- Developing mental adaptability is increasingly important in order to survive and thrive in our rapidly and radically changing world of work.
Adaptability is the capacity to deal with the pressures and stresses of changes in life, both positive and negative, whilst continuing to achieve your key goals in a world of challenging uncertainties and ambiguity.
- What does the energy map of your typical day look like?
- Energy Level – how energising or depleting did each of the different activities feel for you?
- Decisions – to what extent did each activity involve assessing choices and decision-making?
- Uncertainty – how did the level of certainty or uncertainty impact upon how you felt and your energy?
- Comfort Zone – how much was the activity within or outside your comfort zone?
- Adaptable Attitude
The aim is to be more aware of your responses by looking at how your attitude might relate to decisions you make and any anxiety you might feel in the face of uncertainty. Essentially, ask yourself – “How adaptable am I in terms of what comes more easily to me and what is a challenge?”
- “Highly Adaptive Attitude” means that, in times of uncertainty and ambiguity, you are likely to be good at making decisions and supporting others in decisions they make. In addition, you are likely to be confident in your ability to deal with your choices and their consequences. Also of being aware of the need to review them in the light of new information or changing conditions. At the same time being less likely to feel disrupted by the turbulence of change and maintain coping strategies, adapting your approach and shifting your priorities, in the face of pressures/stress that can associated with changing times.
- “Adaptive Worrier” indicates that, in times of uncertainty and ambiguity, you can continue to make decisions, but may find yourself worrying about whether these were the right decisions. In addition, you are likely to spend energy on reviewing and justifying decision, even without evidence of need to revise decision. This worrying may distract from time to maintain personal resilience routines (exercise, sleep, optimal nutrition, life balance (extending work hours). Likely to experience higher levels of strain in face of change.
- “Un-adaptive Anxious” indicates that, in times of uncertainty and ambiguity, you struggle to make decisions although recognise the need to adapt. Likely to find yourself prone to ‘analysis paralysis’ and procrastination about what to do and what might be the ‘best’ decision. This worrying may distract from time to maintain personal resilience routines (exercise, sleep, optimal nutrition, life balance (extending work hours). Likely to experience overload in the face of the disruption to normal work responses as well as higher levels of strain.
- “Un-adaptive Avoidant” Will tend to resist change and persists with old responses (behavioural/mental scripts – which will be explained later), ignoring consequences or blaming others for problems or failures. Will be prone to stress as effectiveness decreases your sense of loss of control will increase, potentially leading to overwhelm.
- Human beings have a passion for control
Its important to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of our need to control things which can lead to resisting change. There are real physical and psychological reasons why it can feel easier to do nothing, but this is unlikely to be a successful strategy.
Happiness researcher and Harvard Psychologist, Dan Gilbert has written that “human beings come into the world with a passion for control, they go out of the world the same way, and research suggests that if they lose their ability to control things at any point between their entrance and their exit, they become unhappy, helpless, hopeless, and depressed.” We want to be able to imagine the future, and we want to be able to prepare for it. Uncertainty makes this awfully hard.
- We generalise into the future what has worked in the past
By learning to stay connected to the non-verbal parts of your brain, as well as the rational, you’ll not only expand your range of choices and prevent you from continually repeating earlier mistakes.
- The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t
We tend to underestimate our resilience – we could get more out of seeing challenges, facing the unknown and struggling than staying where we are, but our default is likely to be to “Stay where/how I am now”. The way we frame a change has a huge impact on whether we’ll actually make it. It’s worth questioning your assumptions about what the future might look like if you made a change and how keenly you’d feel the sacrifices involved.
- Sunk Cost Effect – why we feel a loss when dealing with change.
We hate seeing financial and emotional investments go to waste. To understand why it’s so hard to give up what we have in exchange for something that seems better, even when we say we want to, we need to consider how humans behave when engaging in transactions — whether that’s getting paid £5 in a lab experiment or selling your home. One reason is the sunk cost effect, which describes the way we resist abandoning a course of action — even though it’s not serving us anymore — because we’ve invested so much in it.
- Without developing an Autotelic Personality, you will never scratch the surface of your true potential nor live true to your values.
Autotelic Personalities Are Characterised By:
Curiosity: an insatiable desire to learn and discover.
Low self-centeredness: In the flow state, an autotelic experience, the sense of self
Openness to experience: APs expand their possibilities, learn from others, adapt to new situations, and adopt new idea.
Action-orientation: The colloquial term “go with the flow” does NOT apply. APs flirt with the edge of their abilities.
High in hope for success and low in fear of failure; positivity.
Internal locus of control: Compared to external locus of control—which is the belief that results are controlled by powerful others, environmental influences, or chance—individuals who adopt an internal locus of control believe outcomes and events are in their control. A higher likelihood of participating in hobbies and of taking on challenges.
Persistence: A disposition to actively seek and create optimal challenges.
- Keep Your Confidence High and Your Progress Moving
It really is obvious how mindset can impact every part of your life. Whether you feel like you are stuck and can’t change, or whether you feel like you can make a difference if you can keep plugging away, these attitudes determine a lot about where you will eventually be.
A strong self-confidence helps keep you on track with all the ambitions you have in your life. And a lack of it can stop you right in your tracks.-Action #1 – Spend Time on Yourself
Spending even just five minutes a day on yourself makes a big difference in your attitude and well-being. Give yourself the first 5-15 minutes of each day and do this exercise.
- Get an old-fashioned pen and paper (you could use your phone, but you’re likely to get distracted).
- Set a timer (again, even 5 minutes will do the trick if that’s all you have).
