What My Grandfather Taught Me About Change (And How This Can Help Your Writing)

Change management

I never really knew my grandfather on my father’s side, he died when I was a young boy when he was in his early seventies.

My dad never really talked about him much and I’ve only seen a few blurry pictures of him and a great old cine film that my aunt transferred to DVD.

Of course, I do have some memories and was surprised when I saw him in that film recently that he didn’t look like the mad professor from the Back To The Future movies – because with his shock of white hair that’s how I remembered him.

Either that or Einstein.

The truth is although I never really knew him, I wish I had – because there’s something I always wanted to ask him…

From Aircraft Mechanic To Unemployed

My dad told me a few years ago that granddad was a highly skilled aircraft mechanic during the Second World War, working mostly on Hurricane fighters and occasionally Spitfires.

That’s why my dad is able to strip down almost any type of car engine to this day, because his father taught him everything he knows.

After the war, my grandfather moved into servicing commercial aircraft – and worked for a couple of companies until the fateful day when he was asked by one commercial airline to trade in his much-worn old overalls for their new, officially branded company ones.

He refused.

He said he’d been successfully servicing aircraft all through the war wearing his old overalls – so why should he change now?

To him, it seemed like a needless, annoying, and irrelevant request – whilst to his new employers he simply appeared to be a stubborn man who refused to toe the line (for no good reason).

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that he was politely asked to leave.

This story irritates my dad tremendously to this day – as he can’t for the life of him understand why his father never just sucked it up and wore the new branded overalls.

I guess my grandfather saw it as selling out, whilst most people would merely see it as part of the job.

However, I think it’s also got something to do with change, and my grandfather’s inability to deal with it.

So what’s all this got to do with writing online?

Online Writers Must Learn To Handle Change

I think most of us at some point in our lives can’t handle change because we’re afraid of what will happen if we try something new, or go off in another direction that takes us out of our comfort zone.

Well, it seems to me that as a content creator, the ability to embrace change, rise above your fears, and continually try new things are the essential elements needed for success.

I’ve found this repeatedly in over two decades of writing.

If we just go through the motions, (never changing our overalls), and stay within our comfort zone – we’ll never improve as writers and grow our online business.

That’s why I’d like to go back and ask my grandfather what his reasons were for making the decision he did.

Was he afraid of change, frightened of a new challenge, or simply too set in his ways to step in line with the differing expectations of his new employers?

Whatever my grandfather’s reasoning, I agree with my dad that it was a real shame he didn’t just put on that new uniform when he was asked.

He was an incredibly skilled aircraft mechanic and changing what he wore to work would never have made any difference to that.

Who knows what greater things he could have achieved in his career if he’d just overcome his reservations and tried something different?

But I don’t want to be too hard on him, because when do any of us really try something new – something that makes our heart beat that little bit faster?

Always Try To Challenge Yourself

In this context, if you’re trying to build a business by writing online, what have you tried today to set yourself apart or challenge yourself?

What have you done differently to build a unique online presence amidst this sea of sameness?

If the answer is nothing, then perhaps you should step outside of your comfort zone and try that one new thing you’ve been putting off.

Like getting up at 5 am to write before work, challenging preconceptions with that contrarian viewpoint you’ve been dying to write about – or simply committing to just turning up to write every day when others don’t.

Shake the snow dome and find out.

If you’re a blogger you can’t rely on Google anymore, and social media platforms could change their rules at any time and decide to shut you down – so you can’t afford to ever rest on your laurels.

The most successful online writers need to adapt and constantly keep learning.

After all, you’ll never know what great things can be achieved until you change your old overalls…

Loz James
Loz James

I've been a writer, content strategist and creator since 1999. I now help other creators master their mindset, motivation and method to start a writing lifestyle business they love.

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