevant to your competition. Instead, you learn from the competition but never in direct competition. A space that allows you to leverage your years of experience as an educator, as an influencer and pioneer of your work.

Consider some of the world’s longstanding brands, The Coca Cola Company, Kelloggs, Nestlé, Walt Disney and ask yourself:

  • Why have these brands not only survived but continue to thrive today?
  • How have they maintained their relevance decade after decade into the present?
  • What kept them going amidst civil wars, oppression and recessions while many failed?

Case Study

One of my favourite case studies and this could be because I’m a mother to an impressionable little girl is that of Walt Disney Company and the journey their prized princess characters took on over the years. The traditional narrative of a Walt Disney princess for the longest time was based on the happily ever after love story where a handsome prince meets his princess and almost instantaneously falls in love. They face hardship but find their way back together and live happily ever after with the princess by his side.

For decades the artful, creative direction captured the hearts and homes of various generations and still do, but the conversation of their message gradually diverted into stronger female characters including different ethnicities, holding opinions, importance in sisterhood and women relationships and wanting to explore the world. It all took significant effect after increased women activism created notable generational mindset shifts in how women and girls wanted to be perceived.

The bottom line is this, great businesses that managed to withstand the test of time never stopped reinventing the perception of their message to be in service of a higher purpose. Their cause remained the same, but the way they communicated it adapted.- Nerissa J.

These women weren’t protesting the Walt Disney Company or their Princesses but the movement evolved into a generational mindset revolution and in doing so would change the perception of their very message. Enough so, that Disney recognised it as something they were going to have to adapt and be the change or face an eventual backlash from a newly accepted and constantly growing mindset that would no longer accept the traditional narrative of women and girls. Instead, women sought more independence, control of their choices, equal identification in the workplace, marketing campaigns, products and services on how they were going to be perceived.

Now imagine if you were to challenge your mindset to incorporate continuous learning, self-developing and skill allocation that leverage your presence and experience. Do you believe your career would take on a new spin in an untouched direction?

Share your career questions with me!

Thank you for reading!

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