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Write down at least 3 ways you’ve worked toward positive things in your life.
-Action #2 – Take Failures in Your Stride – a growth mindset
- If you hit a stumbling block, miss an opportunity, or make a mistake at work/home, take a minute to think about just how disastrous it really is.
- Are you going to die? Will you lose your home? No? Then, you’re going to be ok.
- It’s important not to be fixated on the past. Everybody has failed at something or another, and prior experiences can definitely affect your mindset and keep you down.
- ‘Beginners Mindset’ – seeing the world anew “as if” you know nothing.
Your own familiarity with a topic can obscure your ability to see simple answers right in front of you (remember what we said about ‘scripts’). The question is: How can you cultivate an outside perspective, so that you’re able to see those simple answers even when you are an expert?
Enter “beginner’s mind,” a concept from Zen Buddhism that describes constantly seeing the world anew, as if you didn’t know anything about it. Steve Jobs brought it to his work at Apple; Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff has said he tries to adopt this mindset as well.
One way to develop a beginner’s mind is through mindfulness. Mindfulness training can help counteract “cognitive rigidity,” which happens when we automatically recall what we’ve seen before to explain what we’re seeing right now.
- The way to get better at change is to get outside your comfort zone
When we intentionally (and even unintentionally) put ourselves in situations that are outside our comfort zone – we grow. We have a mental and physical tendency to seek stability. This means that it often feels like “better the devil we know” not just because of familiarity and desire for stability but because we underestimate our capacity to adapt to unfamiliar and adverse situations. One of the key strategies for positive behavioural adaptation (the habits for which we have considered already) is to utilise our systems (mind-body systems) programming to seek stability, not to hold us back but to our advantage, to help us develop.
- Strategies to overcome your obstacles
Practice getting outside your comfort zone
one of the reasons we avoid change is the ambiguity that comes with it. We don’t know exactly what will happen. If we become afraid and let this fear stop us. This may sound counter intuitive but one way to fight the fear is to practice doing more things that scare us. Think of it like lifting weights: We’re strengthening emotional muscles.
Write down one thing you can do in the next month that scares you, whether it’s rock-climbing, saying “no” to someone, or going out to dinner alone. Afterward, write down how taking this leap made you feel.Then, why not do it again next month, and the month after that. Imagine what things will look like after the change.
Finding motivation with a clear picture
Also for many of us, the idea of making a change brings up feelings of fear and discomfort. It takes motivation to push past those emotional obstacles to keep going. In these moments, nothing spurs us on more than having a clear picture of how much better things will be on the other side.
Choose the right support network.
Change can be lonely when you try to handle it all by yourself. It helps to recruit people who can act as sounding boards and help you stay motivated. There are no brownie points for going it alone.
Write down the names of two people who can give you a pep talk when you need it. Now write down two other people who would be great at helping you talk things through when you’re suffering a crisis of confidence or hit a roadblock.
Expect failure — and don’t let it stop you.
When we find the courage to try something new and it doesn’t work out, it can knock the wind out of our sails. We may question whether the change is worth it, or even possible. But what if failure weren’t such a shock to our system? What if we expected to fail, sometimes spectacularly, on the path to achieving our goals? What if we focused on how to respond to failure rather than how to avoid it?Think of what we have said about growth mindsets. Now reflect on a recent mistake and examine it for what you’ve learned. Then try again, using that experience.
If you need help picking yourself back up, Call on your support network to buoy you.
Spark your motivation by refocusing on the vision you created for your future.
Renew energy and optimism by identifying one small step you can take to move forward.
And keep finding opportunities to get more comfortable with discomfort.
Feel Good recipes
Fruit and almond granola
5 ½ cups traditional rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 ½ cups chopped almonds
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup chopped dried apricots
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, applesauce and honey until thoroughly combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, until all of the oats are moistened. Spread on the prepared pan in an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and turn the granola over very carefully using a wide spatula (you’ll probably need to do this in sections). Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
- Cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Break up the granola into chunks and stir in the almonds, dried cranberries and apricots. Store in an airtight container.
Butternut squash soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, chopped fine
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), cut in half lengthwise, and each half cut in half widthwise; seeds and strings scraped out and reserved (about ¼ cup)
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium-low heat until foaming. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the squash scrapings and seeds, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns saffron color, about 4 minutes.
- Add the water and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, place the squash cut-side down in a steamer basket, and lower the basket into the pot. Cover and steam until the squash is completely tender, about 30 minutes. take the pot off the heat, and use tongs to transfer the squash to a rimmed baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scrape the flesh from the skin. Reserve the squash flesh in a bowl and discard the skins.
- Strain the steaming liquid through a mesh strainer into a second bowl; discard the solids in the strainer. (You should have 2½ to 3 cups of liquid.) Rise and dry the pot.
- Puree the squash in batches in a blender or food processor, pulsing and adding enough reserved steaming liquid to obtain a smooth consistency. Transfer the puree to the pot and stir in the remaining steaming liquid, cream, and brown sugar. Warm the soup over medium-low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste. Serve immediately. Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.
Black bean burgers
2 cups rinsed, drained canned black beans, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
- Place 1 1/2 cups beans, garlic, and salt in a bowl; partially mash with a fork. Place 1/2 cup remaining beans and egg white in a food processor; process 30 seconds or until well combined. Add bean puree to mashed beans in bowl, and stir until combined. Add cheese and onion to bean mixture; stir until combined.
- Divide bean mixture into four equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch thick patty. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of each patty in cornmeal.
- Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Top each patty with 1 tablespoon sour cream and extra cheese if desired.