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Sometimes It Takes a Disruption to Lead to Transformation

Mark Morton, President, Morton Consulting

2017 has been quite an odyssey, in more ways than one. What makes me proud is how we strive to provide exceptional service to our partners and our employees. As a result, we had a phenomenal year for our business; and with a personal milestone of turning 50, it was an excellent year for my family. Like many of you who reached this milestone before me, I had no idea what turning 50 meant. Slow down? Go fast? Cherish every moment? I wasn’t sure what to expect. What happened and what I expected were two completely different events.

This year I set a goal of getting healthier. I had been working to get healthier – lose some weight, eat smarter, and overall take better care of my health. An annual routine visit to the doc uncovered I had developed an autoimmune disease. I don’t even take an aspirin on a regular basis, but in the middle of my banner year of turning 50, I have this major disruption in my life. It punched me in the face!

Over the remainder of this year, the process of diagnosis, treatment, second opinions, new treatments, and still unanswered questions has caused me to think differently about my life, my priorities, and my actions. It has enabled me to be more efficient with how I spend my days at work and allowed me to spend higher quality time on the things that are important, like my family and personal health. The autoimmune disease is still with me, probably will be for the rest of my life, but I am learning how to manage it and the added stress that comes with managing a chronic illness. It’s meant a change in diet, exercise, work/life balance, and so on. It’s a series of blog posts unto itself.

“It always amazes me how life gives us what we need when we need it. This was the case for me when I was least expecting it.”

This fall, I was able to attend a one-day session with Stu Friedman. The timing was impeccable. I had just spent the week away at our annual strategic planning session. The team was geared up for 2018 and all the great things we’re going to do: stretch goals, growth, marketing…then, WHAM! Stu is asking me the tough questions on a quiet, fall Friday afternoon: What is important to you and why aren’t you making them a priority TODAY? We all need this reality check, right? Why are we waiting to take action on the things that are most important to us?

After having us list out our priorities, Stu went on to ask, “If this is how you want to prioritize and live your life in 15 years, then why can’t you do it today?”

He was disrupting our thinking. He was challenging us to rebalance the activities and priorities we have in our lives and ask ourselves: What’s important? He was transforming our thought process to focus on the things we were telling him are the most important, and then spend more high-quality time on them. The workshop is based on his book Total Leadership. I highly recommend it.

I left the Executive workshop that day and realized that I was not just dealing with a health disruption. I was not just slowing down to speed up or having to face the many realities we all deal with in life. I was going through a transformation. Personally, and professionally, I was charting a new course.

It’s December and back to turning 50. My Birthday is on 7-11 – if you live near one, you can always go get a free Slurpee that day…it’s on me. In reflection, the best part of the day was celebrating with family and close friends. That’s all that really matters to me in life. I have gained a new respect for many things this year, but I do know that it takes a disruption in your life, whether it’s your health, business, or another aspect, to bring about a transformation in the way we think and act.

“We all have a chance to get the most out of life, regardless of what our goals are, personally or professionally.”

We have a huge year ahead of us at Morton Consulting! Along with our ongoing commitment to build and strengthen partnerships with our clients, consultants, and employees, we will also continue our support within the community we serve through engagement with RVATECH, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, VCU, RVA User Groups, FeedMore, and many others. And perhaps the most disruptive event planned for our 2018: we are transforming our business with a new location that will allow us to better serve our team, partners, and the community.

There are many exciting things to come in 2018 and I look forward to what’s in store for all of us!