Thursday, January 08, 2009


Have you done Strengths Finders? It's all the rage right now among leaders. Or maybe it has been for awhile and I'm just getting in on the tail end of it. That's a more likely scenario. But my point is that it's an interesting assessment which tells you your top 5 strengths (out of about 30). Mine are communicator, belief, strategic, focus, and input. I'll let you wonder what those mean if you haven't taken it, because the reason I bring it up is to mention that one of the strengths you can have is adaptability.

I don't think historically I have been a person who possesses a high level of adaptability. I don't know where it falls in the list of strengths for me (other than knowing it's not one of my top five) but I suspect that over recent years it has crept up the scale.

I say this as I do my morning ritual - sitting in the new room at the back of my parent's house from 6-7 a.m., enjoying the silence, my journal, a few books, some prayer time, and the sun slowly lightening the sky behind bare trees in their backyard. It's also a bit chilly.

Well, it should be - it's -2.4 degrees below zero. When we came in November the first week it in the upper 30's. When it hit 20 degrees my impulse was to say, "I'm not going outside again until we go back to Singapore." Of course I realized the futility of this resolution. So I decided to adapt.

I've embraced the fact that I won't ever feel 100% warm here, and that when I go outside it will take longer to get ready. I've learned to turn the heated blanket on my bed to medium before I get ready to sleep, and to turn it off before I fall asleep so I don't wake up in a puddle of sweat. I bought winter running gear, and have braved the colder weather to experience some really fun runs (my cut off is 25 degrees though for outside exercise). Yesterday it was around 15 degrees and I didn't think it was all that bad (although I did choose to go to the gym to exercise!). I've learned to wear more clothing inside, and I've grown accustomed to the fact that most of the time my hands will be cold.

And you know what? I like it. I really like this climate. I love that I have an excuse to wear cozy clothes, to eat soup and drink tea. I love running in 30 degrees weather, seeing the sun reflect off the snow and feeling the cold air energize my body.

Does that mean when I get back to Singapore I'll wilt? Well, maybe temporarily. :) But after awhile I guess I'd just adjust to being back there, enjoying the fact that we can be outside every day, that the world is beautiful and clean all the time. Maybe it's not adaptability I'm developing so much as a positive attitude. Either way, I'm learning to enjoy what I get.

See, that's the key. I don't want to just bear with the circumstances of my life. I want to enjoy them. And I think part of the recipe for success is adaptability - to walk into a new situation and go, "Ok, here's what I've got to work with, let's make it happen." I think I'm getting better at it.
I should be with the amount of variability we have in our lives.

Our kids, on the other hand, specialize in adaptability. Whether it's traveling to new countries or meeting new friends, they don't seem to flinch when presented with change. It's a good quality to possess - I'm glad they're getting it from the beginning.

No comments: