"I don't think I can reach my toes," I said to myself. My arm, hand, and fingers reached toward my toes as I stretched my right hamstring. I'm not as flexible as I used to be, Over the years my ligaments have tightened and the flexibility I once enjoyed as a young man has turned into stiffness.
But I need to keep stretching and keep moving to remain vital and alive.
We live in an increasingly complex world. Change in all around us. “VUCA is the new normal,” said Peter Cheese, the leader of the Center for Progressive Leadership in London, England. What is VUCA? Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
The more flexible we become in our thinking, the vital and influential we become as leaders in this complex world.
Steve Hayner learned the art and science of flexibility as he suffered from pancreatic cancer, rounds of chemotherapy, and his mortality. Living in the present with grace and flexibility became a daily necessity. Before his death he wrote, "Every time I find myself saying, "This is not the way that it's supposed to be!" I have to respond by asking, "And why do I assume that it's supposed to be this way?"
"Unmet or unfulfilled expectations can demand higher energy depletion than they are worth. The fact is, our expectations are generally built on what is simply familiar to us or on our anticipation around our heart's desires, and there are no guarantees in life that we can be assured about either.
"Circumstances change. Relationships change. Adjustments have to be made...So I'm losing my hair. It's annoying. It's messy...I'll remind myself that it's just another broken expectation and that I have a choice about how I respond. Expectations only hurt us when they hold us captive. When we can let go, a whole world of possibilities can emerge" (from Joy in the Journey: Finding Abundance in the Shadow of Death).
Consider a sail. The only way a sail harnesses the wind's power is by remaining flexibile in the wind. Rigid sails are of no use.
The winds of change are blowing with, at times, a fierce strength. Leaders who are able harness the wind like a sail, will survive and thrive. Those who remain inflexible stay stuck, a prisoner to their own rigidity.
Unfurl your sails. Harness the winds of change. Be your best.