Be Adaptable – The Key To Success In A Changing World

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?”

Be adaptable

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Replacing The Bathroom Faucet Gave Me A Powerful Life Lesson

We got a new faucet for the bathroom – it was such a deal that it was impossible to say no. Replace the bathroom faucet on a pedestal sink – easy peasy. The old fixture was leaking but still wasn’t that old and everything is open and easy to get at – should be a nothing event to take of the old faucet and replace it with a new one. Maybe 30 minutes – tops.

Well, we know how home repairs go. The simple process of removing the old faucet was neither simple nor a process. Rusted fittings, bent pipes. It was like trying to get a flat tire off the car without the right tools.

But after a struggle it came off. Without it, cleaning the pedestal sink was a breeze. And now with this outdated leaky faucet gone, how amazing will this be to have a shiny new non-leaking faucet. I could feel the frustration of the struggle to get the sink to let go of the old faucet fade to excitement of finishing this unpalatable task. I found myself humming.

That is until I saw it. The new faucet had one large pipe to mount to the pedestal – the pedestal had three smaller holes. As I evaluated the situation, no matter how I tried to fit the thicker stem on the faucet into the smaller center pedestal hole, it just didn’t work. All humming stopped.

Anger stops all repairs

First option. Force it. What if I just bang the faucet into the opening? Hmmm. What could happen? I could break the sink and now a free faucet will cost hundreds of dollars for a new sink. Not a good idea.

Second option – enlarge the hole. Good idea. Search the toolbox – I had never ground porcelain before so nothing I had in the toolbox seemed right. Humming moved to frustration. Frustration was brewing into anger. Words I hadn’t used in a while were rolling off my tongue in every part of speech – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs – even gerunds. My English teachers would have been so proud of effective use of grammar, tenses and parts of speech. In a huff, I headed to the hardware store to buy a grinding bit. I needed to gently widen the hole in the porcelain – too fast and it would break. If I stayed in this mood, I would break it. Calm down.

The first trip (yes, first trip – you know where this is going) to the hardware store brought back a grinding disc to use with my drill. A minute into sanding and the head of the disc broke off. I bought the cheapest one and got my money’s worth. Good thing I did not have a hammer near me – that saved me from what could have been hours repairing the hole I would have put in the wall. I found myself so angry and so frustrated over something so ridiculous. I drove back to the hardware store like a banshee – aggravated, frustrated, pissed off and completely out of control. I bought several strong grinding bits, determined not to have to shop again today.

At home, I added the bit to the drill and started. Gently rolling the grinding bit around the circle started to widen the opening. The movement around the circle created a gentle rhythm that was actually calming. I focused on the task now, almost enjoying it. After an hour of grinding gently, the opening was sufficiently wide enough and the new faucet slide perfectly into the pedestal. I connected the hoses and the faucet worked like the star it was made to be.

Why is it that we loose our cool over little things?

Life lessons are everywhere

I realized in that moment, that when life sends us challenges – like a faucet that doesn’t fit the opening in the sink – we simply need to slow down, consider our options, decide on the one we want to try and patiently go forward. There was nothing about this faucet repair that warranted my internal outbursts, anger, temper or my elaborate use of curse words, in every language. Nothing. It simply needed me to see this as just one situation needing my best response – like all other things in life. And my best response comes from managing my emotions, staying calm, gathering information, thinking it through and diligently working a plan – not in acting like an out-of-control maniac. Thank you universe – I got the message. In fact I am remind of this message every time I see or use this faucet.

So how does this event remind you of your parenting? What are the events that get you to boil over when all that is needed is to tune in calmly to see things differently?

How does this event remind you of your workplace? How do employees activate your hot buttons about things that don’t really matter?

How does this even remind you of your relationships? How do those you love do and say things that drive you crazy, when all that really happened is they just said or did something – you allowed it to drive you crazy?

I let this little household task get the best of me. But in the end I made peace with the faucet and thanked it for the lesson. Patience. Resilience. Calmness. All of these help us succeed with whatever comes our way. Get upset for the things that really require it – that probably amounts to 1% of the things in our day. For everything else, just learn the lesson of the faucet – stay calm, think it through, have a plan, work the plan then celebrate your success.

What lessons is life providing you so you can show up better on the other side?

Test Your Limits To See What You and Your Kids Are Made Of

Important lesson for our kids: Sometimes you choose to test your limits; sometimes life tests them for you.

