Stay Committed, But Stay Flexible

Flexible people don’t get bent out of shape.

You don’t need anyone telling you that the world is changing and changing faster than ever before. You’ve probably read several books or listened to several speakers say exactly that.

The trouble is, that’s about all most books and speakers say. What you really need to know is “how” to manage the change.

Let me suggest three tips from my program on “Mastering Change.” First, GET SOME PRACTICE. Think about it. Almost everything you do and do well, you do so because you practiced that skill at some point in life.

The same should be true of change. You’d be good at change if you practiced change. Most organizations, however, skip the practice phase and simply announce the change and expect it to happen. No wonder employees get so bent out of shape.

You could get some change practice by just changing your morning routine. If you’re like most people, you prepare for work every morning the same way. You eat the same food, drive the same route, and listen to the same radio station. Try getting up a half-hour earlier, eat out at a restaurant, take a walk, call your Mom, anything, but break the routine and practice change.

Second, STAY CALM, even though you may not feel calm. Change has a way of unnerving a lot of people, but it helps an awful lot to have a strong and growing faith. Like Mother Teresa said: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

There will be times when you don’t get your way. There will be times when you get rejected. But again, flexible people don’t get bent out of shape. Flexible people just tell themselves “sw, sw, sw” or “some will, some won’t, so what.”

Finally, APPLY A CREATIVE SOLUTION TO YOUR SITUATION. Be like the teacher who found a creative way to handle the parent-teacher conference. The teacher said the good news is your child has a lot of creative ideas. The bad news is they’re all in spelling.

Gary Froehlich showed his flexibility when he and his wife were on vacation. When their car license plate was stolen, he taped a sign over the empty license plate space and drove all the way home without a single trooper stopping him. But a lot of other motorists went out of their way to honk and wave when they read Gary’s sign that read “Just Married.”

Action:  Two days this week, change your routine. Get some change practice. And then notice the difference in your feelings and energy throughout the day. You’ll get a little lift on the days you break your routine.