Adapting is Critical

Well we are closing in on the end of 2020, a year full of upheaval and uncertainty. I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t felt the pressures of the year. Figuring out how to work from home, go to school from home, find a new job, figure out how to safely navigate shopping, and how to keep ourselves and our family healthy have pushed many of us into exhaustion. It seems like for every step forward we uncover a new challenge.

These crazy times give us an opportunity to grow skills that apply to work as well as to life. We are faced with constant change in the world around us right now. How do we handle it? Do we pull back and hide from it all? Do we step forward and look for a way forward? Do we step back and look for options? Do we charge ahead without a plan just to get through it? These are all decisions we make, often without conscious thought, each time a new situation hits us.

Like the fight or flight response that is natural we find ourselves holding tight to what was or adapting to the new. Do you want to preserve the known or do you adapt to meet the unknown? Preserving the routines that we know keeps us in a comfortable place, it’s familiar and we know what to expect. Unfortunately, too many times the situation around us has changed and what was routine is now no longer possible or practical. Yet it’s hard to let go of what we know and embrace the unknown.

If we can become comfortable in adapting to what’s happening around us, we gain confidence in our ability to handle anything and everything. Adaptability helps us find solutions to challenges, opens us up to new ideas and possibilities, and can create opportunities we never expected. It doesn’t mean we give up everything we’ve ever known; it means we open the door to what’s new.

Here are 3 tips to increase your adaptability

  1. Seek information. Look at what’s going on around you. What are others doing in similar situations? What information is out there that can help you learn more? Who can help you navigate this new situation? Ask questions, seek information and keep learning what is possible.
  2. Expect good things. Remember that you have succeed up to this point, so you will succeed in the future. There are positive things that can come out of new ideas, new routines, and new experiences. If you expect that things will work out, they are more likely to work out. What you expect is often what you will get, so what are you expecting?
  3. Keep adjusting. If you make a change and find it’s not working out for you, change again. Once you learn to adapt it becomes easier to adjust your approach to situations as things change or you see results that aren’t acceptable. Nothing is final if you still have options. Change directions, change your approach, get more help, or what ever is needed to take that next step forward.

The interesting thing about learning to be adaptable is that it makes you a better leader and will help you at work and at home. Leaders need to read situations and adjust course if needed. Flexibility or adaptability are critical skills for leaders. Right now, life is giving us a master course in flexibility. How are you responding?


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