You choose to test your limits when you volunteer for a project that will require the best in you, leave home to study for a year in a foreign country, train for a marathon or triathlon, follow your passion when others encourage you to be fit in and blend. You choose them – you want to see what you are made of.

Then there are times when Life tests you – you get sick, fail at something important, have to deal with a family divorce, bankruptcy or move away from friends and family. We can’t hide from these. You find yourself pushed past limits you have defined – limits that you would never had tested if life didn’t force you to test them.

Are You Afraid to Test Your Limits?

We create our comfort zone by defining our limits – and as long as we stay within what we have defined, life seems fine. We get comfortable and in this comfort, we start to believe this is all there is. This is how we stop dreaming and achieving.

Our brain is in on this too – it says, “stay safe, play small.” After all, a big part of our brain is committed to helping us to stay safe – to notice our world for danger and change, (particularly of pushing our limits) is danger to our brain. It says “stay away,” “do what you know,” “do what others do,” play it safe.” In the process we can miss out on building our best lives and finding out what we are really made of. We settle.

To have a brain that wants us to stay safe is a good thing. But as the ancient philosophers always shared this wisdom: “nothing too much” – we don’t have to be in fear mode all the time. This is encouraged by our 24-hour news cycle filled with news about terror and danger – encouraging us all to be more focused on danger than on living. The good news is that with awareness, we can notice when we are stuck in fear mode, when we play small and when we settle. We can then thank our brain for its intention to keep us safe and choose (on purpose) to push forward in the face of a obstacle or to push past a limit.

Help your kids be resilient

Helping our kids learn how not give in and give up when life is challenging is a critical skill. As we walk with them to help them discover what they are good at and passionate about, we help them discover and develop their “inventory of abilities” – the same abilities that they can count on and use when life shares a challenge or obstacle – to push past their limits.

As we use our abilities, we see that both we are all more capable and resilient than we thought. We can see that when we are confronted with difficult things we would never have chosen – we can and do survive – we can come through them stronger, wiser and braver. This teaches our kids and us that many of our limits are truly imaginary – they seem alive and powerful in our minds until we test them and see that they vanish.

Walking with our kids as they are forced to deal with life’s challenges trains them how to tap into their abilities – to see that many limits are only imagined. We can help them learn to discover, develop and live their unique abilities as the means to not only dealing with life’s challenges and obstacles, but to use them to invent a bold, happy, successful and responsible life. And it is the same for us.

How are you helping your kids test their limits – and in the process, test yours?

How To Love Your Kids, Even When They Drive You Crazy

Raising kids is easily one of the toughest – and best – jobs. Few other roles can make us cry with appreciation and shriek with aggravation in the same two minutes. Parenting is like a Dickens novel – it can be the best of times, it can be the worst of times. But what if there were something we could focus on in those tougher times that remind us how to be passionate about parenting and still love our kids?

In talking with thousands of parents over the past many years, I think I can summarize their collective perspective in how to still love our kids even when they drive us crazy. Try to remember these 3 things as you look into their eyes and want to shake your head in disappointment, frustration or anger. Hopefully these will help you stay focused on the power, value and benefits of being a parent.

  1. Our kids are a work in process. No matter the age, these beings are figuring out how to be human in our world. Our process of learning is one of trial and error. We try things – some work out, some don’t. Sometimes it looks like a wonderfully behaved kid as you stop to chat with a neighbor, or a kid in meltdown mode in the cereal or cookie aisle at the grocery store (and this isn’t just when kids are little…). We learn how to be in our world based on the feedback we get. We are always learning because there are always new situations. It happens to us; it happens to us. How can seeing that your child is a work in process, help you not be disappointed when things with them aren’t perfect
  1. Our kids have amazing and unique potential that is our job to help them discover and develop it. Our kids are unique – even those in the same family. No two of us are alike – that means they each will have something unique and amazing about them. They each will be good at and love some things and not others. They will each have potential that doesn’t look like any other. Some will be great in math, others will soar in technology. Some will love animals and others will want to live in the mountains, or paint, or build a business, or give tattoos, or act. Some will want to travel and others will want to live next door. Each is different and their uniqueness is their guidepost to finding their way in today’s world of choices. Our greatest role is to help them see what is amazing about them and help them learn how to build their lives around what they do best and are most interested in. They then can soar, fly and become the greatest versions of themselves, without regard to who we want them to be. How can you remember that your role is to help your child discover, develop and live what is best in him, and to use it to find his way in today’s world?
  1. Our kids teach us as much as we teach them. Don’t see this as a one-sided relationship; our kids have so much to share back with us. Tune in to what they say, do and notice – they are great at reminding us what we forgot. As we became adults, we lost a lot of the love of life – of showing up and living full out, of appreciating the little things, of noticing the important things. We learned to fit in instead of to stand out. They can remind us of what matters in life, because our world has changed our priorities for us. They can help us return to ourselves in the way that we can help them find their way in our world. Seems a great partnership. What do you regularly learn from your kids?

