Change is universal and inevitable. Change is disorienting. Change clouds your horizons and paralyzes your courage. Today’s ever-increasing pace of change is relentless. “Humans really struggle with change, especially, change we did not choose,” shares April Rinne, author of the new book, FLUX, 8 Superpowers For Thriving In Constant Change.
“To thrive in this world in flux, we need to radically reshape our relationship to uncertainty and flip the script to sustain a healthy and productive outlook,” explains April. Fortunately, her new book shows you how to do exactly that, and how to help others do so too.
Part personal guidebook, part strategic roadmap, Flux provides a refreshingly new take on how to navigate change by using the Theory of Flux and developing eight Flux Superpowers.
The Theory of Flux:
Step 1: Open a Flux Mindset
Step 2: Use your Flux Mindset to unlock the eight Flux Superpowers
Step 3: Apply your Flux Superpowers to write your New Script
The superpowers are your essential disciplines and practices that are fit for a world in flux, and are to be applied into your life – each explained by April in the book:
1. Run Slower. It enhances your productivity.
2. See What’s invisible. Seeing what most people don’t look helps you get ahead of problems.
3. Get Lost. Stretching beyond your comfort zone fast tracks your creativity.
4. Start with Trust. Mistrust breeds inequity and kills curiosity. Trust begets trust.
5. Know Your “Enough.” Then you can discover a sustainable, flexible, and content future for yourself.
6. Create Your Portfolio Career. Treat your career as a portfolio of experiences and skills.
7. Be All the More Human (and Serve Other Humans). Use your humanity to help others.
8. Let Go of the Future. It’s all about focusing on what you can vs. can’t control and then how to unleash your best self.
Each of the Flux Superpowers helps you see change in new ways, develop new responses to change, and ultimately reshape your relationship with change.
Today, April shares these additional insights with us:
Question: I believe because of the past 1-1/2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic that readers will find Flux both incredibly useful and at the same time comforting. Do you agree and why?
April: I absolutely, 100% (or more like 1000%) agree. Flux is both timely and timeless: It is useful immediately today and also can help readers every day moving forward. Just knowing that -- you have a tool, a guidebook, a set of superpowers – for the rest of your life is itself comforting.
But that's not all. The message of Flux is fundamentally uplifting, as well. This is a book about reshaping your relationship to change to be fit for a world of constant change, and in order to do that, you have to get to know yourself better.
As part of reading the book, you're able to (re)discover your agency, your values, your dreams and quirks and expectations and so much else. Fundamentally, you gain clarity on "what makes you, you – even when everything else changes." Knowing this not only empowers you to weather any kind of change better; it also even makes you lean into change in new ways. How comforting and exciting is that?!
It's worth noting that Flux is not a book "about" the covid pandemic (or any particular kind of change, or any particular year). I began writing it long before 2020, with an eye toward its value long after. The events of the past 1-1/2 years have simply been an incredible accelerant and validation of its message.
Question: How long does it take after fully embracing the 8 Flux Superpowers for thriving in constant change for someone to truly reshape their relationship with change?
April: At a basic level, the quest to improve one's relationship to change is always underway. Learning how to thrive in constant change isn't a "one-and-done" quick fix, because that's not how change works. Of course, this also means that as long as you are living and breathing, embracing and practicing the 8 Flux Superpowers, your relationship to change is always improving, too!
In some ways, this evolution -- and progress towards flux -- can happen pretty quickly. I find this is especially the case for people who haven't really thought much about their relationship to change before. Those early steps and self-awareness can be quite eye-opening and make you hungry to learn more. But when change hits (yet again, as it never fails to do) putting what you've learned into practice can take time and effort. So, it's a continual process, akin to peeling back the layers of an onion, where each layer reveals yet something new to learn.
Keep in mind also that some superpowers are easier for some people than others, and some may be more difficult. (For example, some people may really struggle to Run Slower, while others find it harder to Start with Trust.) The superpowers are a menu, not a syllabus. But as you groove and strengthen one, you find the others can be easier to grasp. It's an additive process; they enhance one another. So, in this regard, there's a big incentive to dig into them – the benefits only increase as you do!
Question: What two or three things can leaders do today to help employees become more comfortable with change?
Bring a Flux Mindset into your organization. Remember, organizations can have Flux Mindsets too! "Fluxiness" should be part of your organizational culture (if it's not yet, that's a good place to start). Have your team read Flux and tackle the superpowers together. Organizations are essentially groups of people, and if everyone can improve their relationship to change in some way that’s best. When an entire team does so, it can be transformative – at both individual and company levels.
Walk the talk. Flux reflects a paradigm shift for leaders. For example, historically we've expected leaders to have "the answers." Yet in a world and future full of uncertainty, no one really knows. Rather, great leaders in a world in flux are able to acknowledge this and invite their colleagues in to help. When you can exhibit the Flux Superpowers – being human, being comfortable getting lost, and so on – you open up and empower your team to step up, do the same, and move forward together.
Remember that trust powers everything. All 8 Flux Superpowers are essential for flux-y organizations; however, I find that trust is a sort of super-superpower. Without trust, everything else tends to fall apart. With trust, everything becomes easier, more nimble, and more successful. When change hits, trusted relationships are absolutely essential to move forward through uncertainty. Start by talking with your team about trust. If you find that trustworthiness is thin – on any level – then make that the starting point for your journey to Flux.
April offers this additional advice to leaders:
“Leadership with the new script and a Flux Mindset means paying everyone enough, ensuring everyone feels safe and valued, and treating others as peers rather than subordinates.”
Finally, she offers these fire-starter questions for leaders and suggests you keep your answers nearby as you read her book:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your personal ability to lead in flux today? How would your best friend?
- Do you tend to think in terms of “me” or “we”?
- How do you feel about sharing power with others?
- How would you rate your organization’s ability to flux? Are certain topics trigger points? Are select people, teams, or departments fluxier than others?
- Five (or two, or ten) years from now, what kind of leader or seeker do you want to be? Of what kind of organization.
April Rinne is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader ranked one of the “50 Leading Female Futurists” in the world by Forbes. She is a trusted advisor to well-known startups, companies, financial institutions, educational institutions, nonprofits, and think tanks worldwide, including Airbnb, Nike, Intuit, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, NESTA, Trōv, AnyRoad, and Unsettled, as well as governments ranging from Singapore to South Africa, Canada to Colombia, Italy to India.
Thank you to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.