Challenges Build Adaptable Leaders

Building Adaptability as a Leader

As January unfolds, I find myself in a reflective mood, not just pondering the past year but the entirety of my life’s journey. Looking back on my past, I can’t help but feel a profound sense of gratitude for where I am now. Back then, I craved control over my life, only to realize that true control is an illusion. None of us can foresee the future or make decisions with absolute certainty – there’s always an unknown piece of every puzzle.

The unknown used to be a source of fear for me, but now I understand it’s where the magic happens. If I had known then that I would become the Owner and CEO of Catalynt™ (formerly TRInternational), I would have missed out on all the enchanting moments that brought me here.

So, rather than living in fear of the inevitable unknown, let’s explore a few tips below to embrace change and develop adaptability as a leader:

Adopt a “Challenge Me to Grow” Mindset:

Next time you face a challenging situation, ask yourself, “What is this challenge trying to teach me?” By reflecting on challenges, they transform into learning opportunities, making them less intimidating. Remember, mistakes are part of the learning process. Welcome your challenges with a “bring it on and teach me” posture.

Build Your “Challenge Me” Network:

Dealing with challenges becomes easier when you seek new perspectives. Build a network of individuals with diverse ways of thinking.  Pick people who are experienced, honest, and not afraid to bruise your ego. Their insights can provide fresh approaches to tackling challenges. They will also make you a more precise and thoughtful person.

Be a Forever Student – and Look for the Unsuspecting Teachers:

Twenty years ago, I had no idea how to navigate the challenges of leadership and business ownership. While I’m far from perfect now, I started from where I was and learned along the way. Continuous learning equips me with the knowledge needed to adapt to changing circumstances. Remember – a lot of teachers are in disguise. Don’t limit yourself to “traditional” teachers or learning environments. I know some former bartenders in recovery meetings who have more to teach me than some people with a Harvard MBA.

Ask for Feedback from Straight-Talkers:

Without asking for feedback from my personal trainer, I would not see results in the gym. Asking for feedback provides valuable insights into our strengths and areas for improvement. Embrace feedback as a tool for growth and refinement on your journey, but make sure you are asking for feedback from people who share your commitment to straight-talk. These people are often harder to find – I am suspect of anyone who might have an interest in being a “yes-person” in my life. You should be too. Also be suspicious of your own motives if you are only ever receiving positive feedback from people with whom you never disagree. No true leader ever basks in uninterrupted praise and agreement. If you are – that is a red flag.

Ask for Help From People Who Can Offer It:

Asking for help is a valuable skill, often paving the way for unexpected opportunities and transformative experiences. As leaders, we encounter challenges that test our resilience and character. It’s essential to remember that these very challenges contribute to the building of our toughness and grit. The hurdles we face, whether personal or professional, shape our capacity to lead with authenticity and empathy. We have to learn to ask for help from people who have been where we are and can offer us the practical tools and solid encouragement we need.

Reflecting on my own challenges and the individuals who played a crucial role in overcoming them, I am reminded of the interconnectedness of our journeys. Each person who extended a helping hand faced a unique set of challenges.

Which tip resonates with you the most? What challenges have you faced that had a silver lining in the end? Let me know your thoughts.