When your kids are challenging, stop and notice them. Look at their potential. Look at how they are still evolving. And look at what they have to teach you. In that moment, you can shift from the worst of times to the best of times.

What an amazing role we have to help another human being discover, develop and live who they really are. With such a great mission, why would you expect it wouldn’t have any challenges? Keep your cool and remember you are helping another amazing being find their way, even when they drive you crazy.

“I’ll Be Happy When…”

I’ll be happy when the people at my workplace are nicer.

I’ll be happy when my kids grow out of their teens.

I’ll be happy when we have a little more money.

I’ll be happy when our country isn’t so polarized or the world isn’t so crazy.

I’ll be happy when I get to retire.

I’ll be happy when the kids move out.

I’ll be happy when I move out.

Happiness Isn’t Just For The Future

Contingent happiness  – destined for another day – another moment. Not this one.

Of all of the things worthy of planning for the future, becoming happy isn’t one of them. Happiness belongs in this moment. Why would we ever spend a moment of life intentionally unhappy or tapping your foot waiting for happiness to find us?

Many people aspire to be happy because they believe happiness is a condition that has to be met. What if, instead, we realized that happiness isn’t conditional, but is a state of being – a choice – an attitude. I can choose to be happy in this exact moment even if my kids are not out of their teens, the people at my workplace aren’t nice, our country is polarized or I don’t have all the money I would like. Cause and effect is not the way to look at happiness.

Make Happiness Your Daily Choice

Happiness should be our approach to whatever comes our way in our day. It is our world that has told us that, in order to be happy, something first must happen. To be happy you have to meet the person of your dreams, go to a certain school, work for a certain company, drive a certain car… All just yack. All just noise.

Instead, look at the events of your life in this moment and choose to see a way to be happy. Not easy, I know. I struggle with this all the time. My brain defaults to the “I’ll be happy when….” formula. However, if I can stop and notice it, I can consider changing it.

There is no requirement that you be happy – you choose it – or not. But when you choose to be happy, everything about life changes. You’ll have access to opportunities and possibilities that the negative and unhappy mind has ruled out or refused to see.

To be ready for your great and amazing life, allow yourself to be happy without regard to what life sends you. Learn from its challenges and appreciate its successes – both are just events and neither need to dictate or influence your degree of happiness. As we learned that happiness is conditional, we can also learn that happiness is our choice – whenever and wherever we want it.



Be Unstoppable, With Justin Browning RFL002

Be Unstoppable: Episode Overview

Justin Browning, educator and athletic director at Linn Middle/High School in Linn, MO, shares with Ready4Life host, Jay Forte, how his rough start growing up in a housing project with few options, taught him to be resilient in the face of challenge and inspired him to be accountable for his own life. Its an empowering story of getting to college, completing a masters degree and coming back to schools to inspire the next generation to succeed. We learn from his road and his advice for both students and parents.


Be Unstoppable, With Justin BrowningJustin Browning is a powerhouse in his school, not just in is 6’ 5’’ football player frame, but in his sincere and powerful connection with all of the students in his school. Growing up in a housing project taught Justin to dig deep and be resilient and determined. He offers this guidance throughout our conversation to today’s young adults – that no matter how tough things seem, stay focused on what you want and keep working at it. He challenges students to stand up for what they believe in and want in their lives and to never, never, never give up on a dream. Though it may be cliche to say this, Justin shows by the events in his life that resilience and determination, coupled with clarity, will bring you to the places that matter most to you.

Parents – how can you support this message with your kids?

The ‘Stop and Notice’ Challenge

This segment is about noticing your world – about stopping and noticing – about slowing down enough to intentionally see what is in front of you. Most of us don’t do this. This takes practice; this takes effort. We know that the more we practice at things, the better we become – it is the same with stopping and noticing. So, each week I’ll provide a Stop and Notice Challenge – to help you get better.

When you learn to be more intentional about what you notice, you have access to information you didn’t previously have – that information can give you greater clarity to help you make better decisions. Notice YOU. Notice YOUR WORLD. You’ll learn a lot about both.

