People Management

Adapt, adapt faster, then look behind to see your competitors

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

A couple of months ago I’ve started working in an extremely agile environment. To understand a bit its magnitude, I’m talking about recycling decisions and adapting plans several times within a day, even from one hour to another. It implied coming up with proposals and solutions in one hour or less since being briefed on the changes. Adapting to such a fast pace left a footprint also on my personal life and that’s when I realised not everyone can keep up.  But you know what? It’s addictive and it’s ok if not everyone can keep up!

Lately I’ve focused on the saying: “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t make you grow”. Getting used to the hype of working at that pace described above, as I joined a private event after 3-4 hours of meetings, it felt like time was slowing down. I could hear the grass grow. Everything was too slow, too low energy, too … calm. Receiving a challenge to deliver an impromptu speech immediately after being told the topic, surprisingly, felt like a blessing.

Adapting faster and faster is literally a form of adrenaline rush and it can be addictive.

Can this lead to a burn out? If you’re not prepared, Yes. It depends at what level of energy you usually operate and how accustomed you are to fall back on your feet if something knocks you off track.

Is it worth it? Yes. Adapting fast will enable you to deal with situations that seem impossible to others. Think of the water in a mountain river: it encounters boulders on the way, but that doesn’t stop it from flowing, it simply finds a way around them and keeps flowing uninterrupted.

Do people who adapt fast, accomplish more? Definitely and undoubtedly, Yes.

It’s true that this way of working can get you exhausted, but it also makes you feel alive and you build experience much faster. Even if you fail, you just learn one more lesson on how not to do it. Therefore resting and taking care of yourself are mandatory. What I can promise you is that if you find yourself working in such an environment and make an effort to transform with it instead of fighting it back, it will change you.

Ok, so let’s say you want to practice this, but don’t have such an environment. Well… you do, actually. Adapt faster and faster in your everyday life and challenge yourself on every opportunity you have. I will give you an example. Let’s say you’ve made some plans to go somewhere with a friend and it started raining or the friend is not available anymore and maybe you really wanted to be there. If your usual reaction was to drop the whole plan, that’s wrong. Adapt as needed: change the place, call someone else, change the route, whatever you have to do that gets you the desired outcome.

Another way to practice is to create the challenges you want or need. If you were used to run only 2km, challenge yourself to run 2.3km. If you are horrified to interact with a stranger, give yourself a challenge to ask a question to a stranger in a shop. The challenge is yours alone. Don’t compare with others and most important: start today. Not tomorrow, not next week.

While we tend to be reluctant to change, by our human nature, people who adapt, even to extreme conditions are those that “survive” and excel. One way or another, we’ve all learned to adapt during the recent pandemic. Just take it to the next level and one day you’ll discover that instead of saying: “oh darn, it rains, we need to cancel our plans…“, you’ll say: “ok, what do we need to change to make this happen?”. And bit by bit all that once seemed impossible, will become reality. Just like magic 🙂

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