How Well Do You Bend?

Yesterday I had big plans. I was going to write a bunch of blog posts, and get ready for the last day of Summer Reading List and go buy new moisturizer.

And at 4:30 am, Murmel appeared in my bedroom complaining of a tummy ache (or a tummy “egg” as both of my kids call their aches). After the application of a hot water bottle and a back rub, she was back to sleep, though I was now wide awake and on high alert. Still, when I woke her up at 7:30, and she was all bright smiles and ready for school, I figured my plans would be on track. Sadly her belly had other plans for us.

So yesterday was a day of snuggling on the couch and taking a morning nap. No blog posts were written. Summer Reading List is officially over, and I still have no moisturizer. To top it all off, Mother Nature graced Alberta with snow. Snow.  How Well Do You Bend?

All of that, though, got me thinking about flexibility. (And no, not the touching your toes or contorting yourself into a pretzel at hot yoga kind of flexibility). How easily do you adapt to sudden changes of plans? To unexpected issues coming up that need your attention right now? And what plans do you have in place when you can’t do two things at once?

There are many traits of a successful entrepreneur, and one of the most important is flexibility. If you can bend, you won’t break. A huge advantage of self employment is that you have much more freedom than an employee does, but how do you apply that in your business?

For me, this looks like knowing all the different ways, places and times I can work. I can write a blog post from my phone, in a pinch. (Actually, I can do most of the things I need to do from my phone, which is pretty nifty, when you think about it. Magic little box!) It means knowing how to differentiate between the stuff I really -must- do right this minute, and the things I can put off until time and space right themselves again and give me a minute to breathe.  It means understanding what I can and can’t outsource. Every business has tasks you can hand off to someone else temporarily, if you start to feel like you’re piled up with more than you can handle. I’ve always been pretty adept at taking whatever life throws at me (thanks to 28 house moves in my lifetime) and it’s served me well.

So what if you aren’t very good at being flexible? Maybe the idea of change scares you, or you hate surprises. A shift in plans has you curled in a ball in the corner instead of working to adjust. It seems backwards, but my advice is – make  plans. Make as many contingency plans as you need to. Create a plan for the day your kids are home sick, or the day your car won’t start, or the day your modem dies. For the rigid among us, knowing there’s a back up plan for the backup plan can really help – even if you never use them, knowing they’re there is a stress killer.

Now I’m off to buy some moisturizer. And a back up jar, for days like yesterday.


Stephanie Ostermann

I’m the sort of girl who you meet for coffee and end up pouring your entire heart out to. The friend you come to when you need someone to call it straight. No bullshit. No extras. Just truth.

I’m a communicator. That’s a PC way of saying I like to talk, but I also spend a lot of my time listening, and over the years, I’ve developed a sense for subtext – how one or two words can change your entire message, what people are really trying to say and how to weave the varied layers of your story into one cohesive brand message that your clients fall in love with.

When I'm not acting as editor in chief for Vivid & Brave, you can find me geeking out over words here.

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