According to Merriam-Webster.com, a Game Changer is: a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way. Ask any techie geek and Bill Gates or Steve Jobs likely top their list of game changers. Pose the same question to entertainers and Michael Jackson or Madonna might top their list . I think most of us could easily come up with a short list of folks that we believe to have changed the trajectory of human kind.
Over the years, I’ve had a chance to meet, observe and speak with literally dozens of people that have changed the game in their respective industries. People like Super Model Beverly Johnson who was the first African American model to grace the cover of Vogue. And Vera Moore founder of Vera Moore Cosmetics who was the first Black Actress on the soap opera Another World.
Let me take a moment to share a really frank truth. Not everyone is cut out to be a game changer. In fact, MOST people aren’t. Most people aren’t willing to do what it takes consistently enough or long enough to see real success. Most people aren’t patient enough to wait for “their time” or diligent enough to never give up or stubborn enough to NOT settle for plan B. Nope, most people aren’t cut out to be game changers. However, in order to find some level of success, at the very least, we should ALL adopt as many of their characteristics as possible.
I’m not a game changer (yet), I just play on one the internet (LOL). But because I aspire to be, I have studied them quite closely. I’ve discovered some pretty common characteristics that they all seem to share. I’m sure there may be more, but these are the top 6 that I have observed.
1. They are not concerned with being liked.
When a person is concerned about what people think of them that idea creates an invisible prison that keeps their spirit and desires locked away. Game changers have embraced the fact that not everyone will like them. Their need to be liked will never exceed their desire to define and achieve their success. (example: Dennis Rodman, Professional Basketball Player)
2. They challenge “the norm”.
These societal shifters start with the question WHY? Why are things the way they are? Why not? Why should we? Why does it have to be? They challenge themselves and others to see things differently and look beyond the surface for deeper understanding. They find it exciting to define a “new normal”. They see things differently and only imagine they world as they think it SHOULD be, not limited by what currently is. (example: Ghandi, Human Rights Activist)
3. They make NO apologies.
Folks who change the way we do things often do so because they are compensating for some flaw or shortcoming. After years of being criticized or rejected or having to over compensate for a shortcoming, they tire of making apologies for being different. Over time, they learn to use their flaws as an asset and make them part of what others come to see as not only acceptable, but desirable. (example: Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook)
4. There is no plan B.
I once heard lifestyle guru B. Smith say “you have to be willing to stand on a mountain of no’s to get ONE yes”. That sums up the approach of game changer. They are stubborn enough never give up, resilient enough to withstand rejection and arrogant enough to believe they are good enough. The believe that having a Plan B is in affect giving up. (example: Eddie Murphy, Actor & Comedian)
5. They are DOers.
Being a dreamer is attractive but being a visionary…. now THAT’S sexy. The difference between the two is that DREAMERS see the idea, but VISIONARIES see it to fruition. In short, game changers practice the “get her done” mantra every day of their lives. Early in their careers, they may see “time off ” as a distraction, but eventually find it necessary to rejuvenate themselves. They are never afraid to dream big, because they execute their dreams, one frame at a time. (example: Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul)
6. They build solid relationships.
The poet John Donne said “no man is an island” and I would have to agree. Anyone who plans to change the game needs a loyal network of key influencers, supporters, champions and colleagues. Notice I placed the word LOYAL in front of network. It’s important that people in your network or loyal and trustworthy, its no fun watching your back end while trying to earn money on the front end. Most game changers don’t work with people they can’t trust. They also have a group of people they can call on in a crunch to help them pull off nearly impossible feats. In most cases, they build connections with people that are more influential and knowledgeable than themselves in any specific arena. One of the defining factors of these relationships is that they are almost ALWAYS reciprocal. These relationships are also a pivotal to providing support and executing monumental plans.
So with 2014 just days away, tell me what are YOUR plans to become a game changer?
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