Thriving In A World Of Constant Change
In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview April Rinne. April is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and ranked one of the “50 Leading Female Futurists” in the world by Forbes. She helps individuals and organizations rethink and reshape their relationship with change, uncertainty, and a world in flux. She released a new book this year called – Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change.
Being adaptable and flexible have always been hallmarks of effective leadership and living a fulfilling life. But in a world of constant change, flexibility and resilience can be stretched to and beyond their breaking points. The quest of life becomes how to find calm and lasting meaning in the midst of enduring chaos.
In this episode, April Rinne talks about her new book Flux and the 8 powerful mindset shifts that enable people of all ages to thrive in a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty. These eight superpowers empower people to see change in new ways, craft new responses, and reshape their relationship to change from the inside out.
Questions I ask April Rinne:
- [1:26] Would you say that right now in this current moment that people have a new relationship with change?
- [1:43] Why is it that we resist change so much?
- [2:55] We just had a giant experiment in massive change for a lot of people. There were those who dealt with the change and ran towards innovation. Would you say there was an element of positivity to that change even though it’s not the change we chose?
- [5:22] Are you advocating that we have to actually go out there and seek change and make change instead of letting it happen to us?
- [9:54] Can you talk a little bit about these two concepts you’ve covered – flux baseline and flux deficit?
- [12:11] There’s value in seeing the value in change. Would you say that if you come to a place where you have that relationship with change, you may still struggle when it hits you, but you’ll also see the value in it and the message that it carries?
- [14:18] Would calling your book a change management book be doing it a disservice?
- [16:32] Your book has a framework of eight superpowers. One of the things that hit me at first when I was studying it was that you have what I would call all the elements of mindfulness to them and more than just intention. Would you say that’s valid?
- [18:01] I’ll ask you to talk a little bit about one of the superpowers that stood out a little bit. And that’s the idea of the portfolio career. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
- [21:55] Can a culture or an organization have a flux capacity?
- [23:36] Where can people find out more about Flux and where to connect with you?
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John Jantsch (00:01): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Hey, I want to give a shout out to another member of the HubSpot network, the success story podcast, hosted by Scott D. Clary. It's one of the most useful podcasts in the world. Success story features Q & A sessions with successful business leaders, keynote presentations, conversations on sales marketing. Hey, and if you're a freelancer, his episode on how to make seven figures freelancing on Fiverr is a must listen to the success story podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.
John Jantsch (00:46): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is April. Riney a world economic forum, young global leader, and ranked one of the 50 leading female futurists in the world by Forbes. She helps individuals and organizations rethink and reshape their relationship with change uncertainty and a world of flux. And coincidentally, we are going to talk about her new book called Flux: Eight super powers for thriving in constant change. So April, welcome to the show.
April Rinne (01:20): Thank you so much, John. I'm delighted to be here.
John Jantsch (01:23): So, so would you say that right now in this current moment that people have a new relationship with Jane?
April Rinne (01:28): That's a loaded question. We need any relationship to change. I'm not sure that many possibly even most people have it yet. We've had a glimmer, but we have a lot of work to do.
John Jantsch (01:39): Uh, it's a course, well-documented people hate change. So, you know, why, why is it that we resist change so much?
April Rinne (01:46): Well, I would actually argue. It depends. So our relationship human's relationship to change. It's messy, it's complicated. And I come across people every day who are like, I love change. Well, humans and at the risk of generalizing a little bit here, but humans tend to love change. We can control that we can opt into, right? So a new relationship, a new job, a new adventure, a new haircut, right? Right. We tend to really struggle with change. We can't control. So the kind of change that blindsides you on a Tuesday after noon, it goes against your expectations. It disrupts your plans, but meanwhile, like a change, a kind of change that's really easy for you might be really hard for me and vice versa. So I bring all of this up because it's like, there are, there is no one cookie cutter formula for assessing our relationship to change. But once we start getting into it, every person I've ever met has said, you know, there's some aspect of your relationship to change that can use some improvement. So, yeah,
John Jantsch (02:52): So I don't want to go too far down the pandemic rabbit hole, but I mean, we just had a giant experiment in, in massive change for a lot of people. And I saw a lot of people who were not those, I love change who said, well, let's deal with change and let's innovate. And let's, you know, do what we have to do is that, I mean, clearly that was not under our control. It was not a change we chose, but I think there was an element of positivity to some of that change.
