Change is the Only Normal

Change is the Only Normal

Written by: Brian Smith & Mary Smith
Original by: IA Business Advisors

Like most of the world, we have been thinking more about things that are out of our control. The amount of time we have to ourselves or with our families is unprecedented in our lifetimes. We find ourselves streaming more shows and reading more news articles. There is a phrase we keep reading, “This is the new normal.”

As business advisors, we deal with exceptions all the time. We are trained to deal with the uncertainties of life and are now pondering this phrase, “This is the new normal.” As leadership development consultants and influence-understanding specialists, our view is that COVID-19 is an exception, not the new normal. However, this phrase continues to parrot around the internet and is seeping into our everyday lives.

COVID-19 is not the new normal. People describe this as the new normal to ease their anxiety of change. If they can find a foundation by deeming this a new normal, they may feel that things aren’t as chaotic. By defining something you give it meaning; meaning gives people purpose and understanding. This foundation and purpose ease the anxiety around change. Therefore, if they can feel more at ease thinking “this is the new normal” they will tell themselves that even if they don’t believe it.

We would go as far as to say there is no normal, but that wouldn’t sit well with most individuals. The reason we are inclined to say this is because we feel that there is no way to define true normal. It’s subjective to each individual and philosophical at best. People need to feel like they have a normal to feel secure. In reality, change is the only normal. There has never been and never will be a normal, just change. We define things as “normal” so we don’t have to face the vastly open possibilities of change or keep an open mind.

So, what exactly is this “new normal” that everyone is talking about? Being shut inside? Not being able to socialize? Mass businesses being closed or shut down? Having to stand six feet apart when shopping at the grocery store, or not being able to use reusable bags? The very idea that this life is our new normal is, honestly, quite sad. If people really believe that we are going to be stuck like this forever, they have lost touch of reality. We won’t be quarantined forever, we will be able to socialize again, businesses will come back or reopen, and we will be able to use our reusable bags again.

We predict that, in the future, most things will return to how it was with very minor adjustments. Yes, there will be tragedy and struggle. There will be lives, properties, and businesses lost. We will face challenges, but they won’t be anymore challenging than what humans have faced in the past. Rather than tackling this challenge and the change that comes with it, people would rather define this as our “new normal.”

Lives are going to change, but that doesn’t mean that life itself will change. Some will experience a “new normal” if they become shut ins or germaphobes. However, there have always been these kinds of people, and for those that do become shut ins or germaphobes due to COVID-19 this will be their “new normal” rather than societies new normal. Time will progress. We will adapt, learn, and evolve, as humans have always done. We will persevere and we will return to “normal.”

Humans have an amazing capacity to overcome tragedy and take on seemingly insurmountable challenges. Humans move past tragedy, with short attention spans, and ignore (to a fault) the lessons of history. History shows us that we will make it through this. If you can accept that change is the only normal, things won’t seem as chaotic. This acceptance opens doors to new possibilities for the future, one where we are all better prepared for change. There is so much we can learn from the experience of COVID-19, and one of them is that change is the only normal.

© Individual Advantages, LLC. 2020

Press Pause for Positivity

Written by: Brian Smith & Mary Smith
Original by: IA Business Advisors

One thing that stands out more than prior to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order is the amount of negativity. This great pause has left people with a lot more time on their hands, as well as uncertainty. Our individual influence has the chance to save the day. Our influence can infect the nation with positivity instead of negativity, and it’s just as contagious as COVID-19.

This great pause has allowed us to come up with unique ways to collaborate, meet our needs, and achieve our goals. For example, our grocery stores have altered their schedules and created opportunities for those that are at greater risk to come and shop without there being too many people. These businesses are providing a positive opportunity to those who need it most.

Spending more time collaborating and being creative is also positive. Before COVID-19, most of us were lost in the noise and chaos of our own lives. We all fall prey to the comfortable focus of our daily life, often missing what is going on around us. COVID-19 has forced us to become innovative in the way we work and think. It’s made us slow down and helps us realize several things we may have been missing. Never before have we been given this massive opportunity for pause.