This week’s ‘Stop and Notice’ Challenge:

  1. What is one thing that got your attention this week?
  2. When it got your attention – ask why – of all the things you could notice, why did this catch your attention?
  3. Now, with your attention, what new information did you get about you or your world. This is how to figure out how to find your fit.

Watch and listen each week for a new challenge to help you learn how to tune in and notice things in your world – it’s a great habit to have.

Notice ‘Hot Jobs’

Each week, I’ll share a job that caught my eye – a job that is growing in need and popularity. I’ll share some details about the job, like salary, education, core responsibilities and abilities needed to do the job well. You can then see whether it fits your abilities and your interests.

Ready4Life Hot JobsMobile App Developer

  • Average salary $94k
  • Required: minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in software engineering, mobile app development, mobile computing or computer science.
  • Degrees can be earned either online or  on-campus.

There is a growing demand for this field which means there is a growing likelihood of required educational or experience certifications. Great performers in this field have the following core abilities (talents): they are methodical, creative, analytical, detail-oriented, results-focused, competent, observant, precise and careful. If this appeals, search out the locations that can get you ready for this job.


Be sure you connect your career aspirations with things you are both good at and passionate about. Focus on what fits you. Listen to your own voice.

Suggested Resources

In this episode, I introduce the great book by Barbara Sher tited, I Could Be Anything If I Just Knew What It Was. Though written in 1994, it is still just as relevant as she reminds us that choosing for ourselves requires that we know our abilities and interests. She presents a candid, no-nonsense and practical approach to learning how to figure out what in life is for you. At Ready4Life, we share her focus on discovering, developing and living your abilities and interests as the way to create your own happy and successful life. She, like Ready4Life offers specific steps in how to do it. Check out the book.

And be sure to review the 12 Entry Jobs with Big Earning Potential. This is a slideshow summary on the great website.

Important Links:

  • All Groan Up – Paul Angone – Advice for surviving your 20s
  • Life After College – Jenny Blake – Live Big After College
  • Ask The Headhunter – Nick Corcodilos – Important information about getting a job
  • Campus to Career – Kirk Baumann – practical information to move into the job market
  • Sumry – Nate Hanson – Land your dream job

Key People To Follow:

  • Tom V Morris – Philosopher, Consultant to Fortune 100 companies, wise man
  • Britt Hysen – Editor in Chief of MiLLENiAL – lifestyle and cultural magazine highlighting millennials’ contribution to today’s world.

Download our Ready4Life Navigation Guide – it will explain how to use our  Ready4Life GPS – to connect you to the tools to know yourself, know your world so you can find your fit.


How To Succeed With Challenges

Sometimes life seems to be too much. Relationships fall apart. We get sick. We fail at something at school. We get embarrassed. Life seems so unfair.

Actually, life just is – you interpret it as either fair or unfair

You can, however, get very affected by the events and situations of life. They can wear you down and trip you up – and make it difficult to land on your feet and keep going.

Without some tips on how not to let life’s events overwhelm you, you’ll just play the negative news over and over in your head. Pretty soon it goes so loud in there that you just can’t stand it. This is how life’s little events turn into big events, and big events never leave. They control the volume and ensure they get your full attention.

Between the technology and a busy life, you don’t ever get a chance to quiet things down. There is always some texting, calling, emailing or tweeting. There is always someone telling you do this, don’t do that, go here, don’t go there. Sure this is part of being in our world but for you to ever make sense of the events of your life, you’ll need to create some limits.

3 Tips to help you succeed with challenges

  1. Tune out to tune in. Tune out of your noisy, pushy and loud world to tune in to you. Build in some time each disconnected from technology and your world. Find a place to walk, sit, meditate, close your eyes, connect with nature – do something that allows you to spend quiet time with you. In creating some boundaries in life, you will give yourself the time and space to sort out life’s challenges. You can’t do this if you have the world and technology blaring in your ear every moment.
  2. Gather information. As life send you challenges, try to step out of them and look at them as an outsider. What information do you see? What options and opportunities come to light when you aren’t so involved and when you can see if more clearly, rationally, and calmly? You can see that before you can gather information, you really need to tune out.
  3. Make a plan. When you are clear, decide what you want to do and the first steps to get it done. Then go make it happen.

Notice, all of these are just ways to help you stay calm, gather information and use your best abilities to create a way to succeed with whatever life sends. Know you are braver, more talented and wiser that you sometimes think. Access this by taking the time, gathering information and building a plan. Go be great.