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January 17, 2005

Of Course I'm Flexible, If Only...

In my motivational talks, I share my five ‘secrets’ for conquering adversity with the audience. One of those secrets is to be Infinitely Flexible. Life is constantly throwing surprises at us and the more resilient and flexible we are, the better equipped we are to handle these surprises, many of which can be quite major – such as a job loss, a major illness, or even a natural disaster (such as the recent Tsunami). I go on, quite confidently, to say that winners are never surprised by life’s surprises and are able to switch course quite easily.

I pride myself on heeding my own advice. “Yes,” I tell my audiences, “I am very flexible.” I give wonderful examples of my great flexibility. Why I have landed on my feet after many major catastrophes.

Unfortunately, my family does not think of me in the same glorious manner as my audiences and, when I walk through the door feeling rather smug after a successful presentation, the pedestal collapses, rapidly knocking me to the ground. BOOM!

My son is home from college for the holidays. “Keaton, why are your clothes all over the living room? This is not a dorm. Please pick them up.” My husband arrives after a long extended stay on the road. “Hal, will you PLEASE move your suitcase from in front of the bedroom door. I keep tripping over it and I can’t stand all the stuff piled on the bathroom counter.” “Dana, the dogs are barking like crazy and the noise is really getting on my nerves.” “Come on everyone, let’s get this place cleaned up and get shopping. The relatives are arriving for a week, we have no groceries, and the house is a mess.” The response I get? “Oh Mom, just cool it. They won’t care.” I grit my teeth and respond with, “I hope you guys realize how flexible I am being. You know I am the expert in flexibility.” What do I get in return? A big, “Yeah – RIGHT!”

Noise level up, mess up, demands up, dishes piled up at the sink, patience running thin. “Be flexible, Lynne. Be flexible,” keeps running through my head as I quietly scream inside. “Would your rather have family and friends around or calm and quiet?” A little voice in side my head says, “Calm and quiet!!!!”

Feeling the time crunch of getting everything done before Christmas Eve arrives, I blurt out, “Anyone in favor of skipping the tree and all the decorations this year?” A resounding “NO” is the reply. Again the little voice in my head, “Be flexible, Lynne.” So what if we can’t get the tree until we take the pick-up truck to the garbage dump to throw away all the trash that someone tossed into it during the summer? So what if it is raining like cats and dogs while we stand at the dump scooping out the truck? So what if we have to wade through mud to look at the skimpy 10 trees left in the lot? So what if the oven is broken and I can’t cook the turkey until the repairman from Sears arrives? So what if the dogs are barking every time someone comes in and out of the living room? So what if the cat has diarrhea on the white rug in front of the fireplace in the living room? Remember, this is FAMILY TIME.” The mantra “Be Flexible” keeps running through my head. “Be flexible. Be flexible.” I finally force myself to sit down and take a deep breath. If my audiences could see me now, I’d be penniless! What happened to Infinite Flexibility?

I realize that often I am more resilient and more flexible with the BIG stuff in my life than the smaller things that disrupt my daily routine. I think there is a good chance I handled cancer better than the holidays. When life hits us hard, we gather up our courage and stand tall – with the conscious realization that we MUST be flexible and resilient. We remind ourselves constantly that we can handle whatever it is life has thrown at us. Yet when our daily routine is disrupted, when someone cuts us off on the freeway, or we have a bad day at work, we often forget our own wisdom. I am reminded of a quotation I often use in my voice mail message, “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears us out, it is the grain of sand we have in our shoe.” We leave that grain of sand in our shoe hoping it will shift to one side and then, all too often, we take out our frustration on those closest to us – family, friends, and co-workers.

While I always INTEND to be flexible, my behavior often does not match my intentions. I honestly forget to think about it when the washing machine breaks, or the dishes are piled high next to the sink. However, I always think about it when something HUGE happens.

I have no doubt that we all feel ‘flexible’ – especially when it comes to major events or crises. But what about the day-to-day “stuff” that derails your day –the dog messes on the carpet, the flat tire on the freeway, or the long wait at the doctor’s office that causes you to be late for another appointment? Are you flexible and resilient then? Today, as these “little” things cross your path, I urge you to take a deep breath, get that grain of sand out of your shoe, and remember to be Infinitely Flexible.

Have a HAPPY and resiliently FLEXIBLE 2005!

If you want to know more about resiliency, I encourage you to visit the website of Dr. Al Siebert at
WWW.RESILIENCYCENTER.COM . While you are there, take the resiliency quiz.


LYNNE IS THE AUTHOR OF THE MOTIVATIONAL BOOK, “I’ll Be Here Tomorrow – Transforming Tragedy into Triumph”… A book about finding your authentic self and saying YES to life. The reader rediscovers their inner strength with which, through day-to-day struggles, they have lost touch. It will inspire your soul, tickle your funny bone, and stimulate your mind. To learn more about the book, please visit the page on this website that is about

Lynne's Book.

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