How To Be Adaptable!

I had the opportunity to write a book entitled How High Can You Bounce – Turning Setbacks into Comebacks! The focus of the book was discovering how individuals and organizations bounced back from various challenges. In talking with a diverse group of people, I was struck by how similar their stories were. They told me that being adaptable was the most valuable mindset to overcoming life’s stumbling blocks.

In an ever-changing world, the competency of adaptability has never been more important. The ability to bounce back, reinvent, and adapt determines how well we will act in response to both change, and the inevitable challenges we face.

Here are four ideas that I believe may help you to become more adaptable during times of change:

Focus on what you gain.
Our adaptability is shaped by what we choose to focus on. Adaptable people spend their energy dwelling on the potential that change provides, rather than the actual problem. This attitude allows them to thrive, not just survive in the midst of change. They choose to look at change as something new – instead of something wrong. The bottom line is we can mourn for what once was, or we can look forward to what will be.

Have a Sense of humor.
Nothing changes our perspective like a hearty laugh! Laughter opens our hearts and minds, whereas fear closes them. Humor keeps us bendable instead of brittle in the face of unrelenting change. As a result, people who are adaptable tend to take their humor seriously and themselves lightly. When children are playing, they will often say, “Make it funner!” Well, if funner was a word, it would be an adverb defined as “add a little more fun.” What a great philosophy for all who desire to be more adaptable!

Accept unpredictability.
Adaptable people predict that the future will be unpredictable. Accepting that change is constant, prepares you in advance to be flexible and agile. You let go of the notion that you are always in control of what’s ahead, and instead are able to focus on present circumstances that are controllable. You can accept that life is what it is, however our mindset determines how we see what is. Adaptable people understand that the known is temporary, and the unknown is where they discover new possibilities. Rather than resist unpredictability, they embrace it!

Take action.
On the tennis court, there is an area called “No man’s land.” It is located in the middle, between the service line and the net. As a tennis coach, I would tell my players “Don’t get stuck in no man’s land!” The reason being, you must make a commitment to move forward or move back. Staying still in the middle of the court leaves you vulnerable to your opponent. In other words, you must keep moving. Adaptable people use change as a reason to try something new, as they utilize their resourcefulness and seize opportunities. They immediately feel better by taking action because it gives them a sense of being in control. It has been said that “Good things come to those who wait,” but more often-good things will come to those who take action.

Take a look at your life five or ten years ago, and fast forward to today. You will probably be surprised at how much change you have experienced during that time, and how much you have had to adjust and adapt along the way. You will begin to realize just how beneficial change has been!

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