Three Simple Steps to Being More Adaptable

Change is an inevitable part of life. Nothing stays the same, and as life Changes so does the need to be adaptable.
Those who are stuck in their ways will be left in the dust by those willing to embrace change and grow from it.
In that moment, when life throws us a challenge, we have two choices.
We can freak out and cling to what we know. That path is a dusty dead-end road.
The second option is to holler, “plot twist”. Then do a rewrite, and become adaptable, growing along the way. This path is overflowing with possibilities.
This blog post is for those of you who want to forsake the dusty dead zone for the land rich with possibilities. It is for the movers and shakers…those willing to embrace change and run with it.
Are you ready to learn how?
Learning to adapt can be broken down into three easy-to-remember steps:
1) Stay Calm and be adaptable.
2) Chart the Course.
3) Carry On with Confidence.
If you can master all those three steps, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with and pretty close to unstoppable.
Yes, being more adaptable is that important. So, let’s look at each step and learn to become experts at carrying on better than before.


1) Stay Calm and be adaptable

When life throws you a curve ball, do you freak out and feel as if the world will surely end? Does it activate the whiny beast within? Most of us do have at least an area or two we are sensitive about. It is not at all abnormal to feel the urge to freak out at a challenging situation. What separates the winners from the rest though is how they choose to respond to a jab at a touchy spot. Whining accomplishes nothing. It is also a waste of time and energy that you could put towards moving forward into solutions. Successful people don’t sit around moaning and feeling sorry for themselves. They are on it, finding solutions with a good attitude. They learn the lessons, apply them, and don’t look back. They see challenges as simple twists in the road and learn to take adapt, taking it in stride. The rest? I have not seen even one instance of somebody stuck in whine mode seeing the situation fall into place well enough to shut them up. They are miserable and seem to be content staying there.  

But how can you calm yourself?

  A complete answer is beyond the scope of this blog post, but here are a few tips to helps you rein in all that emotional response:  
  • If you force your body to be calm, it will help the mind and emotions follow. Take slow deep breaths. Calm your face….then make the rest of your body relax to match it. Move gracefully and peacefully, gliding like a swan on water.
  • Think about the absolute worse case scenario you can image. Realize you actually could handle it if you needed to. Look back at your track record of surviving tough stuff. That helps diffuse the fear of the unknown.
  • Focus on the big picture scheme of things. How much will this situation matter five years from now. How about a year from now? A month? Keep it in perspective, knowing all things do pass.

2) Chart the Course.

  So, life happened to you. At first, you might have lost your cool, but you reined it in and found your calm place. Now that you can think rationally, it is time to rewrite the plot, adjusting for the latest twist in the story. It really is that simple. Now, let’s learn how. There are two things you should keep in mind as you contemplate the possibilities in front of you.
  • Do not contemplate any option that goes against your conscience or does not reflect your priorities in life. No matter how appealing it may seem right now, a mistake in this area will leave you with more messes to deal with. Just don’t.
  • Keep your mind open to all possibilities. Withhold judgment until you have looked at the facts. I’ve found most people don’t peek outside of the box. I recommend you throw the box away.

Being adaptable, the implementation

Now you need to grab something to write with and some paper. A whiteboard would work too because you won’t need to save it. Actually, I enjoy erasing options as I eliminate them, so as much as I dig my paper, I prefer a whiteboard for things like this. Keep those two principles in mind. Then write down every option you can think of for adjusting to the challenge. Write down the ideas that seem out there right now because you just never know. When in doubt, write it out. Keep at it until no more possibilities come to you. If you followed the guidelines I gave you, you should now have a decent sized list of possible options you can choose from. It should include some ideas that stretch your thinking a bit. Remember, success is all about continued growth. It could be you are outgrowing your old pot and are ready for a new one.  

Next, you simply start at the top and begin to weed them out.

Cross out or erase any idea that doesn’t feel right to you. Just be sure you are honest with yourself as you do it. Don’t eliminate a possibility just because the concept is a little scary. If the response you choose to a plot twist is not at least a little scary, it won’t be the best choice for you. Not if you wish to grow as a person and create success. So, leave the ideas that intimidate you on the list. By now you should be down to a manageable sized list of ways you can respond to the new challenge. Last comes the part most of us find most difficult. You must choose an option and commit to it.

3) Carry On with Confidence.

Committing to an option is easy. It’s the walking out that commitment that challenges us. New paths are always a little scary. Some nervousness is a good thing though. It is a sign you are stretching your limits. Strong fears need to be dealt with though. The following process will eliminate most of them.  First, ask yourself if that fear is even reasonable. Most of us do have an irrational fear or two in our closet. When you find one of them, kick it to the curb and refuse to entertain it again.  Then, with any fears that might remain, do as you did above….examine how you would handle the worst case scenario. Most of the time, you could handle it if you had to. You just don’t want to. realizing that worst case scenarios usually only happen in our minds. It’s rare you must deal with it, but it helps give you peace of mind to know you are in control. Now that you have dealt with fears, simply do the stuff required to do the thing you chose to do. Then stick with it, but stay flexible.  Do not let yourself look backwards with longing to how your situation was before you were thrown for a loop. That is old news and an old place. It has served its purpose in your life. Learn and keep moving forward. You sure can’t navigate the path in front of you very well if you are busy looking in the rear view mirror.  

Let’s share and grow together!

I hope you feel better equipped now to handle whatever life might throw at you. The fact is, there always will be those situations you do not expect. They will require a script rewrite. Like with anything else, you will get better at being adaptable with practice. So, don’t dread change. Welcome it. It is where you grow and get better. It’s all good! Do you find yourself feeling rigid or unnecessarily fearful about change? Give yourself more opportunities to do things you’ve not done before. Try a new food. Go to a new place. Meet new people. Do new things. Every time you venture out of your comfort zone, you grow. Make trying new things a new dynamic in your life. It will make adjusting to big changes a little bit easier. How do you personally deal with a major unexpected change? Do you react and fly by the seat of your pants….or do you systematically deal with it? What is your best tip for adapting to challenges?   We’d love to hear your stories and ideas?