Sears, Bankruptcy, and the Inevitability of Change

October 17, 2018

Categories: Change

Sears filed for bankruptcy this week. The end is near for one of the most successful and long-lasting companies in America. For those of you who didn’t grow up going to Sears, Sears was a massive department store—sort of like Walmart, Home Depot, and Amazon all rolled up into one. I purchased my first washer and dryer from Sears. There is a nostalgic part of me that is sad to see it go.

America Has Changed

But the reality is things have changed in America. In fact, they have been changing for a while. Stores like Walmart and Home Depot offered a better selection of goods and more competitive prices than Sears. If Walmart and Home Depot wore Sears down with body blows, Amazon delivered the knockout punch. More and more people are shopping online nowadays, and Sears just couldn’t keep up with the changing landscape.

The Only Constant is Change

I think we can learn an important lesson from the Sears bankruptcy. Things are always changing in our world. It’s inevitable. I love the quote that says, “The only constant is change.”

We Resist Change

We tend to resist change when it happens. We don’t like change. It’s scary. We don’t know what will happen. We get comfortable with where we are at, and want things to stay that way.

But the reality is things don’t stay the same. Everything is changing. And everything will continue to change until the day we die. So, we have two options: First, we can resist change. This is what most people do. Some people don’t even see change happening, because they are so closed off to it. When they finally notice the change, they dig their heels in, refusing to adjust. They hope the change is only temporary, and things will go back to how they were before. Unfortunately, the end result of this option is usually the way of Sears—bankruptcy and death.

Look for the Opportunity

The second option is to be open and curious about the change. Change is usually a mix of good and bad. So, there will be some aspects of loss or anxiety that come along with the change. But there are also some opportunities in the change. Think about all the changes that have happened in the last 20 years—smart phones, Uber, Amazon, social media, and so much more. The people who were open and attuned to the changing landscape were able to profit considerably.

Change in Our Personal Lives

This principle is also true in our personal lives. Relationships change over time. Other people change over time. We change over time. We can lament these changes, or we can be open, curious, and look for the opportunities in the changing landscape. Where is [some aspect of your life] moving? How can we get on board with the change, so we can put ourselves in the best position for success moving forward?

Discussion: How do you react when change happens in your life? What is one thing that is currently changing in your life right now? Try to identify one opportunity that might be present in your changing landscape. Think Amazon and Uber, not Sears.


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