April Rinne (03:20): Yes. And that's what we need more of. So the way I like to frame it, and also, I know, you know, this, but listeners may not, I didn't write the book about 2020 or the pandemic I was working on this book since 2018. Although it's been, I like to think of it as three years in the writing, but more like three decades in the major of just layering this on. But I have to admit in the last 18, 20 months I've been given like the best example, like the sense of the world being in flux has really been incredible acceleration and validation of some of these ideas. So humans are really adaptable when we're forced to be. And I would argue a lot of what's happened over the last year and a half. Our backs have been against a wall and it's like, Ugh, I got to change or I'm not going to survive.
April Rinne (04:10): And whether that's you or your business or your team. So we do. So the challenge we face is that as we look towards the future and whether that's next week or next year or next, the next decade, the future has more of the kinds of change we can't control. It has more of that kind of change you resist and struggle with. And it has so much more of that. And again, this is at individual levels, organizational societal so much as in flux that we need to not just radically reshape our relationship to it, but more specifically, we need to learn how to do this. Even in times of calm when our back is not against the wall, because what you don't want, that, that we, yes, there's some positivity in it, but it tends to be after the fact, it tends to actually be quite sometimes traumatic, chaotic, difficult, not fun when it's happening. And that's what I'm trying to help people do is like get ready for that kind of change in advance. And as I like to say, it can be a lot more fun when your back's not up against a wall as well
John Jantsch (05:19): When you plan it or so, so I've always said, you know, comfort sometimes is the enemy I've changed. It's like, oh, why it's not broken? Why fix it? Even though it's horribly broken, right? So are you, in some ways, are you advocating that we have to actually go out there and just seek change and make change and you know, not let it happen to us. Okay.
April Rinne (05:38): Yes. To some degree there is this active, like leaning in and it's changed, but it's also uncertainty. And it's also from a leadership perspective, for sure. It's also ambiguity this comfort with ambiguity. So partly it is seeking it out. I would say right now, at least. And you know, my theory continues to play out every day where it's like, there's, there's just as much flux now, as there was a year ago, it just looks a little different. There's going to be just as much next year. It's going to look a little different. So like year up for the longer haul that life gives us opportunities every day to reshape how we think about, talk about, feel about, and ultimately relate and respond to change. So some of it is seeking it out and some of it is simply pay attention to what's already happening all around you because there are a lot of big and small changes improvements we can make when it comes to change.
John Jantsch (06:34): Yeah. It's funny. I actually have a sense that there are people struggling right now, more than they did say a year, year and a half ago when the change was like, you know, constant and dynamic. And now it's just kinda like a grind. And I think that, I think that there's actually more struggling. We, we, we have not actually dealt with this word. Flux Webster says it is a flowing, oh, a discharge of fluid from the body, especially when excessive or abnormal. And I won't go on to cite the examples. And then of course, who could forget the flux capacitor from the fictional piece of technology that allowed us to, time-travel why the word flux.
April Rinne (07:10): Yeah. So you have just landed on the historical medical definition as well. And there are a couple others that I'll add to the mix. Cause they're fun because we had to do a lot of surveys and testing and, you know, flux, flux, conjures up for most people. It's kind of fascinating, but they're like, I don't really know what it means. Occasionally some folks have said reflux. It's like, no, no, but flux is both a noun and a verb. And in today's modern usage, most people know the noun as constant change, continuous movement, motion, things are in flux, but it's also a verb and to flux means to learn, to become fluid. And I love that because you can think of it as the world is in flux and we all need to learn how to flux a little bit better. Now, just a fun footnote.
