How Important is Flexibility and Adaptability?

By Linda Lord

By definition, flexibility is the capacity to be bent, usually without breaking and adaptability is the ability to adjust oneself readily to different conditions. In a time of unrest and rapid change, these two skills are becoming increasingly valuable at work and home.

When I was growing up on the farm, my mother would often ask my father what he planned for the day. His answer usually involved a combination of indoor and outdoor activities and then he would add, “depending on the weather”. That taught me that plans can change and we had to be able to change with them.

There were summer days when I expected to be in the field helping with wheat harvest only to get rained out and find myself at a restaurant having lunch with my parents instead. I have also been caught hoping that I would get a day off because rain was predicted, only to be told we were heading to the field. The quality of my day in either case was how adaptable and flexible I was. Circumstances changed and I had to be ready to adapt.

If there is one thing that farming can teach you, besides humility, it is to be flexible and adaptable (I know that is technically two things, but for my purposes I choose to see them as essentially the same adjective).

When applying this lesson to today’s marketplace, it is essential that regardless of age, we seek to develop these skills. Potentially, the older we are the more difficult it is, but I believe that the desire to learn to roll with life can go a long way in getting us to the goal. Being flexible and adaptable increase our employability because employers know they can depend on us to be steady during turbulent times. It also demonstrates our ability to cope with new and changing responsibilities. As business owners, we can manage our stress more effectively by being able to handle what life throws at us.

About Linda Lord As a Human Agriculturalist and Storytiller: Linda produces presentations that grow people. She fertilizes the performance ground with H.O.P.E. (honesty, optimism, perspective, and experience) and plants seeds of L.I.F.E. (laughter, information, focus, and encouragement) that cultivate the individual's ability to C.O.P.E. (clarify, organize, plan, and engage). Linda integrates meaningful content with her experience as a workshop leader, business person, and performer. Her delivery is dynamic, interactive, and entertaining. Participants reflect on character, circumstances and choices to enhance their soft skills. Linda can be contacted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or by phone 1.519.257.7363.

By Adam

April 04, 2011