Life throws things in our way – roadblocks. We start something only to find that we can’t seem to achieve it, connect with it, finish it, make money from it, stay in relationship with it – have things go the way we want. The way to thrive – and to be ready for life – is to learn to ask ourselves this question in these situations: What is another way to do, view or consider this?
Our go-to, default response isn’t always the best one or the one that works. But when many of us meet an obstacle, we back down, quit, give up or just say “why bother?”
I teach a youth leadership program. Some of the students wanted to host a particular event as part of their required community service project at a local venue. The venue manager said no to their idea and the students were ready to quit the program.
A colleague friend of mine was interested in getting a new idea implemented in his workplace. He was convinced it would make the difference he wanted to make to improve a process that directly affected customers. He brought the idea to his manager who said no to the idea. He called me to vent and to say, “why bother?”
All that has happened in these situations is that they bumped into a block – a challenge or an obstacle. How committed are we to our plan, idea or thought if at the first encounter of an obstacle or that someone says no, we drop it and give up?
They say that challenges and obstacles are life’s greatest learning situations – not when things go our way – but when things don’t go our way. These force us to rethink and reconsider. These force us to be resilient and adaptable.
Challenges test our resolve
How committed and passionate we are about an idea, a project or even a relationship influences the energy we bring to it? This is the reason we always talk about passions when we talk about abilities. Someone may have the abilities to do something but without the fuel – the passion – an obstacle can shut them down. The more passionate and committed they are, the more adaptable, resilient and tenacious they become.
To build your adaptability muscle, consider the following:
- Check in on your motives. How badly do you want this? See the value and impact of what you are doing to find the energy and resilience to keep pushing forward. If you don’t really believe in what you are doing, every obstacle will be enough to shut you down. If it truly doesn’t matter, let it go. If it truly does matter, keep pushing for it.
- Have a plan B. Life just doesn’t always go as planned; we know this but yet we still are disappointed when things don’t go our way. Go into your situations knowing you many need to shift to another plan or direction so have one in mind. By creating a plan B, you are also expanding your understanding of your situation to be able to see greater opportunities.
- Find an adaptability mentor. Who inspires you not to give in, but rather to keep going, find a way and be resilient? Whose life story or circumstances show you that we all have the ability of dealing with what life sends us. Use their story and success to stay focused, get back up and find another way.
To be ready for life requires that you be flexible, resilient and adaptable. These are “got to have” abilities to be part of a changing and dynamic world. If one road is blocked, don’t give up – simply tap into your inner genius to find another way.