Those of you who were in the military may be familiar with this term to some degree, but I think everybody understands what I mean when I say Adapt and Overcome. Look, the reality is, every one of us is going to be faced with a change in our lives. These could be changes in our relationships, changes at work, or physical changes within our own bodies and mindset.
Every time we interact with the world around us – whether that’s some sort of outside circumstance, another individual, or something has been done to us deliberately – then we have an opportunity to respond in one of two ways.
Option A is to maintain the current course. Sometimes this is appropriate. Other times it hinders our ability to grow, expand, and overcome the obstacle we may be facing. Option B is to grow, learn, evolve, adapt, and find another way. It’s about improving yourself each and every day in the face of these challenges.
It’s amazing to me how quickly some men will crumble, absolutely crumble, at the slightest sign of adversity. I get it, it’s easy to go that route. It’s easy to let outside circumstances dictate your behavior. It’s easy to feel like you’re helpless, or the odds are stacked against you. Whether they are or not, you may feel that way. However, if you crumble, then really, how manly are you behaving?
So, today I’ll share with you five strategies to adapt and overcome changes in life. Before we get into the strategies, it’s important to understand that embracing change, adapting, and overcoming is part of life. It’s the growth part of life that makes us better. Yeah, it’s easy to coast, and it’s easy to be in default mode. However, you’re never going to improve unless you learn how to handle the inevitable change that’s going to present itself.
1. EMBRACE IT
If you’re always running away from change and trying to maintain this perfect state of homeostasis, things are going to wreck you when they come up. When your wife says you’re marriage is struggling, it’s going to feel like a catastrophic event versus understanding that the dynamics in relationships change.
Maybe your boss wants to promote you, potentially lay you off because of the economy, or some other outside factor. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that could happen in any given day that can potentially derail us, or create new opportunities.
It sounds crazy, but I’ve seen guys struggle with receiving a promotion. It’s because they haven’t learned to embrace change. Rather than looking at it as a positive, they run from it because it represents a change. So, embrace it for what it is, and accept that change is part of your growth. Then, you can move on to number two.
2. REFRAME IT
In other words, reframe it from being negative into something that is exciting. View it as an opportunity that will propel you forward and inevitably present a new series of opportunities that were not initially available. Shift your mindset to see it as an opportunity for growth that will take you further than you ever imagined.
But you won’t be able to capitalize on those opportunities if you don’t learn to first embrace it, and then reframe it as something positive. When you create that mindset, you won’t be afraid of change. Sure, it’ll be uneasy, it’ll be uncomfortable, but you’ll be excited about it because a new opportunity has presented itself.
3. ANTICIPATE IT
I think it was Mike Tyson who said, “Everybody has a plan until he gets punched in the face.” Look, things are going to come up that you can’t always foresee. Whether it’s something at work, the economy, bankruptcy, or an illness – all of us are going to get punched in the face.
While planning any part of your life, don’t be so rigid that you’re unable to anticipate that life may not go according to plan. If you do, you’re going to get destroyed when something goes wrong. If your planning is so formulated that it can’t flex a little bit to what potentially could come up, then again, you’re going to be completely derailed.
On the other hand, if we anticipate that changes are going to come up, we can adapt and overcome anything. So, when looking at the areas in which you operate in life – ask yourself, “Am I too rigid?” “Am I able to adjust, and can I tweak my plan?”
4. ALWAYS BE READY
What happens if a particular circumstance or event arises before we’ve had time to prepare? For example, a lot of people will save money for a new car, and whether they get it or not, that’s not really the point. The point that I’m trying to make here is that, what if their transmission on their previous vehicle went out before they had saved money? Then, they’d most likely go into debt to secure a new car or pay for the transmission. So, my thought is, you should have been saving the whole time.
Guys, we can’t operate in little microclimates that are 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days long. You should be ready at all times because you never know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to arise. When that negative encounter, situation, or even a positive opportunity comes up, you aren’t going to be ready for it. You won’t be able to avoid a negative situation or potentially step into a positive situation because you haven’t been doing the required work.
5. CREATE A PLAN OF ACTION
As I said, things are going to come up, you’re going to get derailed, that’s the whole point. When things do arise, don’t self-destruct or compound the problem. Avoid making a rash decision, and doing something emotionally charged.
Your first line of action should be to stop, breathe, take a step back, and disengage from the moment. Take that time to regroup, rethink, re-strategize, come up with an action plan, and then attack the situation that you’re dealing with.
Very rarely in life, unless we’re faced with a threat … a violent threat, or a natural disaster, or some sort of crazy emergency, are we going to need to make these very snap, rash decisions. Usually, it’s going to be a situation where we can take a moment.
Lastly, our ability to adapt to these situations, and more importantly, to overcome these things, will be the measure of who we are as men. Our ability to take action, and more specifically, to produce results, will lead us and those around us to a better place. That’s why your wife follows you. That’s why your kids look up to you. That’s why your co-workers want to be around you. When things go wrong, they know that you can be counted on. You are to be the pillar. You are to be the rock. You are to be the standard that gets people through those difficult times. Our ability to adapt to these situations, and to overcome them, is what makes us men.