Cultivate the Ability to Be Flexible

5 Mar

As I alluded to in my previous post on performance and rigidity, one of the skills worth cultivating in your professional and personal life in order to maximize performance is the ability to be flexible.

Since you don’t know when you will be faced with the next hurdle or difficult situation, it’s important to incorporate a certain degree of flexibility into your life. After all, if you are at your best when working from behind a desk, what will happen if your job suddenly requires you to have a lot of customer onsite contact? Could you still perform at the highest level?  Now mentally shift from the office environment to a sports environment, in particular, golf. Imagine a professional golfer – if they had a tremendous golf game but weren’t a morning person how would they perform with an early tee time?

Flexibility, however, is about more than just being able to adapt and “roll with the punches.”  It allows us to look to ourselves to make something happen by utilizing our own resources and those around us – even when things don’t go as planned. Flexibility allows us to build the confidence and self-reliance needed to reach our desired outcomes, despite occasional setbacks and disappointments.

Here are some things you can do on a daily basis to help promote flexibility in your professional (and personal) life:

  • Direct your energies toward the end result, rather than toward uncovering the best way to do something.  Be aware that several paths can lead to the same point, or goal.
  • Equip yourself with a tool box loaded with a variety of skills. By learning and fine-tuning techniques for dealing with criticism, rebounding from mistakes and disappointments, or relaxing and re-energizing, you are in a better position to rely on yourself when necessary, rather than depending upon good fortune.
  • Stay on top of habitual routines. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you engage in routines for dressing, eating, and getting yourself off to work, to school, etc. Routines are an efficient way to operate. But to keep yourself flexible, you need to change your routines occasionally. By introducing variety, even slight variety, you are challenging yourself and positioning yourself to better handle a wide range of situations.

In my next blog on improving performance, we will look at letting go, which is closely related to flexibility.

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