Author, latest, Jolt (2011)
Author of nationally known email newsletter, Ideas for the Change Revolution
Production and consulting company, Cooke Pictures
Appearances on MSNBC, CNBC and CNN
Work has been profiled in NY Times, LA Times and the Wall Street Journal
Many projects placed in permanent archive at Syracuse University
Ph.D., Theology, Trinity College and Seminary
Phil Cooke: Harnessing the Changing Culture
The 700 Club
CBN.com - A CHANGING WORLD
The world around us is changing. Media and technology have overtaken our lives and America is experiencing a major financial recession. “We are living in the midst of the greatest shift in our culture since the invention of the printing press,” says Phil. In order to navigate the culture of disruption, he says we need to understand the power of change and how to make it work for us so we can take back control of our lives.
For the last thirty years Phil has been helping organizations change. “The Bible says God’s word never changes, but trust me – everything else does – technology, people, culture, politics, education, trends, and much more are all changing at light speed. And if churches, humanitarian organizations, and businesses don’t keep up with that change, they’ll be left behind by the very people they’re trying to reach,” shares Phil. Years ago, he realized that virtually the same principles that help organizations change, can help people change. “If you can change people, you can change the world,” says Phil.
HOW TO HANDLE CHANGE
After working for several years at a media organization in the Midwest, Phil was fired at the age of thirty six. Although he had been thinking of leaving his former employer for some time and moving out to Los Angeles to see about possibilities on the West Coast, he said being fired came as a surprise. Looking back now he says, “It was the best thing that could have happened.” He was forced to make a change. Instead of “settling” for a paycheck he was now free to pursue his dream.
Phil says unexpected change happens to all of us, but few people know how to deal with it. For example,
many heart attack victims go right back to their old lifestyle within a few years after open heart surgery. Change is difficult but necessary in order to live a productive life. He offers some ways to help you navigate today’s culture of change and disruption:
- Embrace the wall. Facing a wall or hitting bottom could be the best thing you experience, because it "jolts" you into action. Moses was at the end of his rope – alone, on the backside of a desert. But when God appeared to him in the burning bush and offered him a way out – Moses spent the next 38 verses trying to explain to God why it would never work.
- Build a motivation machine. You spend a lot of time talking about your problems to people who can’t help you solve them. Re-focus your time on people who want you to succeed. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your ideas. Find cheerleaders – people who will encourage you and celebrate your victories.
- Learn to accept uncertainty. The Bible gives a lot of answers, but it doesn’t give us answers to everything. Learn to let go, trust God, and move forward. One of the greatest tragedies that will come out of the recent Japanese disaster is the number of people that will spend the rest of their lives asking, why? Those who demand a clear cut answer will spend years living in frustration, anger, and bitterness unable to move forward. But the truth is, we'll never find easy answers to much of what we experience in life we have to learn to let go, move on, and value the mystery of life.
- Eliminate destructive distractions. Most people fail – not because they don’t have the talent or expertise - but because they simply get distracted. In today’s addictive world of email, Facebook, and Twitter, we all suffer from some form of attention deficit disorder. That’s why the most valuable commodity of the 21st century may be focus. We all need to be connected, but when real challenges happen, sometimes, unplugging and concentrating on the task at hand is the way to find the answer.
“We should never forget that our ability to handle change and navigate this disruptive culture may be the most critical key to our success in life,” remarks Phil. Change is about intervention. Rosa Parks sat in the back of a bus a hundred times in Montgomery, Alabama, before she made the decision to move up. That decision ignited a change that jolted a nation. Change is something that occurs one person at a time, in unexpected moments, but like ripples in a pond can impact hundreds, thousands, and potentially millions of people.
BORN INTO CHANGE
Phil was born in a small mill town in rural North Carolina. For generations, his family all worked at a cotton mill, making sheets and towels. They started their jobs after high school and stayed until they retired decades later. His father, Billy Cooke, was the first to change the cycle in his family. He worked at the mill for a week. Then Billy decided that there was more to life than sheets and towels so he joined the Marines, graduated from college, attended seminary, and received his PhD in theology. His father instilled in Phil a vision for change.
Phil also earned his PhD and has been an agent of change for millions of people through his work in television and the media. He has produced media programming in more than 40 countries around the world. In the process, he has been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison. And during that time – through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California – he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world navigate periods of dramatic disruption and change.
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