Adaptability is a term often reserved for the workplace, but its relevance extends far beyond that. Earlier this year, I penned a blog post about “being in the weeds,” a phrase frequently used by restaurant workers to describe the struggle of keeping up with demands. While initially geared toward work-life, the concept of adaptability readily applies to personal situations as well.
Recently, upheaval has become a constant companion in our lives. To summarize our predicament: we rent our home as we dream of building our ideal one. Unsure of our exact requirements, renting seemed prudent. However, our current rented home is now up for sale in a hot market, prompting us to search for a new rental. Buying was considered but didn’t align with our long-term goals. Then, our trusty, fully paid-off vehicle decided to break down, further complicating our plans.
These curveballs threw our well-laid plans into disarray. Isn’t that life, though?
I found myself in a state of panic, grappling with the sudden influx of challenges and overwhelmed by potential solutions. Here are the steps I took to regain control—a set of tips that might help you navigate life’s unexpected twists:
1. Stop and Take Inventory
Life often seems to adhere to the adage, “When it rains, it pours.” Unexpected obstacles can derail our well-charted paths. Having adaptability to change isn’t always easy, and abrupt turns can leave us flustered. In such moments, the instinct to quell the chaos is strong. However, imagine your problems as a grease fire. Rushing to extinguish it with panic, like throwing water on grease, can escalate the situation. It might even cause an explosion!
When life resembles a grease fire, take a moment. Breathe deeply. While it might seem counterintuitive to pause, allowing your thoughts to catch up can simplify the decision-making process.
2. Do Not Solve Major Problems on an Empty Stomach
Attempting to resolve problems in an emotional state is a recipe for disaster. Your ability to tackle life’s challenges improves after nourishing yourself and getting adequate sleep. Self-care may sometimes appear selfish or unproductive, but you can’t effectively address problems without first caring for yourself.
Think of the airplane safety demonstration: “Secure your own mask before assisting others.” If you pass out, you can’t help anyone else. Prioritize self-care before tackling life’s challenges or aiding those around you. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. In fact it’s a huge act of love that you want to be your best self for those around you.
Having adaptability also includes the wisdom to know when you are and are not capable of making decisions and removing the obstacles that make those decisions difficult.
3. Let Go of What You Can’t Control
Blaming yourself or others won’t prevent the problem or turn back time. Focus your limited energy on practical, actionable solutions, even if they don’t align with your desires. Weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Avoid dwelling in doubt, anger, or betrayal. While it’s essential to validate and explore these emotions at times, important life decisions are best made when emotions are more manageable. And if you’re at a point where you really cannot control the panic or overwhelm, stop and take a moment. The problems will still be there after that moment is over, and you will be more capable of making a logical decision.
4. Focus on One Problem at a Time
For those who tend to see the bigger picture, multiple problems simultaneously can feel overwhelming. Choose the most pressing issue and create an action plan for it. Once you’ve tackled that, move on to the next. Organize a system to address the remaining challenges methodically.
We aren’t superheroes; we must maximize productivity.
5. Make an Action Plan and Take it One Step at a Time
Develop a step-by-step action plan. Sometimes, you can see the entire situation clearly, but at other times, it’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment, or even minute-by-minute process. Wherever you are, embrace it. Keep moving forward, even if progress is slow. Above all, resist panic.
Remember, nothing lasts forever. Eventually, this challenging phase will pass. You’ve just got to adjust your perspectives that allow you to be more adaptable!
You’ve got this!