Sunday, May 08, 2005

Curious about Flexibility: Do You Have It? Do You Want It? Do You Value It?

“Having flexibility is one of my top values.” I’ll give that statement a “5” where “5” is very true and the top score for that statement. This is the first statement on my “Portfolio Career” self test, and is also the statement that 95% of the time rates a “5” and sometimes a “4.”

Having flexibility is and has been a top value of mine for as long and as far back as I can remember. And I don’t only mean career flexibility.

Let’s start with physical flexibility. As many of you know already, I am a group fitness instructor. It actually pains me when I see class participants leave when we start our final stretching. In my opinion, one can’t stretch too much or too often.

Yes, our stretching is safer and more effective when performed at the end of an aerobic workout when our muscles are warm. As I tell my students, “We automatically lose 10% of our flexibility every ten years.” The advantages of having physical flexibility are less chance of pain or injury, a better quality of life and a more effective, quality workout.

Next is having a flexible attitude. Paul Kagame wrote, “Let no one think that flexibility and a predisposition to compromise is a sign of weakness or a sell-out.” I know that I have been accused of “waffling.” Personally, I feel that it is important to see all sides of a problem or discussion. I have learned that in most cases, there are three sides to every situation: my side, the other’s side, and the truth somewhere in the middle.

By being flexible, we can readily come to a win-win-win resolution for all involved.

“In the future, instead of striving to be right at a high cost, it will be more appropriate to be flexible and plural at a lower cost. If you cannot accurately predict the future then you must flexibly be prepared to deal with various possible futures.” - Edward de Bono

And then there is career flexibility. You can achieve this by making sure that you are never locked in by strict rules and regulations in you work life. Luckily, I have been able to achieve this by having flexible careers where I can manage my own time and type of work.

As one of my all-time favorite mentors, Tony Robbins says, “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

This doesn’t mean slacking off - I know that because of my flexibility and many careers, I often put in a plethora of hours working. The difference is that I am making the choices of what to be spending those hours working or not working on.

Here are some quotes that deal with flexible ideas. Just some food for curious thought - until my next blog.
  • “There is an immense, painful longing for a broader, more flexible, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are and what this life is for.” - Saul Bellow
  • “The least flexible component of any system is the user.” - Lowell Jay Arthur

What do you think? Does flexibility rate high with you? I would love to read your comments