“The air is humming, and something great is coming. Who knows?” – Steven Sondheim (West Side Story)
I’m a big fan of Sondheim and was fortunate for many years to tour in a number of productions of West Side Story as “Anita.” One of my favorite numbers in the show is “Something’s Coming,” sung early on. Natasha and I used to stand backstage during that number, bouncing along with nervous energy, feeling the excitement in Sondheim’s youthful lyrics and the change in the wind that Arthur Laurents’ mature yet soaring orchestrations created. The air truly did hum every night for over a year on that tour as we listened to a glorious melody. We knew something great – change – was just around the corner, for our characters and ourselves.
I was reminded of those long ago summer nights recently by a former colleague of mine. After spending a few hours reminiscing and talking about our future, he asked if I was afraid of change. “Of course not,” had been my reply, and I’d mentioned leaving the entertainment industry to take on a day job as an example. I still hold that day job today, though it comes with a longer title than it did back then. And adroitly, my friend mentioned that career change had been a long time ago (true). He asked again if I was afraid of change. After all, today I have a family that depends on me. Change is a given these days, but change at 25 years old means something very different than change at the age I am today. And that’s a good thing. Change at 25 is moving to a different city, changing a college or changing a career. It’s all exciting and new, and back then, I dove in feet first with little thought in mind about the next 10-20 years.
Change today means so much more. I embrace change in a much different way. It’s no longer reckless abandon, but instead deeply felt, sometimes wistful, exciting, considered and with a vivid understanding of just how meaningful – and frankly, wonderful – change truly is. Change lives with us all every day. I see it illustrated before me as my children grow taller and my time with them under my roof and on this earth grows ever briefer. I embrace change at my office as people come and go through the years, and the DNA of the Company evolves too. I embrace change as a smart business person, as the market is changing, people are changing and the way we connect is changing. Technology races forward, regardless of whether or not we humble humans want to race along with it. Facebook has brought my family closer together than we were in the decades prior. I am now part of my brothers’ and sisters’ daily lives. In fact, we hold each other in the palms of our hands, thanks to the smartphone that I am writing this blog on, over 30,000 feet in the air on a plane.
It’s why I will always be a student of the world. If I want to succeed in business and make a mark in this industry, I have to constantly learn about how it is evolving – reading books, attending seminars, innovating. What worked 5 years ago may not be relevant today. And how can I stay successful and grow if I don’t know the destination? Change is not coming though. Change is already here. If you cannot evolve, learn, embrace and love change, the world will soon leave you behind.
Of course, dear friend, I am not afraid of change. I would not be here today if I was, and my tomorrows in business and life would be very short. Change is the basic mode of life. The air is humming, and something great is here.
I can’t wait to see what it is