I had a dream a few months ago. I dreamt I was in school and my teeth were on the verge of falling out, almost as if they were my baby teeth.
I told my fiancee about my dream and she told me that she remembers reading about these types of dreams with losing teeth, and that it meant something, but she couldn’t remember what.
I had the dream a second night in a row. Now it was really bothering me. Clearly, something was on my mind but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
Then it hit me. I was graduating in a few months (I graduated from Hofstra University just a few days ago) and I was preoccupied with entering into the next stage of my life.
Losing your baby teeth is a period of transition. It represents coming of age and developing new strengths. Firstly, you are losing something that you use to bring yourself nourishment while at the same time you are growing in newer, stronger adult teeth that can more effectively help your body in digesting your food.
You are losing one strength while earning another. This new strength is more improved and more appropriate for your age.
In my case, it was about moving away from striving to be a good student and instead, now I must learn to be an even better wage earner.
This concept isn’t just localized to growing up. It can represent any change opportunity, period of transition or a time when you must learn to adapt and find new strengths. In other words, losing your baby teeth is, in fact a perfect metaphor for the different stages of business.
The world is constantly changing and we are forced to adapt quickly. We must always reassess our strengths to ensure we can remain competitive. If we don’t, we fall behind and even fail. That is business and that is life.
Not only must we face constant change and reassess our strengths, but small businesses also encounter different periods of growth. Stages may very from business to business, but there is generally a beginning stage where profits may be low, a high growth stage, then there is a leveling off stage where growth slows.
Each of these stages requires different strengths and different ways of assessing required potencies.
Whether you are addressing constant change or in a period of transition, the important thing to recognize is that the same assets are not always relevant and being able to adapt is an absolute must.
If you are stuck utilizing your old strengths (your “baby teeth”) when new ones are required (your “adult teeth”) you are going to find yourself in a world of trouble.
Therefore, when I ask if you have lost your baby teeth yet, I am asking you if you are well prepared for future transition periods and constant change that you will inevitably face. If not, start preparing now and be sure that your business is nimble enough to adapting to new changes and establishing new strengths when necessary.
Don’t allow yourself to become preoccupied or overconfident with competitive advantages you may have at the time. Since change can happen so quickly and your business will encounter periods of transitionary growth, that strength that you were so confident about may now be obsolete.
Entrepreneurs need to be preemptive and take the initiative. Being reactionary can lead to failure. Never be content with the assets you possess now, but in your ability to identify the future advantages you will be required to have.
The only thing certain in this world is change. Therefore the only skill you will have to be constantly proficient in is at adapting.