April Rinne (08:01): Uh, there is this medical definition of flux was actually internal bleeding, not going to go there, but there you go. It also though, and this is the one way that I still see it used today. It is a substance, a chemical compound that's used in metal smithing and jewelry making and stained glass making. And flocks is the compound that binds the Juul to the metal. So it's this or it's stained glass. It's the compound that, that allows the, the glass, the beautiful piece of glass to nest in its casing. And I love that too, because it, it allows things to stick together that wouldn't otherwise, and it helps create beauty, even though these two substances are very, very different. So anyway, that's just a bit more etymology for us.
John Jantsch (08:48): Awesome. And I'm sure that there is a software company out there somewhere named, uh, to the uses the name as well. Right?
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John Jantsch (09:51): All right. So you then take this and give us a couple of new concepts. And I wonder if you could just, obviously there are many, but these are the two I picked up flux baseline and flux deficit.
April Rinne (10:01): Oh, how fun. So building on this notion of our relationship to change and central theme of the book is also this concept of a flux mindset. So the state of mind that can see all change, whether it's good or bad, unexpected, or not as an opportunity to learn and to grow and to improve your flux baseline is really what is your relationship to change today? Because as we were just talking about some changes, delight us, other ones trigger us. Some changes, entice us. Other changes, derail us. Everyone is different in this regard. And everyone has strengths and weaknesses and areas of improvement and so forth. And so getting to your flux baseline is this notion of what's your starting point for this journey to reshape your relationships change. And then a flux deficit is when you're not, and this is such a fun term to riff on, you know, flexi people and flexing your flux capacity actually is another way to put your Fluxus. So a flux deficit is when you are not very flexy, when you are really struggling with change. And I ran a massive flux deficit for many years. I still, I still practice the superpowers. Everyone somehow thinks that because I've written this book that I've somehow like mastered them all. I'm like, no, I'm just exhibit a for all of them, but
John Jantsch (11:27): I'm much better than
April Rinne (11:29): Precisely. And I'm much better than I was years ago. But I also will have work to do for the rest of my life because that's what the nature of change is about. But a flux deficit is, are, is, are, are those areas that need the most help when it comes to learning? How to, if not, embrace change, see change from a place of hope, rather than fear a place of curiosity rather than danger, which is what a lot of people are struggling with today.
John Jantsch (11:59): Surely there's an assessment in here somewhere that somebody
April Rinne (12:04): Can call it your flux capacity.
John Jantsch (12:08): So I have often said, I don't know where I would be on your continuum, but I would say probably somewhere in the middle because yeah, I I'm old and crotchety and don't like change sometimes, but I've realized the value, I've seen the value in it. And so it doesn't bug me as much. In fact, I've, I've, I actually think it's changes sort of the art of living. And, and so if you come to that relationship with it, I mean, it's still, I think it's kind of like you in a way, you know, you still maybe struggle with it when it hits you, but by the same token, you, you, you see the value in it and it like shows up with a message, right?
April Rinne (12:42): Yeah. And another fun footnote on this back to nouns and verbs, I've heard, I've heard so many different framings and what I love about not just the book, but the concept is how people can kind of make it their own. And like, this is how it applies to me. And you said this, but I'm going to take it a little further. And I love that. But one of the, one of the best ways that to put it is that people love change. They hate being changed. So again, we love the, now we hate the verb, but it's the being changed. It's the allowing yourself to grow and evolve, which to your point, we tend to know like great growth comes often from the unexpected difficult changes. Right? Right. Easy to say that after the fact, at the time it's like anything, but I'm going to resist.
April Rinne (13:26): I'm going to pretend it doesn't exist. You know, all of that. And it's overcoming that to kind of regroup again, back to this mindset, thinking of your mindset as a mental muscle, strengthening that mental muscle, that's much more attuned to not just one change and like we'll fix that and go back to the way things were. That's not, it it's this constant change. And this understanding that moving forward, the way I like to put it is there is no end game. There is no steady state other than more change. And that is a pretty big difference from what we've been taught for the most part over the last several decades.