This pause has affected how we think and perceive. Before COVID-19, people accepted the opinion media. Media is almost always focused on pushing their beliefs and disparaging those who don’t agree with them. This is because they know that negativity sells. We didn’t question this negative noise before COVID-19, mainly because we didn’t have time. However, now that people have the time to dissect and absorb the negativity, they are pushing back with positivity.

Recently, John Krasinski started SGN (SomeGoodNews) on YouTube. When my wife showed me his first video, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to have someone with public influence use it for positivity. He’s one of the most visible people that I can make an example of, but he certainly isn’t the only one. Around the world people are pushing to spread positivity to keep humanity from being bogged down in the negativity. We need more people like this.

If more publicly influential people, like politicians, used their influence for positivity, how would that affect us? COVID-19 handed government officials an opportunity to come together in a positive way to benefit our country, and some of them are taking it seriously while others are using it to further their own political and personal agendas. It would be nice if our politicians would unite, listen to their constituents, and work together for America as their positions were intended to.

Another positive born from COVID-19 is learning that the issues we face are not democratic or republican, they are American. We have had our blinders on for long enough. Now that life has slowed down, we recognize the influence others have on us that we never would have acknowledged before. Things like our grocery store, toilet paper manufacturers, restaurants, and let’s not forget our healthcare professionals on the front lines. We now recognize the weight of these needs and the influence they have on us.

As we all lean on those closest to us, we realize that positivity is all around us. We do not need the government, influencers, and other famous individuals to fulfill our efforts to find happiness (minus John, we still need SGN). We are realizing that we need much less than we thought and the positivity that does surround us means more as we can begin to fully appreciate it.

Now is a time where we can all lead with positivity. We shouldn’t use negative influence to sway people or events. We can turn lemons into lemonade. Find the positivity in your day and show gratitude. We are all grappling over the loss of something, so when you see negativity choose to inject positivity. Do it for yourself. The simple law of attraction is if you think positive, you will live positive. If you need a boost, watch SGN.

One simple, positive comment or action can change the present moment. We all have influence. We are byproducts of our environments, which means that we can change our environments too. It just takes one person to spread positivity and affect change. Like COVID-19, positivity is contagious. Go out and spread the positivity (while keeping a social distance, of course).

To learn more about your individual influence, check out our book series: The I in Team Series.

For positive posts on your feed, follow our series on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.

© Individual Advantages, LLC 2020

Don’t Give Up On Your Goals

Written by: Mary Smith
Original by: IA Business Advisors

We are still at the beginning of the new year, and hopefully you were able to set some great goals for yourself based on our last blog post. We know goals can be hard to keep sometimes, especially the goals we set in the new year. We are here to keep you motivated and on your path to complete your goals.

Did you know that 80% of people give up on their new year goals by February?

Top Reasons People Give Up on Their Goals

Starting the new year doesn’t mean you have to start your goals right on the first. Time is always moving forward, and luckily for everyone that means you can start goals at any time. Alas, not everyone has this opinion and it is one of the reasons that people fail to honor their set goals. There are many reason people give up on their goals, but we compiled the most common reasons below.

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Not telling anyone about their goals (no accountability)
  • Giving up too easily or losing interest
  • No thoughtful plan or time management
  • Lack of honestly with yourself

Do any of these sound like you? You owe it to yourself to see your goals through; you set those goals for a reason. If you need to reevaluate your goals to tailor them to where you are in life and the parameters you can handle at the moment, then do it. Set goals that you can plan out, follow through, and complete.


In our first book, we outline in great detail how to utilize the S.M.A.R.T. process. When you set your goals, you need to make them specific. By understanding exactly what you want to do, and narrowing down your goals to make them specific, you will be able to achieve your goals more efficiently. When you set a specific goal, and understand its parameters, you will be able to measure your goal. Whether you measure it based on a time frame, steps towards achievements, or anything else, if you can measure it, you can achieve it.

Ensure your goals are attainable, that means make sure you are in a place where you can reach your goals. Do you have the position, the time, the financial means, or the resources to obtain this new set goal? This leads to the next letter; make sure it is realistic. Again, you need to have the proper resources to obtain your goal. If your goal is to lose fifteen pounds in one week, that is not typically realistic (or healthy). If your goal is to lose fifteen pounds over the course of a few months, that is realistic. It is also timely! Ensure you set goals that you can measure over the course of a timely period. Give yourself enough time to complete your goals.

