When we can accept change, learn from it, and become all the better for experiencing it, change is no longer our enemy. It becomes our teacher.~ Vishnu
If you have ever ridden a bicycle, you get the idea behind balance and movement. It requires that you guide it back and forth with minute corrective motions to keep it moving forward and keep it (and you!) from falling over. It demands a constant awareness (conscious at first, then unconscious with experience) of having to make changes and remain open to what adjustments the terrain requires.
What is Flexibility?
Flexibility is defined as: “the quality of bending easily without breaking; the ability to be easily modified and a willingness to change or compromise.”
The definition implies being able to easily navigate change with fluidity and grace similar to the dance of riding your bike to keep moving forward and remain upright.
Personal Traits of Flexibility
Someone who is flexible:
- knows and trusts in their own ability to accurately discern good choices;
- has cultivated tolerance for imperfections and the unexpected;
- possesses a heart-based empathic quality that allows them to feel what others are feeling;
- can navigate change with a positive perspective and see the glass half full;
- maintains a healthy respect for others and attempts to understand, and allow choices that might not be something they would have chosen.
The flip side of flexibility can be seen in behaviours of someone who is rigid, feels competitive, is unhappy with things as they are, is often aloof and rejecting of others and who has issues deciding a satisfactory course of action.
Putting Flexibility to Work in the Work-Life Balance Equation
Here are some helpful ways to cultivate flexibility in your life to teach yourself how to flow with whatever is happening and find balance even when it may seem elusive.
- When called to be flexible in order to maintain your dynamic work-life balance situation, take a deep breath, pause and ask:
In this particular situation, what is the best course of action to create a response that is intelligent, aware and insightful?
- Let go of perfectionism and allow your expectations to be realistic and reasonable. Consider the potential in having no expectations of a situation (home life, work situation) – let the outcomes be without controlling them. Save your energy for navigating the changes.
- When change does come your way, embrace it and see yourself as bending around it rather than fighting against it and refusing to see what is being asked of you and be conscious of how it holds a dynamic opportunity for your evolution and growth.
- Take the time to look at the whole picture of change when it happens and unhook from the rigid frustration or anger or anxiety created by circumstances that do not happen according to your timetable…breathe, allow
- Change your perception of what appears to not be working out. Give yourself permission to be open to a new life experience that might present fresh possibilities and opportunities.
- Recognise that with every new event that seems to be taking you off your path, you are growing resilience that helps you meet each new change with adeptness and capability and less fear and more peace and confidence.
- Engage a daily practice of breathwork, meditation to give you a pool of calm and quiet from which to gracefully draw when you need to find inner strength in the midst of chaos.
- ‘Be like water’ (Bruce Lee) and embrace impermanence as you flow with what is. Look for the flow in all situations.
A flexible response is vital to finding the fluid point of balance between work and life demands. Experience in life teaches us that, just like riding a bike, no one has everything perfectly worked out all the time and everything is in a state of flux.
Once you accept that things are never going to be perfect or static for long, you can lean into the waves of change and chaos and still remain dynamically balanced in your life. You can learn to give yourself the space to move in and out of challenges as easily as you breathe.