A Coaching Power Tool created by Jeanne A. Heinzer
(Career and Executive Coaching, SWITZERLAND)
Thus, flexibility, as displayed by water, is a sign of life. Rigidity, its opposite, is an indicator of death. Anthony Lawlor
Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it. Zig Ziglar
Rigidity is one of the things that can easily get in the way of our personal and professional success. When and why do we cultivate that attitude?
- We have one fixed idea and follow that idea, no matter what happens around us.
- Things don’t work out as planned and we hold on to our idea not realising that openness for new options would bring us higher rewards.
- We are unable to create lightness in our thoughts and actions. Our mind and body become rigid.
- Underlying beliefs about what success is, how it is being achieved and how things and people have to be and to behave can lead to rigidity. Those beliefs can be a heavy weight on our shoulders and pull us down.
Rigidity may lead to us being too focused on achieving our goal. We feel that something doesn’t work, but we do not know what it is. We become almost obsessed which can be paralyzing providing us with exactly the opposite outcome. We may be pushy which in return creates a reaction from the people around us. We wish to be in control and be powerful, but are actually not in control, because we control others and become attached to the outcome. We do not move forwards. Getting too caught up in our own world we actually create a distance from the real world.
Imagine the following situation:
Helena is a 29 year old Swiss woman, who worked in Public Relations and tourism. When her husband was asked to move to London for a duration of three to four years, she hesitated because it meant giving her career up for the unknown. Helena is convinced that continuing her career in PR and tourism and finding a job as soon as possible will be the key to her happiness in London. After her arrival in London, Helena focuses 100% on her job search. She has several job interviews. One would be working for a five star hotel in the city of London as their European PR Manager. Her dream job. However, a few days later, Helena finds out that will not get the job offer she dreamt off. Helena is devastated and angry. She has a good CV, got invited for a few interviews and really knows what she wants. She feels stressed out and is exhausted. Helena has no friends and is unhappy wishing to move back home. This is such a hostile place and nobody values her know how. Helena feels alone, helpless and stuck. She decides to seek the help of a transition and career coach to explore her situation and resolve her inner struggle.
What happens when flexibility comes into our life
When we are too focused we may feel numb and may feel a weight on our shoulders. Flexibility is life and lightness. Think of light balloons versus heavy boxes as shown on the first page. We need to be flexible in our minds and in our body. Remaining focused on a goal while detaching from the objective is the key. Surprisingly, what we want and are focused on happens, when we go with the flow and surrender. Life then unfolds to its best. Holding on too firmly to our objectives may result in not being flexible and open for new options. Although we are trained to believe that focus is enough to reach our objectives life often knows better what is good for us. If we relax what is best will come into our life. As Byron Katie puts it in her book ‘A thousand names for joy’ ‘when you become a lover of what is, the war is over. ‘And those options may often be the better ones when we look back one day.
The following table sums up the differences between flexibility and rigidity:
- It can be anything
- Lots of options will unfold and I can choose
- feels light
- possibilities and potential are endless
- being flexible and open is the real power
- it has to be this way
- feels heavy
- possibilities and potential are limited
- feel pressure and pass on pressure
- feel limitation and act in a limited and limiting way
- being controlled, but having no real control