What Being Adaptable Really Means


What Is the ADAPTABILITY Theme

People with the strength of Adaptability come alive during change, they are energized by it and actually thrive in it.  Where some people stress-out, they dive in.  They are great at moving with life and taking things as they come, which speaks to their profound open-mindedness.  Their perspective is such that every moment holds the seed of possibility for an even greater moment, so, they resist making rigid plans.  Why?  Because, what if something incredible pops up along the way.  They love knowing that they can take detours, follow their noses, and go with the flow.  For, their aliveness is found in their ability to have and make choices, to face new experiences and adapt.  Life, for them, is experienced as a series of choices, each made one at a time.  In that way, we are all writing our own story in real-time.  These people do not see life as static or predestined, so they have tremendous ability to be present.  They live in the now.  For them, the present moment is sacred; it is an infinite doorway.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who are magically more productive when plans get disrupted.   They are quick thinkers who are not afraid to be put on the spot.  This is because they naturally know how to spring into action and get results on the fly.  Like a GPS, they can easily course correct.  In fact, they prefer a few detours.  These are people whose focus seems to sharpen when they are pulled simultaneously in several directions.  They are calm in a crisis.  Above all else, these are the people who remind us of the only real moment there is—the present moment.  The here and now is where they dwell.  And, they show is how to be with what is—retrieving our minds from the future and past—and teaching us how to respond to the demands of the moment.  Their mantra is not so much “All is well” but rather “I can handle whatever comes my way.”

Ten Things to Know About People with ADAPTABILITY

1. Personal Sovereignty. Above almost anything else, they value autonomy.  Knowing that they are not locked-in to a single way of doing things is essential for them to feel fully expressed as individuals.

2. Big Goals. Because they shoot from the hip so well, it can feel difficult for them to be methodical and strategic.  To accomplish something large over the long term, they may divide it up into mini-goals or, even, mini-mini-goals that they can tackle in spurts.

3. Confidence. They can generally feel at home anywhere, a reliable trait which puts others at ease.  They may even have an almost hypnotic calm in high octane situations.

4. Creating Chaos. When feeling stuck or static, they may unconsciously seek out mini-dramas as a channel for their adaptability energy.  Chaos can feel like a substitute for what they really want: choices and change.

5. Spontaneity vs. Impulsiveness. For some, it can feel like a thin line between seizing the moment (spontaneity) and reflexively acting in the moment (impulsiveness).  It is an art that people with Adaptability are always fine-tuning.

6. Anxiety. They have a need to know that there is some flexibility in each area of their life.  They can feel claustrophobic, cagey, and, sometimes, panicked if there is not very much breathing room in their days, schedules, and relationships.

7. Unstructured Play. At times, they might feel plagued by boredom, especially if there is too much predictability or too many timelines.  So, being intentional about making time where there isn’t any structure or game-plan is soothing and healing for them.

8. Chameleons. Adaptability can be a double-edged sword because people can, in a way, make the best of almost any situation; however, in doing so, they can end up floating from one thing to the next and never truly feeling like they’ve found their purpose.

9. Leaders. Because of their ability to respond to the needs of the moment, keep a level head, and juggle many things at once, they are natural leaders, often doing so effortlessly or even by accident.

10. Being Seen. Without an outlet for their energy, it can turn inward and then into hopelessness and, even, depression.   Initiating a spontaneous exchange or an unprompted outing can change their whole outlook.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

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