We have two kinds of human flexibility.
One is physical flexibility, obvious and usually directly associated with the word.
The other is behavioural flexibility, or emotional flexibility.
Both require a range of movements (mental and physical) although one is tangible and the other intangible.
For the intention of this article I will assume you have had enough exposure to what physical flexibility is, so what is behavioural flexibility and why does it matter?
Behavioural flexibility essentially means having the emotional tools on board and ready to use when a challenging and/or unexpected situation is presented to us.
How do we react? Are we resourceful with our choices and creative with our solutions?
For example I recently arrived at a venue for one of my workshops. I was early and wasn't too concerned initially when I found the door locked with no one around. As the time grew closer to me presenting my event it became clear to me that my venue owner had forgotten my event.
I felt my heart pound a little louder and faster as I considered where to next.
I knew at that point I had an obvious choice to freak out or to simply change gears. What I had to do was clear as loosing it in front of my guests who were minutes away from arriving was simply not cool.
So I looked around and quickly decided my event was now going to be held on the verandah. I moved some outdoor chairs and tables and continued to set up my workshop.
That is a classic example of behavioural flexibility.
After all, there is no point pouring lots of negatively charged emotion into a vacuum that just gets us wound up. So if we realise this, in those 'fork-in-the-road' moments, we can call it emotional maturity. It's a grown up, mature, sound way of accepting sudden change.
Try it next time you are in a pickle or when the children have turned feral.
Instead of loosing it, put your creative solution hat on and decide how to move forward.
Have fun with it and remember it's a practice!