One of the clearest takeaways from the year has been the importance of adaptability: in our personal lives, in business, and in mindset. Routines are constantly being upended, and consistency is no longer a reliable anchor. But how do you center yourself in the middle of chaos?
As major shifts become the norm, the one thing we always have power over is our reaction. “Control the controllables” is what Laura Penhaul, a woman who led a team of female rowers across the Pacific Ocean, says in her TED Talk about adaptability. Do what you can, and let everything else go.
That's easy enough in theory, but letting go of control can be scary — even when we never actually had it in the first place. However, it’s important to remember that change is one of the only things promised to us. From the moment we’re born, our bodies change on a daily basis. Our identities shift with every new discovery. Our careers stop and start and make sharp left turns. We fall in and out of love. We move, we pivot, we expand.
Though many of these changes can feel random and unplanned, consider the possibility that whatever shift you're confronted with might actually be part of a larger cycle. After all, our world is run by cycles. As women, we are inherently aware of this thanks to our biology, but that’s only one small example. The cycle of the seasons, the cycles of the sun and moon, the cycle of plants, our own life cycles — it’s the rhythm of our planet. Yet, if you zoom in too far on a cycle, it will look like a straight line. Sometimes you have to adjust your lens outward in order to get the full picture.
As we ride these changing tides, there are two keys to staying afloat: emotional self-awareness and emotional self-control. To be aware of your emotions requires mindfulness. Whether that's by consistently journaling, taking solo walks through your neighborhood, or speaking with a professional, there are many ways to bring awareness to your emotional body. Once you have that knowledge, you can use it to manage your emotional reactions. The more you practice this process, the more automatic it will become and the more adaptable you will be.
Not sure where to start? Give this twenty minute Mindfulness Meditation a try and notice what comes up.
How have you had to adapt this year? Do you have any tips for navigating change? Let us know in the comments below.