“It isn't the most intelligent of the species that survives; it is the one most adaptable to change.”
Whether you like it or not, the world is changing and isn't likely to stop. All industries are being disrupted to some degree.
We live in a time where evolution and advancements are happening in more industries than ever before, and part of our nature as human beings is to evolve. If you choose not to evolve with the changing world, you will slowly become extinct.
None of us are immune to it. Life is going to evolve and we will one day die. We can't escape it, but we can learn to DANCE with it.
Below, you'll see my DANCE formula for greater adaptability. But before we jump in, it's important that you are at peace with the current way that life is evolving. Acceptance of change is a key first step to being more adaptable.
Let's DANCE! First, we have to make the invisible visible.
D: Discover Adopted Patterns
In the video above, you'll see me share an exercise with the Oregon Health Care Association at their spring expo.
I have people make the sound that comes with their concept of change. Invariably, the audience makes various sounds, we all laugh, and then I explain how our sounds are connected to beliefs about change.
By discovering our adopted beliefs about change, that awareness gives us space to begin creating new, more resourceful, choices.
A: Awareness Creates ChoiceWhen you become aware of your beliefs about change, you now have choice. Once you see a pattern that's holding you back, you can't unsee it, and once you have choice, it's your responsibility to change.
Adapting to change is 100 percent an inside game, so you must learn to develop mental and emotional flexibility so you can adapt to the constant change.
Long gone are the days of slow, slithering change. If you want to increase your adaptability muscles, you must learn to become aware of the limiting patterns and choose to adopt more resourceful patterns. Then, it's time to say no.
N: No to NegativityEnergy is your primary resource when it comes to being more adaptable to change. Research is showing that your mood plays a huge part in your overall job performance. Part of the reason is because it takes up more of your brain's energy to process a negative mood than it does a positive one. If you're spending too much time in a negative mood, you are also minimizing your ability to adapt to change. By being in a positive mood, you conserve more energy that can be used in more resourceful ways. After you master your mood, it's time to . . .
C: Condition New HabitsWhen you're in the midst of change, conditioning new habits will be key to adaptation. But don't start too big too fast. My blog about dolphin training discusses how starting small and creating micro wins can help you integrate habits more successfully. Neuroscience shows that it takes an average of 66 days to build a new habit.
As with all new habits, repetition over time is essential. Focusing on small changes coupled with consistent success builds your confidence and competence to keep you motivated to condition in the new habit. Along the way, you must . . .
E: Eliminate StressBecause we live in a world of information overload, stress has become the new norm. Stress is responsible for more deaths than any other threat our world has ever seen. Stress uses your energy supplies faster than any other state of being.
Your brain doesn't know the difference between real and imagined threats. A stress response, life-threatening or not, is still a stress response and too much of it will destroy your health.
Minimizing stress will maximize adaptability. Here are three ways to minimize stress:
- Breathe deeper more often. Set an hourly reminder to build the habit.
- Meditate daily for five to 10 minutes, starting with two minutes if required. Quiet the mind to rejuvenate.
- Exercise more (at least 30 minutes per day). Find exercise that is joyful and challenging.
Practice the DANCE formula to help you become more adaptable to change. And remember, this is not a quick fix. A lifestyle change is required to create a long-term change or transformation in any area of your life.
For a deeper dive, join me at the ATD 2020 International Conference & EXPO for the session Adaptability Is the New Change.
Editor’s Note: This post was previously published on the author’s website.