Change happens to you and because of you

I’ve come to learn that having opinions, insights, and standing for something is as taxing as it is rewarding. Like you, I am inspired by what surrounds me, by history and by the possibilities that open up as a result of my experiences. But, it is not easy. And, I suppose it’s not supposed to be.

I too feel challenged by what I should say versus what has already been said, yet also shaped by what should not be vocalized. I’ve come to learn however, that the relationship between self expression and inner monologue defines one’s character. It is what’s is said and what is not said that defines impressions and ultimately the perceptions of who we are and for what it is we stand or hope to achieve.

Satisfaction or dissatisfaction with oneself is trumped by our ability to learn and teach together.

My personal and professional struggles are often tied to emotional rigors that spin me through cycles of vision, validation, vindication, vulnerability and vanity. These 5 V’s either pull me to learn, participate and teach or push me into a  realm of either complacency or uncertainty, both of which result into creative stillness. These 5 V’s however coalesce and produce different results based on the measure we apply to our own actions, reactions and inactions.

Impressions are linked to expressions and ultimately they are ours to define.

If you’re not provocative in some way, how can you possibly stand out to inspire someone else? This is a time for you to choose what it is you do with the inevitable reactions of encouragement, criticism, or resentment you will receive as you discover, share and grow. Take from each experience and move in a direction where you invest and receive value that inspires you and those around you. This is a time to be your own hero…to both inspire and be inspired.

“The impact of your work is the result of the balance you place on reacting to, learning from, and transcending teachers, critics and supporters.”

Change happens to you and because of you. It is what perpetually happens next that defines your character and ultimately your legacy.

This is your time.

My new book…#WTF

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  • Jim Traister

    Really like this statement: “The impact of your work, is the result of the balance you place on reacting to, learning from, and transcending teachers, critics and supports.” It got me thinking that actually that cycle should never end as you move from one comfort zone of to the next stage of growth with new teachers, critics and supporters.” Good read on a Sunday morning.

    • briansolis

      Great comment Jim, thank you!

    • Jim Traister

      Pleasure Brian. Just curious, do you find that your teachers pop up in your life when not expected and/or are you more conscious in selecting your teachers? Sense your selection of folks that you interview is based on people that you would like to learn more from?

  • Michael W Thomas

    Good article, I also like to think of the “legacy” of one’s work and the ability for it to extend through others, infectious is the word I like to use. Very thought provoking article Brian.

    • briansolis

      Good word Michael…

  • Pat Elliott

    Thanks, Brian, your eloquent reminder that thinking for one’s self is paramount came at just the right time. As a two-time cancer survivor, and patient advocate, It can be challenging to go against the Madison Avenue version of survivorship. This is especially hard in October when the public is saturated with messaging that minimizes, distorts or ignores the realities that millions of us live with every day. I especially liked this – “Change happens to you and because of you. It is what perpetually happens next that defines your character and ultimately your legacy.”

    • briansolis

      Keep it up Pat. We need you!

  • bkwalker

    Excellent post. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • Eric Schneider

    Excellent but I wonder about Vanity and Vindication. Those get in the way of spreading Vision, getting Validation, and being Vulnerable. Vanity tends to keep people from wanting to relate with or to us. Vindication only happens after something has gone wrong.
    I agree 100% with the battle between self expression and inner monologue. Especially since inner monologue happens at a far faster speed than self expression. Keeping your eye on the change you’re trying to produce while filtering the monologue can be a tightrope.

  • gloople

    Great article Brian, it dovetails nicely into an recent article by James Altucher on TechCrunch… Did you see it?

  • Your Living Body

    Great post. One thing to keep in mind – change happens when you get out of your comfort zone.

    • briansolis

      Very true.

  • Kathleen_Booth

    Love this! I’ve also thought a lot about how change is impacted by the decisions we make regarding who we surround ourselves with, the media we consume, and degree to which we are open to new ideas.

    With the news media becoming increasingly polarized, it is very easy to consume only those stories that reinforce what we already believe, as opposed to reading or listening to things that challenge our thinking and force us to question our beliefs and assumptions.

    Likewise, it is very easy to only surround yourself with people who share your beliefs. I lived in Washington, DC for 10 years in my 20s and it wasn’t until I moved away that I realized EVERYONE I knew was a democrat (like myself). Scary!

    Most recently, my 16 year old stepdaughter told me she wanted to apply to colleges where she would be amongst the smartest students. The thought of this makes me so sad. I really think that we always need to be open to learning from others and a great way to do this is to surround yourself with people who are smarter (or smarter in certain ways) so that you can be challenged and learn from them. Hopefully she will change her mind on this…

    Anyway, loved your blog and I couldn’t agree more with your points. Just wanted to add my two (or maybe three or four) cents….

    • briansolis

      Lovely comment. Thank you Kathleen.

  • jon_mitchell_jackson

    As important as some weekly tasks are, sometimes thinking about the process as though it’s a game helps remind me to reset the default settings I sometimes unintentionally fall back on. After rebooting, action and change makes sense and creating a ruckus that benefits my clients is truly a pleasure. From that point forward, making an impact and creating an exceptional client experience is fun and easy :-)

  • Shawn

    This is awesome. Thanks for sharing, Brian.

    • briansolis

      Thank you!

  • Brie Dorsey

    As a novice blogger myself, its nice to know that I’m not the only one struggling to dig deep to find something interesting to say, that hasn’t already been said a million times. Its good to remember that its about the voice sometimes more than just the content, but to always remember to try and inspire rather than breed negativity.

    • briansolis

      Well said.

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  • Rafael

    great insight! Soak it all in and make of it what you will. The damnation, the salvation, the celebration of it all.

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Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. More so, he humanizes technology’s causal effect to help people see people differently and understand what to do about it. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation.

Brian has authored several best-selling books including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business as Usual. His blog,, is ranked as a leading resource for insights into the future of business, new technology and marketing.

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