I always liked things done my way…or at least that was always my mantra. My way or the highway! I have always been headstrong and I do like to see my ideas born, worked on, developed and polished into the finished product. I’ve always struggled when things haven’t quite turned out how I would have liked. I hate to admit it but I have been a perfectionist.
Teaching, motherhood and experience of life have thankfully made me realise that to strive for perfectionism is to look for the holy grail. It doesn’t exist. Flexibility is the one thing that can keep things moving forward…the permission slip if you like. Where things are allowed to go off piste yet still stay on track.
Being flexible, is accommodating all possible eventualities. It’s being able to cover most, if not all the bases. It’s rerouting after a wrong turn and establishing an alternative route to the same destination. It’s life.
Let’s face it, nothing ever really goes to plan, but having that resilience to say ok, that didn’t work… I’ll do this, you do that…give a little extra time here…sit back there. Let’s make it work. Flexibility requires cooperation, team work and compassion.
I have worked with many colleagues in school, on many different projects to develop the school and move forward with ideas and initiatives. I would say that I am quite accommodating of others and work within a flexible framework or timescale quite well. Why, how? Because I lost the arrogance of perfectionism. I soon realised that in order to achieve intentions and goals I had to let certain things ride, step down when I needed to and step up when required.
I found this in my personal life, more so. In my twenties, I was always the one who organised everything, had full control of events. I was the boss, in control. It almost killed me. It was only when I realised my responsibilities as a mum that I learnt to be a little less harsh on myself. That some days are just meant to go wrong despite the best laid plans. That it was ok to deviate from the plan. So what if I didn’t make baby music class because Fin was sleeping in the car? So what if I had to feed him a bloody jar because I hadn’t made enough Annabel Karmel butternut squash and sweet-potato puree. As long as he got fed right?
I soon learnt that friends who I had made plans with, only to change them at the last minute, had their reasons. I learnt to not take things personally. Things happen that change things. End of. Be flexible, deal with it. Adapt.
I see being flexible as a skill that I have mastered with age, life and responsibility. There’s nothing I’d love more than to be in my classroom right now and teaching my children…but I can’t. I have to think outside the box and be flexible in my approach and working methods. I have to work with colleagues in a different way. Work around my family and their needs too. Its not all about having things my way. It’s about working collaboratively in a way that achieves intentions set out.
As with life, things ebb and flow. Being able to flex to accommodate those movements is vital to get through it. I like how bendy I really am!
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” Tony Robbins.