The Weekly Word: Adapt

A few years ago I took my very first yoga class and ended up in physical therapy for two months.   Not the best start.

This weekend, with the help of the fabulous Ganesha Yoga, I was finally able to get my Downward Dog on. Co-owner and yoga-goddess Mindy Hanzlik helped me understand the importance of adapting the moves to work best with my body. (Fun fact for yogis with big boobies:  The placement of a simple yoga strap can keep you from smothering yourself when doing an inversion.  You’re welcome.)

Mindy has the right idea.  Stop twisting and contorting yourself to fit in. You are enough, just as you are.   Stay true to yourself and find ways to adapt.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Separate the MUST-dos from the should-dos

The key to adapting in any situation is discerning between actual requirements and the nice-to-haves. Actual requirements tend to be legal, regulatory, specific training, etc.  Believe it or not, everything else is negotiable.  Want to run but have lost a limb? There are amazing prosthetics available.  Want to apply to a job posting but don’t have all of the experience requested? The right internal referral can get you the interview anyway.

  • Get crystal clear on the result you are trying to achieve

Sometimes we get so focused on the “how” that we forget the purpose of our actions.  If you start with the end in mind, you’ll discover that there are a LOT of ways to attain the exact same goal.  For example:

Goal: I want to save lives


Pursue a medical degree (doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner), get emergency medical training (EMT/paramedic), be a lifeguard in your spare time, volunteer at a blood bank, work on the business side of the medical industry (pharmaceuticals, hospitals), join the military, pursue law enforcement, become a volunteer firefighter, build wells in Africa on your vacation …

  • Find the feeling

If we are being really, really honest with ourselves, sometimes the issue isn’t that we can’t make the situation work as-is, it’s that we aren’t willing to make the sacrifices required.   We have no appetite for going back to school for another degree, don’t want to take a pay cut, or don’t want to uproot the family for a year-long trek around the world.

Instead of giving up on the dream entirely, take a moment to imagine what it would feel like if you could do it.  How would it feel arguing your first case in front of a jury?  Hearing the roaring applause at the end of your solo performance?   Scoring the winning touchdown?

Now, replicate that feeling in a way that works in your life.

Practicing martial arts can help you feel disciplined.  Completing a 10K run can give you a sense of accomplishment.  Walking barefoot through the grass can bring you peace.  Find big and small ways to get more of that feeling in your daily life.

Now that you have the tools, get started.  Your assignment for this week is to find at least one adaptation that will get you closer to your personal or professional goals.

Leave a comment below and tell us what you’re working on.

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