Learn the importance of the ability to adapt
In my first two blog posts we talked about InTRApersonal skills – the ability to understand your own communications and communicate those emotions to others. We also talked about InTERpersonal skills, the abilities that enable you to interact positively and work effectively with others.
In this post, we'll talk about the Adaptability Scale. The Adaptability Scale is all about how well an individual adapts to people and their environment. The Adaptability Scale includes Reality Testing, Flexibility, and Problem Solving.
How important is the ability to adapt? They say “the only constant in life is change”, so what better way to prepare young adults than to give them the tool of adaptability. It is the foundation upon which to build the rest of their lives, the precursor to handling all challenges that may come.
Here is an insightful exercise to do with your teenagers around Reality Testing. It’s called “Things are not always as they seem…”.
Sit down with your teen and ask them to think of a time when they jumped to a conclusion and said or did something that they regretted. Knowing the truth helps us make better choices. Lead with the following questions/statements:
Trigger Event (what happened)
Reference (how you incorrectly evaluated the situation)
Unhealthy Response (what did you do or say that you now regret)
Truth (what was really going on)
Healthy Response (what you can do or say better the next time)
Instead of making sure that your teenager has absolutely everything they want, make sure they have what they need. Discuss with them the differences between wants and needs and help them to understand priorities. When they don’t get something they want, ask them how it makes them feel and what they would like to do about it. Discuss alternatives, compromises, and other ways to look at a situation. A loss in one area may be a gain in another.
It is also important to walk the walk in your own life. After explaining to a teenager that they may not have something they want, complaining about not getting your way will absolutely send mixed signals. Demonstrate adaptability in your own life so your teen will have a positive example to emulate.
Life is going to throw curve balls your way. No one gets everything they want all the time. A missed opportunity may open up another one that turns out to be even better. Sometimes the best changes, the best relationships, the best fit for us happen by accident.
Remember, we are all works in progress. Learning to adapt by understanding your reality, being flexible and learning to solve problems will help us to better deal with the inevitable changes that will happen throughout our lives. Change can be good if we know how to adapt to it!
By Shawna Kovacs
Shawna is the mother of a fabulous teenage girl who is also an Ambassador Leaders alumna. Shawna is Founder and Partner of Leaders Required – a training firm focused on Leadership Development with an emphasis on Emotional Intelligence.