The Willow in the Winds

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It’s easy to get stuck in our ways and firmly cling to our plans and ideas, but the currents of life don’t always go the way we imagine. Winds change, things happen, and our plans get blown askew. Being able to go with the flow and ride the gusts can reduce our stress and even yield rewards potentially greater than what we had expected.

With a new year upon us, what better time to practice yoga of the mind and abandon our adherence to rigidity? If the past two years showed anything, it’s that we should be prepared for the unexpected, to tackle uncertainty without loss of composure. In doing so, we could inspire our teams and loved ones to also shrug the small stuff and dare to explore paths untrodden.

Author Harvey Deutschendorf suggests that in order to practice mental flexibility, we must leave our comfort zones. If we have a regular weekly commute, perhaps we try a different route today. Order a different item from our favorite restaurant. Read a book from a genre we don’t usually delve into. If we work remotely, maybe take our laptop to a park and work there—shake things up!

Executive Consultant Jennifer Jones advises in her TED Talk that to be more adaptable, we must know how to manage our fear of unfamiliar paths. Jones notes that it’s easier to continue doing things as we’ve always done them than it is to try new approaches unless we firmly commit to change.

Granted, we’re creatures of habit–but we don’t have to stay that way. If we aren’t normally adaptable to the unfamiliar, we don’t need to immediately throw ourselves into the chilling deep end of that pool. Rather, grab onto a railing and gradually step into the undulating water.

Today, if someone suggests a harmless change to an established plan, assess any reasons beyond our discomfort to say no. If no other reason exists, then go with it. Dare to venture beyond the valley of mediocrity and flow with the winds of adventure.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
— Bruce Lee

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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