Flexibility is the key to growth, adaptability is what you need to sustain
When I was just five years old my parents picked up and moved us out of the concrete jungle of Manhattan and to the urban-suburban quarters Miami, Florida. At that young of an age, a drastic change like that is not something that you come to expect. There was no “let’s have a talk”, there was no warning; just one day my brother and I were told that we were taking a “trip” to see grandma, all we had to do was back our book bags. Yet by the next week our entire apartment arrived at grandma’s house in a big truck. Ever since then and up until my senior year of high school, the longest that I’ve ever lived in a single home or neighborhood has been a max of 4 years, with 2 years being the average stay in one house. My parents moved a lot, not because they were frivilous hippies (although they had tendencies), but because my mother was always in search of something better, schools that were safer, and rent that was cheaper. Divorce also played a part in it years later. Regardless, I’m used to change and I grew up learning to be flexible.
While my mother’s sole goal was to shelter us from the harsh realities of an American life when you’re not wealthy, what she actually cultivated in me was flexibility and adaptability. When you grow up with change being the only thing constant in your life, your whole mentality becomes flexible and you adapt to your surroundings quicker than the average human being. This has helped me in life and in business growth.
Personal and business growth are all about the internal views that you adopt for yourself and how you chose to lead with those views. In the book Mindset, Carol Dwek writes about the fixed and growth mindset in individuals. The fixed mindset is one that believes that people are and should be the way they were written. With the fixed mindset you can only work with the certain amount of intelligence that you were given and there’s no opportunity for gaining greater intelligence. As Dwek points out, this creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over, leaving you unacceptable to change and ultimately growth. On the other hand, the growth mindset is based on the belief that basic qualities (such as intelligence) are things that you can cultivate through your efforts. In other words, everyone can grow through change and experience. I subscribe to the growth mindset, in fact I live it.
Everyday my life is changing. I inflict change upon myself in my own life. Perhaps it is all due to my childhood circumstance of constant change, but change is the one thing that makes me feel at peace. I’ve allowed change to become a part of me and to help me grow personally and professionally.
Without the embrace of change there are a number of successes that would not have been granted to me. One of the biggest changes that I had to make was deciding to pursue a location independent life and the launch of my own content strategy firm. Whether you call it growing pains or growing gains, growth is one thing that I have attained through my flexibility and my ability to adapt quickly. The need to be flexible and adaptable in business is essential for a certain few reasons that I have learned.
Flexibility and adaptability will help you to:
Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes
Flexibility allows you to work with multiple types of clients and personalities. There’s never a perfect client and when working on independent contracts, there is a need to put yourself in your client’s shoes and in your client’s company culture. You can only do this with the right amount of flexibility.
Be Comfortable Wearing Many Hats
When running your own company, there is a need to be in a lot of places at once. Especially at the beginning stages when you’re trying to meet potential customers, you will have to explore and network at different events and functions. You have to be flexible and accepting of the type of people you will meet. Some clients may not be your best friends, but they may turn out to be valuable partners for your business.
Identify Change and Embrace It
Adapting to new environments and new projects will be key, but also adapting to changes and demands of the marketplace will be essential for your sustainability. If the marketplace is moving people off of email and into text/chat communication and you refuse to adapt, you will certainly get left behind. Even if you’re uncomfortable with adapting, stay aware of what’s changing and be ahead of the curve. There are ways you can keep up with the change without having to go too far out of your comfort zone, but you will only be able to do this if you know what’s happening around you.
Sometimes you can’t dig your heels too far into the ground. At times you have to be quick on your feet and ready to jump. When starting out, you’re usually in a place of seeing what the marketplace wants and going where the market takes you. You have to be ready for anything, but you should also focus on the goal and mission that you have at hand. Being able to double dutch between the two sides is key to growing and sustaining yourself over time.
Flexibility and adaptation go hand in hand. Coming from someone who lives and breathes changes, being able to pivot and mend myself in with the changes has helped me tremendously in life and in the launch of my own business. With the digital and mobile media worlds changing everyday, it’s only essential that I maintain flexibility and adaptability. As described in the growth mindset, everyone can grow through change and experience.
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