Rigid Flexibility

In work and at home, there are tasks, events, and dates that we should never bend. For example, when an important deadline is mandated to prepare for a Board Meeting, it is imperative that the deadline be met. On the other hand, more importantly, when an anniversary is to be celebrated, you do not forget and then excuse yourself saying to your spouse, “we’ll have another one next year.”  On the contrary, there are those occasions that you can take or leave without recourse. If you are unable to attend a company party or a social event, there are typically no ill feelings so long as it was properly declined.

Then, there are the times when you must be rigidly flexible. Oxymorons are great, aren’t they? Before we dive into what it means to be rigidly flexible, let’s dissect each word.

The definitions associated with rigid are very no-nonsense. When you take a rigid approach, you carry out the task strictly. There are no allowances or exceptions. Rigid is unwilling to change. Rigid does not allow for change, period!

Flexible, is the polar opposite. When you are flexible, you are able to change or be changed according to the circumstances. Flexibility is influenced easily depending on the environment and does allow for change.

How is it possible that these two words, completely opposite in definition, can work together? Consider two examples from my professional and personal life to illustrate the importance of being rigidly flexible.

I have a particular strength that allows me to turn thought into action. I am a very ambitious person and believe in rallying the talents in others to accomplish goals. Because of my, “let’s do it now” attitude and optimism, I know that I need to ensure I am in alignment with the strategic goals and vision of our organization. Therefore, it is important that I build relationships with the most influential decision makers and leadership in our organization.

I have made it a point to schedule a reoccurring monthly lunch with some of the top leadership of my organization. It is an opportunity for me to share ideas and gain support from these individuals. Additionally, these individuals can provide critical resources to make my ideas happen. The most important ingredient in these lunch meetings is the fact that they are rigidly flexible.  We have them on our calendars, scheduled for a specific date and time each month, however, we are flexible enough to move and change if necessary. The date and time are not important, the fact that we meet is.

Consider another example. This one should hit close to home.

When is the last time you had a date with your spouse? Not a quick bite to eat because the kids are at a friend’s house, but an honest to goodness, connecting with your spouse, no distractions, no need to be home before 10 o’clock because you’re focused on each other date?

You don’t remember? Maybe a year ago? Before the kids were born? Even worse, before you were married? It has been way too long!

Remaining connected with your spouse is paramount to preserving your marriage. Date nights, without children, are great ways to keep that connection. In our fast-paced society, I have witnessed too many marriages that believe texting and, sadly, Facebook are acceptable methods of communication. Wow, now that is romance.

Simply put, make date nights a priority, where rigid flexibility is must. Whether you choose once a week or once a month, schedule a date with your spouse and make it happen. If something comes up that takes precedence, go out the next night. On the other hand, be creative; instead of going out at night to dinner go to brunch.

Rigid flexibility is about relationship building. It’s about ensuring you put priority on the people who matter in your life. By following this principle, you will build not only momentum in your life, but begin to create influence in the lives of others.

What are some examples of rigid flexibility that you can share? How might using this principle create momentum in you life?


About Chad Miller

Christ Follower, Husband, Father. Passionate about developing people to help them reach high levels of success. Love being a part of Life School building leaders for the 21st century.
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