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  • Jason L. Bankston


This is the second blog of a series called Off-Season. The first one was on Pacing. Still to come is Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Learn, The Big Picture should Keep Getting Bigger, Live Today but Think about Tomorrow, Move Forward Courageously in the Midst of Uncertainty, and lastly, Realize that Today's Best will not Meet Tomorrows Challenges. Now let's get started on our second topic.

Adaptability is the ability to adjust to new conditions, being flexible. Over the Full Ironmans, Half Ironmans, and multiple other races I participated in there were many things I had to adapt to. As I reflected on the past season here are the lessons I learned about adaptability.

1. Time. Each day I had a workout that needed to be completed. My family also had needs that I had to participate in. I liked training in the evenings. My kids also had practices and extracurricular activities in the evening. I could either miss the workout or I could adapt. I adapted and started training at 4:30 am and 5:00 am. This let me get my workout completed and help with family needs.

How does this apply to life? Each day we get up and face priorities that must be done and priorities that we ourselves want to get done. The time in a day is the same every day. We can continue to do the same routine and make excuses on why we cannot train, workout, learn, read a book, or work on a dream business venture or we can adapt. For example, as I write this blog I am in Jackson, Mississippi, at a soccer tournament for Cooper. We have to be at the fields an hour before the game. I am listening to a podcast for self-growth and writing this blog to bring value to others. I am adapting to my circumstances and so can you.

2. Expectations. In the races I participated in I faced different conditions. I faced altitude, hills, wind, night, cold, heat, etc. I worked in my training to prepare for each of these as it related to the race. But when I showed up something was always different. For example, in Boulder I expected moderately cool temperatures, but was dealt record highs of 95 degrees or higher. I was not prepared for this, but I had to adapt. As I was riding my bike and running the course I saw many people give up and quit because they could not handle the heat. They had worked so long and hard and just quit. They did not adapt to their circumstances. They tried to get the circumstances to adapt to them. I changed my expectations which changed my attitude. George Bernard Shaw said 'The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.'

What does this have to do with life? Sometimes life will heat up or throw unexpected circumstances at you. You can choose in that circumstance to be a thermostat or a thermometer. The thermostat has the ability to control the situation. When it is cold it can turn up the heat. When it is hot it can turn up the air. A thermometer just measures the temperature. It allows the circumstance to tell it what it will be. You want to be the thermostat and control your reaction to circumstances.

3. Attitude. In my last Ironman, it was supposed to be in Panama City, Florida. A Hurricane came directly through Panama City 4 weeks prior to race day. Instead of canceling the race, Ironman moved the venue to Haines City. I was grateful because I had trained so long and hard. But the courses were different. Panama City was going to be flat and fast while Haines City was very hilly and difficult. I could have easily given up and been mad at Ironman for doing this or I could see the positives and make the best of my surroundings.

Many people complained and chose not to participate, while many others embraced the change and gave it their best. I gave it my best that day and set a personal record. I adapted to my surroundings, embraced them, and gave my best effort.

What does this have to do with life? Our attitudes can change quickly. One day we think all is great and and the next it is different. When we change our attitude we change our behavior. How we adapt to the change will determine our outcome. Will it be positive or negative? That is up to you. You control your attitude. I could have quit my Ironman, instead I embraced it and adapted.

Adaptability is utilized daily. Every day you have a choice. Am I a thermostat or a thermometer? Will I adapt or will I crumble? The choice is yours. To be a leader, requires adaptability. We have to be willing to change. The only constant thing every day is change and failure or success to this change will depend on your adaptability. Choose success and be adaptable. What is your adaptability?

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