Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

Flexibility – GIYC part 4

Flexibility is a requirement for survival. ― Roger Von Oech

Without flexibility, we can’t digest the tough assignments life sends our way. This quality is one of the eight gritty qualities needed to survive in life (as described by Robert Luckadoo*). The other seven are: diligence, tenacity, optimism, discipline, resilience, confidence, and purpose.

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The case for flexibility

If it wasn’t for flexibility, I don’t know where I’d be today. So many times I’ve had a plan but was required to take a detour instead. It’s been powerfully true during the past four years of recovery and coming to terms with my new normal but has also been true all throughout my life.

When I was 18, I went on a missions trip to Mexico with 25 college students and our team leader wisely said, “If there’s one thing you need to learn on this trip, it’s ‘be flexible.’” How true that prophecy became!

Six principles to gain greater flexibility

These six principles come from what I’ve been learning about having flexibility as part of the grit in my craw.

1. Flexibility is about the willingness to change.

If you are unwilling to change your mind, your way, your position, your strategy, you’re in trouble. If you’re smart, you’ll remain open to change.

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. — Albert Einstein

2. Flexibility requires reflection and evaluation.

To be truly flexible, you need at regular intervals to pull off the road and reflect on what’s going on and what adjustments are needed. I’ve been walking first thing in the morning to do that very thing .

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking. ― Friedrich Nietzsche

3. Flexibility is a partner to dream chasing.

Flexibility is needed when chasing our dreams. Yes, there are times to let our dreams go, but when they are “right,” flexibility is the muscle we use to adjust our plans on our way to our dream.

Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it. – Brian Tracy

4. Flexibility is not weakness.

Being indecisive and wishy washy is often weakness — being flexible is quite another. Flexibility is the ability to wisely flex and adjust when necessary if pushing on becomes unreasonable or no longer possible.

That which yields is not always weak. ― Jacqueline Carey

5. Flexibility sometimes requires your dream to change.

There are times when big dreams must die. After my accident, I came to the realization (eventually) that I had to let go of my dream of running the Boston Marathon. It was hard to accept but I found it opened up the door to entirely new possibilities.

Choose a summit; make a plan to reach there! If you think you can’t make it, choose a new summit, make another plan. Or give up the summits, make new plans, find lower targets! In short, be ‘flexible’ in life! ― Mehmet Murat ildan

6. Flexibility requires courage in the face of fear.

Flexibility is about facing the fears and insecurities that hold you back. We like predictability but “real” life does not promise sameness. Courage is a muscle — the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life. ― Theodore Roosevelt

Final thought

What would it be like to normalize flexibility? To embrace detours that opened up new sites, sounds and scenery? What would it be like to say with Commander Riker, “The unexpected is our normal routine.”

On a scale of 1-10, how flexible are you?
How does flexibility put grit in your craw?

About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

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