Benefits of Completing Goals

There are so many benefits to completing your goals and seeing your past wishes through to the end. For one, it provides you with a great base for motivation to complete other goals in your life; if you know you can complete one goal, you know you can complete any goals that you set in your life. Not only will you be motivated for future goals, you will feel an immense sense of personal satisfaction.

When you know you can complete your goals, you will feel fulfilled and a sense of purpose in life. Having a sense of purpose in life is one of the main things that makes us happy as individuals. Knowing you can complete your goals is something you need to succeed in life. Whether your goals are personal, professional, familial, or other, goals are what move us forward in life. Don’t give up on your goals this year, you owe it to yourself to see them through.

© Individual Advantages, LLC. 2019


Written by: Mary Smith
Original by: IA Business Advisors 

With the new year right around the corner, we want to inspire and influence our readers to set one goal for 2019. We don’t want you to just set any goal; we want you to set a goal that you have been afraid of committing to. “Live in the present; the most important moment in your life is the present moment. It is in the present that all things are learned, lost, and forgotten.” To quote our book, the present moment is your most important moment. Now is the time to act.

Before you start the journey to find what goal will be best for you to pursue in the new year, we want you to reflect on the quote above. Each sentence is an inspiration. Understand that choosing to pursue your goal will be the hardest part, because you are your own worst enemy. You must find the willpower to commit to this special goal. Your fears cannot hurt you, they cannot hinder you, they are all inside your mind. You, and only you, can take control of your life and decide your fate. Your present moment is the time to do this.

Slow Down

In order to wisely choose your one and only 2019 goal, you need to slow down and reflect on yourself. You must reflect on your past, your wishes, your dreams, and your smaller (perhaps internal) goals. Reflect on the year you have had. Ask yourself, “What goals did I set for this year? Did I accomplish those goals? Why or why not?”

If you have found that you give up easily on your new year’s goals, then it’s probably because you aren’t serious about them or they aren’t the right goal for you at that time. To find your perfect goal, one that you can obtain, you must slow down and reflect on who you are as an individual. And remember the quote above! Do not let fear hinder you from pursuing a goal that may seem out of reach. You can always find a way to reach your goal as long as you set a specific goal, set measurable standards, set an attainable goal (for instance, you can’t become a genie), set a realistic goal, and make it a timely goal. This is the S.M.A.R.T. process (which we detail in our first book!)

Setting Your Goal

When you have decided that setting one, singular goal for your 2019 year is best for you, you may be wondering how you can go about solidifying that goal. Once you have taken some time to slow down and reflect on who you are and the year you have had in 2018, you will be ready to ask yourself a series of questions that can help you to determine your best goal for 2019. Don’t feel obligated to answer all of these questions. Find the ones that will help you the most and write down the answers to them, so you can continue to reflect on them later.

  • What happened in 2018 that I would consider had a positive influence on me?
  • What happened in 2018 that I would consider had a negative influence on me?
  • Do I feel like I am contributing something to life? If not, what would make me feel like I am contributing?
  • What inspires me to wake up every morning?
  • Would I consider anything to be missing from my life? (Free time, friends, family, internal improvement, money, pets, health, knowledge, hobbies, outdoors, objects, etc.)
  • If something is missing from my life, how would my life benefit from obtaining what is missing? Should I center my goal around this? What steps do I need to follow to get that missing thing?
  • Is my goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (S.M.A.R.T.)?
  • Can I dedicate myself and have the willpower to complete this goal?

These questions may raise more questions for you, and we encourage you to follow those questions until you come to the root of each answer. This will help you pursue your perfect 2019 goal. Do not fear the new year and do not set yourself up for failure. Slow down, reflect on yourself, and find one goal that you know you can complete this year. You will be so proud of yourself for completing a new year’s goal.

It’s not always easy, but the fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you set your mind to. Cheers to the new year!

© Individual Advantages, LLC. 2019