John Jantsch (14:04): All right. You ready for the kindest question anyone has ever asked you?
April Rinne (14:10): Oh, of course.
John Jantsch (14:12): Would calling this a change management book, be doing it a disservice.
April Rinne (14:19): That was easy. So I love that you kind of predicted that question perhaps because I'm finding myself in conversations sometimes recently where people like, oh, you wrote a book about change, or you wrote a book about change management. And I'm like with all due respect to change management, I did not read a book about it. I read a book about humans, relationships to change, but I do want to call out the tension and the relationship between our mindset about change and our change management strategies. And that is that I believe we're actually getting those things backwards. We are spending. And I say, we, the collectively we're spending so much time trying to figure out change management strategies, how to invest in uncertainty, what to do in the outside world. And not just those things
John Jantsch (15:09): Go matter. We want hacks, right? Yeah. And
April Rinne (15:13): Those things matter, but what we're not remembering or even realizing sometimes is that every single strategy investment and decision you make is fundamentally rooted in your mindset. So do you see change from a place of hope or fear? That's not strategy that's mindset, but that the answer to that question will absolutely shape and color and dictate the kind of strategy you set. Do you expect that things will go to plan and then get anxious or unravel when they don't, that's not strategy that's mindset, but again, so the way I like to put it is it's not that strategy doesn't matter or change management doesn't matter. It's the mindset drives both of those things, not the other way around. And when we can get clear on that inner relationship to change all this external stuff becomes clear, change management is no longer this thing. That's, I mean, we're, we're just, we're trying to triage stuff, but we're not actually doing the harder work which is gaining self-awareness about what again, what triggers us, what excites us? What is the baggage we bring to the table when we're talking about any kind of change period.
John Jantsch (16:29): So you have a belt this around eight superpowers, that's kind of the framework of the book. And one of the things that seemed at least hit me at first, when I was setting in and you have a nice graphic and all, is that all the elements have what I would call an element of mindfulness to them. And more than just intention. Is that just me?
April Rinne (16:51): No, that's intentional. I love that you pick that up. Thank you. And you know, it's interesting. I think more broadly I am walking this fine, but beautiful line between having written a book that is, you know, business it's for leadership, it's for teams. That's kind of where I sit professionally, but there's also an element of, I don't want to go so far. It's not self-helpy per se. I'm not a self-help, I'm not a guru. I'm not in that world, but this notion that all professional development and organizational development and strategy and execution all that, it is all rooted in personal growth. And this notion mindfulness, which isn't something that until recently we found much in the business world, that's at the core of everything and presence and self-awareness, and, and this ability to be rooted and grounded. And then that flows into all kinds of things around how we identify ourselves and how we value different things. How we look at our relationships and can we trust people and our pace of change and productivity, like it just shows up everywhere.
John Jantsch (17:57): So there are eight superpowers, as I said, and, and, you know, if you want to know what they are, go by the book, but I'll ask you to talk a little bit about one that maybe stood out a little bit. And that's the idea of the portfolio career. I mean, I've certainly, we've all heard people talk about that now. Especially if you're a millennial, that's, you know, what you're supposed to be doing, but I'm not, I think in the context of what you're talking about, I found that one to be the most sort of intriguing.
April Rinne (18:21): Oh, fabulous. And that one is unique amongst the eight in that it is very specifically geared towards the future of work that is itself in flux and kind of how we look at our professional identity in our overall career career development. So I love that you bring this up and each of the eight superpowers, I also have to give the kind of not caveat, but framing that they're all counterintuitive in some way, they all go against the grain of what I think a lot of us have been taught about the world and how it works and how we're supposed to show up in it. But a lot of what we've been taught is really for a world that is, as I will say, neat and tidy and orderly and predictable, you know, that the world as if we could tie it up with a boat, right, a world in flux flips a lot of that on its head.
