Thursday, March 8, 2012

Flex your way to success

Flexibility has never been one of my strong points. When I took ballet, I always envied the girls who had the high arabesques or grand ronde de jambs. I had the desire, even the tenacity, just not the elastic muscles, it seemed. With lots of practice and patience, I did get a lot better. I was no Gumby, though.

I no longer do ballet, but I still have the flexibility issue, except this time it’s not physical, it’s emotional. Today I envy the laid back people who aren't bothered by change or obstacles. I’d like to be able to “roll with the punches” better than I do.

I’ve been trying to improve it cognitively, but the only way to really improve it is experientially. Just like in ballet, you have to “practice,” which involves stretching yourself to get better.

One medical dictionary defines flexibility as “the quality of being readily bent without tendency to break.” Indeed, many people are broken by their lack of flexibility. In this day and age, it is not only a vital career skill, it’s a vital life skill.

Abby Kohut, or Absolutely Abby, as she’s better known, talks a lot about flexibility in the corporate world. In her post, Hurdles or Opportunities, she mentions how during interviews potential bosses will test your “The goal is for you to demonstrate your friendliness and flexibility at all times and NEVER act as if you are irritated with or impatient about their decisions, because that will take you out of the running faster than you can imagine. Instead, keep smiling and keep the stories you share during your interviews consistent. Most of all, enjoy the journey…”

It’s funny because as I was writing this post, my boyfriend happened to see what I was writing and said he disagreed. He pointed out the other evening when I was cooking dinner.

Every Friday I like to cook a new dish. It’s always an adventure, because I’m not the most experienced in the kitchen. This past Friday I made salmon. I quickly realized I didn’t have all the tools necessary for the dish. He laughed incredulously as I fumbled with a dull knife to cut off the skin. He said he watched as I made do with what I had. We wolfed it down. It turned out incredible.

I point this out not just because I’m proud of my dish, but because I think everyone can point to a time when they were more flexible than other times. Everyone has the capacity for rolling with the punches. Being relaxed and open are two of the keys I can think of. When I’m rigid and close-minded it makes it near impossible to roll with the punches. When I’m relaxed and open to new possibilities it is much easier.

Things are always going to change. The ability to take things as they come is a valuable life and career skill. I’m trying to figure out how to keep my cooking mindset. Keeping a light heart and relaxed spirit seems to be the trick.

c. 2012

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