In life and in organizations, there are things we can control, influence and except. I call this CIA. When thinking about an improvement plan, a good way to begin is to look at the many aspects of your personal and professional life and sort through them in three broad categories. The first category is aspects that are clearly part of your work, your capabilities, your role, your responsibilities, your supervisors and peers expectations, technology, policies, organizational structure, lines of authority, industry standards, regulations and budgets. The second thing to look at is aspects that are personal but do have an impact and effect on your work. This might be your lifestyle, your health habits, moods, family, family responsibilities, community responsibilities. The third thing is aspects of your life that have little effect on how you work. For example, your friends, your hobbies, etc. Now consider the first two categories and actually list each situation, process responsibility, and relationship. Next, rank them from greatest to least impact on your work. Focus on the top ten. Place each element somewhere on a continuum from things I can control to things I can't control. Somewhere in between those two ends is a zone of things you might have influence over. Here is a high-level example. Now think about what specific practices do I want to cultivate? Choose three to five behaviors from the list that are within your control. Here are a few examples. You may choose to focus on adaptive behaviors. Embracing opportunities to learn. For example, you could plan to attend a meeting you don't want to be in and use listening skills to learn. You could identify and focus on the positive aspect of a process for change. You could say yes to a new project that will stretch your skills. You could focus on resilient behaviors, reframing a setback as an opportunity for growth. Viewing a setback as temporary. Explain why you're not a victim in a particular situation. Here are some guiding principles. Four ways to embrace adaptability. As you consider the following guiding principles for becoming more adaptable and resilient, see if you can recognize the SCARF domains, you can learn to manage. Redefine your motivation. Say you're asked to learn a new process that is outside your area of expertise, you'll be required to change the way you organize your workflow. Your initial feelings might be apprehension or resentment. Your motivation might be to avoid looking incompetent or to avoid failing. In that case, you would operate from a position of fear that stifles creativity. So what SCARF triggers do you recognize here? What threats might you recognize? Well, I see status and autonomy. Let's say you recently completed the CliftonStrengths Online Assessment and found that your passion for learning is one of your top five talents. You change your view of the new process as a thread of failure to an opportunity for learning. Your motivation shifts from avoiding failure to building what is already a strength. Your identity shifts from victim to fortunate receiver. You are in charge of yourself. Now let's move on to observe self and others. When you're looking at yourself, what are you really good at? What opportunities does your organization offer for new skill development? Let's just say a deadline has moved up. How did you respond? When you look at others, what skills do others demonstrate that you would like to master? Let's just say you volunteered to orient another team member. What happened to your supervisors mood as a result? Let's take a look at organization. Company directors often send out progress updates, newsletters, and notifications of opportunities opening up. Do you take time to read these communications? Apply The TRIAD to your thinking. During times of change in stress, how can you change or improve your physiology to take on this new challenge? What are you focused on? What do you need to focus on? How can you reframe your focus to a positive? What do you need to communicate with yourself and others? What positive language can you use? Plan flexible courses of action. In a vocal world that's volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, you can ground yourself by planning. Instead of seeing only one solution to a problem or only one outcome of an initiative, take the time to conceptualize several possibilities. Here's an example from the graphic design industry. In the story, you just read, what SCARF domains did you notice? The more people your idea will impact, the less control you probably have. How do you respond when your idea is not acted on? How well do you understand the organization's big picture, the interdependence of various teams and departments? Do you have opportunities to increase your understanding? When planning, set small goals that build a pattern of success. When you face a task that will likely take a lot of effort over an extended period of time, you can increase your resilience by breaking down what seems like a mountain of work into smaller, manageable steps. Remember the ripple effect. The greater our positive control of ourselves, the greater our potential to positively influence others.