April Rinne (19:08): So the concept of a portfolio career, the, the way that the superpower is phrased is that any future of work influx, we need to think about our careers and career development, less as a singular path to pursue or a ladder to climb. And rather more like a portfolio to cure rate as an, as an artist would, or an investor would, are lots of different kinds of portfolios, but it's this sense of our professional identity goes so far beyond our resume. Our resume is capturing only a certain kind of data that not that it's not helpful, it's an incomplete picture of any person, what they can do, what kind of value they can add. But also your resume is very much for a linear kind of work where you would study hard, get good grades, go to college, get a job, do said job for a long time and retire.
April Rinne (20:02): Like that is a script that is a linear path. That is not the reality that we're working in. And even before the great recession, sorry, not great recession, the great resignation that was in play, but the portfolio career concept maps really well with people also who are reconsidering, you know, what kind of professional life do they want, but also in the face of automation in the face of lots of unknowns, how do we actually prepare for a future of work that is a minefield of uncertainties. And so what I love to remind people is that every single person today already has a portfolio. You may just not realize it. And your portfolio is all of the skills and roles and ways you can contribute to society, add value. It's not about titles and positions and so forth. Parenting skills are in your portfolio. They're typically not allowed in your resume, right?
April Rinne (21:02): So you've got this, but also unlike a job. And I hate to sound blunt, but unlike a job that someone else gives you any job that someone else gives you, even if you love it, even if you're great at it, even if everything's going great, the fact that someone else gave you that job means that it can be taken away from you. And that makes a lot of people nervous and anxious and uncertainty just ratchets up your portfolio is yours forever. You own it. No one can take it away from you. It is your responsibility to curate it and to weave your narrative around it, but for a future of work and a world in which there's so much, we can't control this notion of a portfolio is something you actually can, and you've already got one and you can start today.
John Jantsch (21:52): You know, it's been really fun for me. You know, I kind of poked fun at millennials a little bit there, but what's been really fun for me is that, you know, who's really waking up to this idea is 55. Plus you know, is really waking up to this idea, which to me is kind of cool. So art we've been, maybe you've been talking broader, but I think people have probably sensed it. We're talking about individual and flux, but you know, can a culture have a flex capacity? Can an organization have a flex capacity? I mean, how do we apply those concepts to much larger? Uh,
April Rinne (22:26): Absolutely. So I get the question. Yes. Can an organization have a flux mindset? Absolutely. Yes. The key here and the book really is designed primarily for individuals because that's where this starts, but I like to remind people, organizations are simply collections of individuals. And so when you bring those together, you have not just an organization that can be flexi, but this becomes part of your organizational culture. I mean, so much of this is about how do people relate to one another and then together, how do they relate to change? And then as an organization it's built into, to design to just different processes, structures, et cetera. But yes. So start with the micro unit of the person, but then build that in organizations. I mean, at least so far organizations are still only as you could say, valuable as the people, in terms of a longevity in terms of the humanness as the people that are there.
John Jantsch (23:27): Yeah. It kind of becomes, I've got a new term for your flux ecosystem there. All right. So April tell people where they can find out more certainly about flux the book, but also your work anywhere you want to send them to connect with you.
April Rinne (23:41): So for all things flux, please head to flux, mindset dot lots, more resources, superpowers articles, et cetera. And then I also do have April rennie.com, which is more about the stuff. Not, it has a little bit of flux, but it has things like my hand stands on it. And people kind of found out that I do handstands. So they always want to know where to go for those.
John Jantsch (24:02): Awesome. Well, thanks so much for stopping by the duct tape marketing podcast. And hopefully we'll run into the next time you're in the Northwest, right? Did I read that? Is that right? Yeah. One of my daughters went to Gonzaga and so I spent for four years, I spent a lot of time in the Northwest, a beautiful area. So hopefully we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road.
April Rinne (24:20): Thank you so much, John. It's been a pleasure.
John Jantsch (24:22): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I want to thank you so much for tuning in, feel free to share this show. Feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also. Did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it out. It's called the certified marketing manager program from duct tape marketing. You can find it at ducttapemarketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says 'training for your team'
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