The Covid-19 pandemic imposed on us an overwhelming challenge the likes of which we’ve never seen before. That’s why it’s not a shame to be shocked, to be disrupted, to be terribly frustrated. But we shouldn’t languish in our setbacks far too long. We have to keep making minor and major decisions every day to redefine and reshape our future the best we can.
Because we still can’t figure out the full complexity and impact of the disruption we experienced in 2020 and that we continue to experience up to now, many of us feel that we are in such a terrible mess indeed. Because we are so unsure about what else the future has in store for us, we have every reason to be scared, really scared.
In short, the past seems pretty enough compared to now, the present does look very messy, and the future itself just feels so intimidating and so scary.
Obviously, it’s tempting to look back with a great sense of loss because many of our successes lie there. When we are uneasy with our present and scared about the future, it is comforting to turn to the past because it’s difficult to do away with our old habits and our past big accomplishments.
Come to think of it, the only thing that’s real to many of us is the here and now. The present is the only thing that matters because it’s the only time and space where we can make real decisions and take concrete actions. The present—and everything in it whether bad or good—is in fact the only thing we’ve got. If we don’t deal with it, if we don’t face it as it is and if we don’t rebuild from it, what other time and place are there for us to start rebuilding?
Clearly, it’s either we start right here and right now or we don’t start at all.
After months of limited mobility and restricted social activity, many people have realized that they should accept that life is very different now, and that they themselves are likewise very different now. In short, they have changed, have grown, and—as the title of this book describes—they have been transformed into new personas.
In my case, it was through my own personal experiences during this pandemic that I learned that there are three types of transformations—natural, incidental, and intentional.
Natural transformation. It happens when people simply await and accept whatever changes will happen in them. Aging is a good example. You don’t have to do anything to age. It simply happens.
Incidental transformation. It takes place when people just happen to get affected or made uncomfortable by changes that transpire around them. In other words, it happens because of external incidents over many of which, if not all, we don’t have much or any kind of control. It can happen because of a new rule or procedure or perhaps an introduction of a new policy or regulation. In many cases, it can also happen as a result of competition like, say, when a particular company comes up with an innovation.
Another incidental transformation is the prevalence today of work-from-home arrangements that are meant to minimize and slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. But whether it’s just temporary or will become permanent remains to be seen.
Intentional transformation. This kind of transformation is what this book will take up in detail in the following chapters. People undergo this kind of transformation when they get to understand the situation and thereafter develop and purposively observe a specific action framework—zones, processes, and competencies—to effect change. It occurs when people consciously influence their choices and actions to take new forms within that new framework.
In this book, my goal is to present the intentional transformation framework that I myself have created to deal with the disruption wrought on my life and career as an onstage professional speaker. I will share my own story of frustration, fear, and insecurity and how I made headway from being disrupted to becoming an inventive disruptor.
THE THREE ZONES OF TRANSFORMATION
My transformation framework is made up of three zones. The first is the disruption zone or “mga bagay na nagulo.” Second, the realization zone or “mga bagay na nalaman.” And third, the creation zone or “mga bagay na nagawa.”
In the succeeding chapters, I will enumerate the three processes that bridge these zones, namely introspection, exploration, and innovation.
Supporting the processes are three competencies that give us the power to undertake them: agility, creativity, and nonconformity.
This framework aims to give you a fresher, more incisive look at the transformation process for individuals and for organizations as well.