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Status Quo: What is it and how to break the imaginary barrier of staying there?

Updated: Jul 10

Ale Marroquin

"Ale, we've always done it this way." This is a phrase I've heard over my 13 years as a consultant in leadership and personal branding. The first time was when ICA hired me to give a course on how to make powerful presentations and break away from the monotony of reading informative documents, which were boring for those who weren't specialists in the subject. When I suggested using storytelling, some shielded themselves with phrases like "Engineer Quintana always does it that way!".

The fact that the company's president read a document didn't mean everyone else had to do the same. Although it was part of a culture, getting out of that "status quo" and communicating with greater influence required courage to try.

Back then, sustainability issues were just starting to be introduced in companies, and it was necessary to convince both internally and externally of their economic benefit. Reading a document would not convey the conviction needed to highlight the importance of sustainability. The CFO decided to give it a try and discovered the benefits of presenting differently, positioning the company and his own personal brand as leaders in sustainability.

In my individual programs, I accompany professionals who want to take a leap in their career or who, after years of success, find themselves stuck. They discover that what led them to success now works against them. They feel perplexed, as if a bucket of cold water had been thrown on them, realizing that if that doesn't work, then they don't know anything.

two people talking

Getting out of the status quo is not just knowing what to do, but daring to try other possibilities. It's about opening up your perspective, trying the unknown, and being comfortable with the discomfort of doing something different. I recently heard a speech by Alex Hayek, a Lebanese politician and former financier, addressed to the graduates of Haigazian University in Lebanon, comparing the vision of predators, who look ahead to hunt, with that of their prey, who look to the sides to see the big picture and escape. He suggested to the students to have both visions: focus on the goal, but with a broad view to consider all the pieces needed to act.

When we have tunnel vision, we overlook possibilities and our actions are based on what we know, without considering new decisions. Joe Dispenza, in his book "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself", explains that acting the same way all our lives creates an inertia that is difficult to break, leading us to the automatic. Like driving a car, we do it on autopilot without being aware of each step. Breaking these automatic habits requires willpower, losing fear, and imagining what we want to achieve, open to new possibilities.

Changing behaviors to get out of the status quo also requires breaking away from limiting beliefs from the past and daring to discover what a reinvention can bring. There will always be risks, some calculated, others requiring a thick skin in the face of possible failures, but always with the possibility of learning.

Let's leave behind what worked in the past, the attachments and clinging. Let's look for possibilities with creativity, curiosity, and a clear goal, but with a broad vision to select the best path to our destination.

This sounds easy, but it's not. Sometimes you need company to inspire you to have courage. Don't do it alone, you're not a superhero. It's much easier to go as a team, accompanied. It can be a family member, a mentor, a coach, or your support team. You'll discover much more focused on the possibilities of reinvention.


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