The Art of Evolution – Part 1

“The only thing I fear more than change is no change. The business of being static makes me nuts.”  -Tony-Award winning choreographer and author, Twyla Tharp

I want you to sit down and ask yourself a very important question. Are you sitting? Good. Comfortable? Great. Okay. Here’s the question I want you to ask yourself:

“How often has your business evolved over the years?”

Are you taking the same kind of photos you took when you started in this business 10, 15, 30 years ago?

Are you shooting the same kind of videos?

When was the last time you updated your website? Your logo? Your services?

When was the last time you updated YOU?

This week I want to talk about the importance of evolving your business. In the past I’ve referred to this as…

The Madonna Effect

No matter what you think of Madonna, there’s one thing you can’t deny. She has stood the test of time and has done so because of her very determined decision to evolve with the times. I’ll never forget that interview of her by Dick Clark way back in the early 80s on “American Bandstand.” Right after performing, Dick asked her what she wanted to do in her career. Her answer: “I want to take over the world.” I think it’s fair to say, she’s come pretty close.

There’s another pop group from the 80s that to this day is still going strong. Some call them the most powerful rock group on the planet. (No, it’s not “One Direction”). It’s none other than U2.

The 80s was also the decade that gave us Culture Club. Remember them? Hmmm. Where are they now?

When you look at the rock groups and singers that last through an entire generation (3+ decades), one thing is common among them. They evolve. They come out not only with new sounds, but embrace new technologies, expand their craft into other arts (e.g. acting, directing, dancing, etc.) They are never satisfied with status quo. They push themselves into their dis-comfort zones. Many times they fail miserably. But that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Micro vs. Macro Evolution

There are two types of evolution I’ve noticed over the nearly 25 years I’ve been in the business world:

  • Micro evolution: evolving aspects of your business
  • Macro evolution: evolving you and/or your business

I have had the honor to evolve myself and my business for over two decades: from a financial analyst, to co-managing a rap group, to real estate appraisal, to marketing Movie Magic software, then to doing business development for a major developer of financial software. This month marks my tenth year in business for myself and during that time I’ve been a wedding videographer (which become a wedding cinematographer which became a wedding filmmaker), a commercial director/producer, a blogger, podcaster and writer/producer/director of original content. I’ve changed the name of my company four times and my website about seven times. My blog has evolved four times and my podcast twice.

With every stage of evolution I’m working to move myself forward, building on past experiences. There have been a lot of ups and downs during that time. Seasons of feast and famine. Times when going to the 9-5 job I had was a dreadful experience and times when jobs I’ve had felt like a dream. As an entrepreneur there have been times when striking out on my own felt like a huge mistake, and times when I was on my knees every morning thanking God for the amazing opportunities I’ve had in this business. (Is it just me, or do you hear The Byrds faintly signing in the background?)

These have all been examples of micro and macro evolution. And they have all led me to where I am today.

Are You Evolving?

I share all this with you so that you’ll think about your own career. Are you evolving? Are you seeking out new opportunities. Are you boldly going where you haven’t gone before?

I’m not saying you have to do it the way I’ve done it. I love change and embrace it often. But you don’t have to macro evolve as many times as I have. My good friend and successful event filmmaker David Robin has been in the event filmmaking business for over 25 years. But he’s still going strong because he’s constantly changing, embracing new technologies, trying different things, and helping others do the same.

In my next installment I’ll talk about how you can move closer to becoming the professional you want to become. But until then, I want to go back to my music industry analogy and ask you this final question: are you a “Boy George” or a “Bono”?

6 thoughts on “The Art of Evolution – Part 1

  1. Great post, Ron. I am a big believer in never ending self improvement. Having spent many years in the horse business, I think about advice that I have received as it regards traing your horse, namely, can you make today with your horse better than it was yesterday. The increments can be small (especially with horses!) but if you are making a positive change each day, you and your horse will always get better. I think that change in business (and personally) can follow this pattern, if you just hold your own (and stay where you are) the rest of the world will pass you by. To be competetive, in anything, I agree that you need to look for the change!

  2. Thanks Ron for this stimulating post! I like it a lot, as I do like your whole site.
    I think I changed quite a lot along life. Sometimes I think I got the “changing itching”. And sometimes I ask to myself where and when I should stop, not permanently, but for awhile, trying to exploit the gained experience before the next jump.
    Best wishes
    Javier
    PS: excuse my english and misspelings. My poor english and the speling checker of my iPhone (set in Spanish), can make a totally new language🙂

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