The Howells Group Blog

Master the “Quick Flex” Step

By Karen Howells


As a first born daughter, Myers Briggs “J” type, and a business owner, I’ll admit I like knowing what to expect. But we’ve all experienced that today’s environment requires leaders to master the step of the “quick flex”: quickly letting go of expectations to thrive. Here’s how:

1. Be in the Moment 

This advice is true in both dancing and leading, though not easy in our digitally fueled and distracted culture. Last week the manager of a coaching client logged on for our expected “check-in” conversation. But, unexpectedly (for me), his divisional HR leader suddenly appeared on the Zoom. (HR showing up unexpectedly isn’t always a good thing these days). I had a split second to “flex” my agenda and make the choice to embrace what was happening. And surprisingly, both leaders just wanted to know how to better support my client due to a new group he recently inherited. Flexing in this moment welcomed a better outcome. 

2. Embrace Possibilities in the Unexpected

I’m not promoting toxic positivity here, just reality. Unmet or changing expectations can leave room for new directions, relationships and learning. Our recent downsizing as a result of a house flood resulted in way less stuff and a simpler life. My cancer journey revealed insight about what matters most. Bringing a possibility mindset forward makes room for new opportunities we hadn’t envisioned.

3. Practice New Perspective

Letting go of expectations regularly and quickly is a skill requiring practice. When we’re close to situations and difficulties we lose sight of the larger picture. What can seem disastrous in our days, our lives, our work is often not the tragedy we initially thought. When you look up and out, it takes you out of your frame of reference, leveling up to see the much larger picture!

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