We are witnessing rapids of change; the professional plain has become anything but certain, linear, or secure. Global markets and their fast-paced transitions, political fluctuations, and other seemingly unrelated factors create room for nothing but inconsistency and unpredictability that riddle our workplaces. Do we like it? No, not necessarily. Can we do something about it? We are trying, yes. Modern times, the age of “fright and might,” and day-to-day industry bedlam are how we define the undefinable times we now cautiously tread. Ever-readiness is no longer reserved for the overachievers, the workaholics, and the jolly bunch; it is a newly-established norm that we must follow to stay in business. Most industries have undergone tremendous changes since the pandemic; the game is officially afoot, and only the most versatile will survive. That is how to practice flexibility and self-accountability. Spirit animal: a rubber band.
The “non-expendable” workshop
Today’s job market is about remaining relevant and securing a position, a colossal endeavor. We must make way for honest self-evaluation and radical open-mindedness to overcome the XYZ obstacles. The journey to bulletproofing our career paths is not about professional growth per se. Instead, it should be perceived as an all-encompassing self-work training that rewards us with substantial self-improvement in all fields of life. And it all starts with expanding our flexibility and self-accountability frontiers.
Remember the rubber band. When working on our flexibility, we must learn to “stretch” the mind first to sensitize it to new stimuli. Alas, acquiring such a skill doesn’t happen overnight. Before practicing flexibility, we must develop a specific mindset that facilitates the wanted “expansion.” Is it a lot of work? You could say so, but the result surpasses the anticipated benefits: it teaches us how to ride the waves that come by.
The key to professional flexibility is nurturing open-mindedness. Ideally, our workplaces encourage team decision-making processes. Realistically, traditional workplaces discourage young professionals from establishing open-mindedness as the company’s (or industry’s, for that matter) modus operandi. What “professional autocracy” does is to “restrict the blood flow” by limiting the number of participating (and prolific, at that) vessels. Access to practicing open-mindedness? Denied. So, what do we do? We work on it, regardless. We do it for us and our future. By practicing open-mindedness, we allow new ideas and angles, we become more comfortable with the idea of an erratic career path, we take risks, and finally – we embrace all uncertainty without much fear.
Honoring core values
Counter-intuitive advice? As contradicting as it may sound, sticking to our core values and honoring our meticulously crafted doctrine will lead to increased professional flexibility. Flexibility, under no circumstances, suggests adopting a “tabula rasa” mindset. Unfortunately, in pursuing career growth, many are willing to abandon their principles, their alpha and omega and adapt to new circumstances that, in return, may endanger their distinct system of beliefs, ethics, and morality. Remember the rubber band; it can only stretch so far before it breaks. If we want to practice flexibility and self-accountability, we should utilize our core values as a vessel for innovation and change. In a word, integrity is the cornerstone of mental agility.
Routine, I’d like you to meet chaos
Productive chaos. Constructive. Flexibility invites change into our existence. How we perceive it is solely up to us. Return the favor, invite chaos in, and shake the old foundations. Instead of embracing the status quo, try:
- reactive to proactive
- be inquisitive
- job rotations
- side projects
- develop new skills
- saying yes to others’ ideas
- building your network
- encouraging creativity
- dare to suggest novelties
The ones who embrace uncertainty and change in professional dynamics thrive the most. Best Movers NYC moving database reports witnessing a massive influx of transplants as of the beginning of 2022. A coincidence? Or a definitive proof of flexibility?
Lack of accountability creates room for professional havoc. Who’s responsible for this? – Not me. – Nope, me neither. – Why are you looking at me? Attaining high-performance levels proves impossible when we fail to exhibit the personal accountability trait. Why is it important? Collective confusion arises if we don’t take ownership of our decisions or actions. The “my hands are clean” syndrome is commonly encountered in any workplace. Why? The explanation is simple; we perceive accountability as “taking the blame” instead of “taking responsibility.” The moment we commit to self-accountability, no mountain is too high to climb, and no river is too deep to cross.
We all have bad days when commuting to work feels like being dragged by our hair and sent directly to Mordor. (a bit theatrical) But it happens to all of us. On the other hand, procrastination is a different kind of animal. And it eats away at our professional reputation. The consequences of avoiding responsibility can be detrimental to our careers. Overcommitting can lead to paralyzing procrastination. Self-accountability is about making promises we can keep and avoiding letting anyone down. If unsure about taking on a new task, we should practice politely declining the assignment without disparaging the person. Developing time management skills is paramount.
Honesty, above all things
It is hard but not impossible. Admitting a mistake can bruise the ego, but it won’t mangle it. True success comes from our ability to practice honesty – monologue or dialogue style. Instead of making excuses, dodging the blame, and projecting it onto others, we should train our inner eye of unbiasedness and say it like it is. Self-accountability is about learning to say the tough stuff: “I’m sorry.” “I need your help.”My mistake.” as well as developing a healthy relationship with the self. If we learn to master it, we will not fear what others might think of us.
Closing thoughts on how to practice flexibility and self-accountability
To practice flexibility and self-accountability means: never stopping learning. The ones who embrace the rule of continuous growth live to surpass the rubber band model, making their career paths obsolescence-proof.