How’s your flexibility? No, not “can you reach your toes”, but mental flexibility? Turns out it is important in a variety of ways, and here I want to discuss how flexibility can enhance your career experience.
So what is being flexibly ‘fIt’? According to Wikipedia, “flexibility is a personality trait that describes the extent to which a person can cope with changes in circumstances and think about problems and tasks in novel, creative ways.”
Career experts agree that being flexibly fit will be among your greatest attributes in today’s ever-changing times. So, start your new year by taking the flexibility test to see just how well you’ll positioned for dealing with change in the coming year and what you can do if you don’t score well.
Grab a notepad and give yourself from 1 – 5 on the following questions, with 5 being the most like you. As always, being brutally honest is best because anything else only clouds the important insight that is best for your personal and professional growth.
1. I’m constantly learning from others ways to improve my performance.
2. I’m learning new things about my clients/colleagues that change the way I interact with them.
3. I can’t wait for new ideas to come from others.
4. I don’t allow myself to get set in a routine so each day is new.
5. When attempting to influence I do more listening than talking.
6. In meetings, I take notes on diverse thinking.
7. I like many of my tried and true methods of influencing others.
8. I have a pretty core group of colleagues on whom I rely.
9. I read at least two news periodicals every day.
10. When something new is announced, it’s me who helps promote it.
If your score was…
45-50 You may actually be too flexible. While flexibility is important, being this flexible could work to your disadvantage. Some things require taking a stand and knowing which of those things to stand for will make a critical difference in the quality of your performance and your perceived value.
30-44 You seem to demonstrate a balance of flexibility. There are likely tings that you may adapt, but not totally change, yet seem willing to give new thinking a good genuine try.
20-29 You apparently have some pretty fixed ideas and that may not always serve you well. It would be to your advantage in the coming year to work on being more flexible. Check your list to see where improvement is most needed.
5-19 Others likely see you as very opinionated and unwilling to bend. This lack of flexibility will definitely make life more difficult for you in a rapidly changing world. What will you do about it?
1. No one person has all the answers or all of the knowledge. Being flexible enough to listen—truly listen—to other people’s points of view is critical to determining when to change your own views.
2. Your colleagues and clients are not static thinkers and doers. Not if they’re successful. Thus, it is important to assert yourself enough to solicit their current thinking in order to be sure you are staying on top of the changes impacting their needs.
3. Others often get leading edge information. Being open to hearing their insights gives you time to adapt to pending changes. That’s to everyone’s benefit.
4. Routines can be good and they can be bad. Too much routine can make you boring and dated. Change in routine will keep you fresh and more on your toes. Even if it’s merely taking a new route to work each week.
5. Listening is the critical key to pending change. The more you listen, the less you’ll be caught off guard.
6. Writing things down tends to embed them in your memory. It also gives you time to evaluate new thinking and adopt it.
7. Don’t fall in love with your comfortable way of doing things. That’s the best way to get stuck in a rut.
8. Having a core group of colleagues is admirable, but seeking out new people definitely does more to broaden your horizon. Reach out to add new people to your core and you’ll get more of what’s new.
9. That’s why they call it “news.” Without reading news publications, how can you be up on the latest, thus ready for change?
10. Your visible support of new ideas and concepts positions you as someone who is flexibly fit.
There is no doubt that we live in a rapidly changing world where flexibility is becoming more and more critical to success. Like any other exercise, balance is important. Exercise your flexible fitness with balance and you will be more likely to ride the wave of success.
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