In Six Questions for Clarity, I offered up just that. Worth a read and reflect, I humbly suggest. It rode on top of Diving into Balance offered last week. Through them both, I offered up on the strengths of Congruence, and Clarity. That said, today it occurred to me as I enter my 27th year as a College Business Educator, that there is a simple “formula” that I have observed over 40 years in leadership training and development.
Adapt + Adopt = Adept
Excellence is a virtue; a strength of character. It is not a destination. It is perfect (the verb) over perfect (the noun). It is about getting better… and I again humbly suggest it has two key footprints.
Adapt. In order to grow, we need a mind and heart set grounded in our readiness to Adapt. That is the virtue that is Flexibility. It makes us ready to respond. Life happens. Some parts, we have no control; many parts even. Except for our ability to respond. Our response ability is founded and grounded in our Flexibility; our readiness to Adapt.
Adopt. But our willingness and readiness to change does not make change happen. To Adopt is to add; to add Character, Ability, Skill or Knowledge (our best CASK). Being ready to change only leaves us open to it. Now, we must take on new information and Wisdom. We must take on new skills, abilities, capacities and talents. We must take on new or advanced strengths of Character. To Adopt is to put into practice; and practice makes permanent (there is no perfect as noun, remember). Adapt is that willingness and readiness to grow and advance and learn. To Adopt is to practice that willingness.
In so walking these two steps, we increasingly become Adept. Enter Excellence, as virtue. As we are ready to Adapt, and practice the Adopt… we do not change “who we are”, but we add to our capacities. Our roots remain, as they should … but our trunk and branches and leaves reach … through growth. Those who say “you won’t change me”… I get it. Our true and congruent core is important to claim and own. But to grow is to Adapt and Adopt and become an ever more capable being.
As this College year opens up, I will encourage my students to take these two powerful steps consistently and relentlessly. I will manifest same as example with my teaching, my work, my play, my health and my life. Adapt, Adopt, Adapt, Adopt… it is strategic and tactical… and it forges a spirit of Excellence.
What aspects of Character, Ability, Skill or Knowledge speak to you as a need for Adapt and Adopt right now? In these times of great change… we ever need the creative spirit to Adapt and Adopt; individually and collectively. Start in on your own steps… Adapt, Adopt, Adapt, Adopt…. I am. As we do, we become ever more Adept. Peace, purpose and prosperity…
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ― Abraham Lincoln