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Success Mindset

What Are Adaptability Skills And How To Upgrade Yours

Written by Kristianne Wargo
Lifestyle Strategist, Executive Coach, Podcaster, Speaker and Best-Selling Author who walks with the everyday woman in her to live, love, and impact.
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There is one secret to success that no one talks about by name—it’s the power of adaptability. And when you find how to upgrade yours, there your greatness lies. So, what are adaptability skills, and how do you upgrade yours?

Adaptability is a reflection of your confidence, presence, and willingness to grow and endure. As Natalie Fratto, a venture capitalist, presented in her TED Talk, “I look for signs of one specific trait. Not IQ. Not EQ. It’s adaptability.” You can check out her full TED talk in the video below.

Depending on who you ask, adaptability has a variety of meanings. Google defines it as “the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.” Natalie Fratto says it’s “how well a person reacts to the inevitability of change and lots of it.” Then, you can include the simple flexibility and versatility, the duo which shapes adaptability.

What if change could help you succeed in life? What if the one constant could lead to the one skill that sets you apart from the crowd?

Keep in mind that adaptability is not something you have to like or enjoy. It’s the ability to perform and produce from a multi-faceted perspective, giving you an expansive position on a platform you continue to create.

What Are Adaptability Skills?

The challenge lies within the scope of habitual skills. The more skills that are rote, the less thinking that is involved. Yet, this can lead to complacency and a lack of high performance. Interject adaptability and see your opportunities explode in your life.

Adaptability skills, as defined by Indeed, is an overarching category that includes, but is not limited to:[1]

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creative and strategic thinking skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Organizational skills

These skills help you to customize your response and actions to what is necessary to impact the life and work you love.

The Appreciation

All of these skills are essential life skills that set you up for success. And the good news is, you can acquire them in your everyday life. Adapting to change and incorporating the ideas effectively in your responsibilities opens the doors of possibilities in accepting new challenges.

Even though change is a constant, it doesn’t make it any easier to apply. For many of us, there is a resistance to change. When change is requested, most people run and hide. It’s easier to do what you know than learn what you don’t.

Why work harder when life can be easier? Because adaptability presents the simplicity of what makes change a not-so-invasive hurdle. If you make space for flexibility and versatility, it all leads to adaptability.


Flexibility is the ability to bend easily without breaking and the willingness to change or compromise. This is where you can adjust quickly and change your focus in a situation or project. If you can be flexible in your comings and goings, your calendar, and in your every day, your skills will exceed other’s expectations merely for the fact of your adaptability, being able to respond with specificity to any situation or project.


Versatility is the ability to adapt to many different functions or activities. This is best described from the aspect of one who wears many hats. You might be experienced in the kitchen and cook incredible foods, not because you’re a great chef but because you can follow detailed instructions. Take this trait and use it to execute a marketing plan for a business.

Flexibility and versatility are the dynamic duos of adaptability.

Here is where success is redeemed with the hard work of simply adopting change as a positive reflection of adaptability.


The Acquisition

Below are seven ways to develop and advance your adaptability skills. Be sure to expand your knowledge and experiment within your own strengths and weaknesses.

1. Connection Is King

There is more than you in the world. So, be responsive to those around you. If you do not know someone, then make an introduction. Use questions to get to know that person. As you learn about the needs, wants, and interests, you will be able to make a connection that will allow you to serve with genuine actions.

2. Escape Your Comfort Zone

If you are comfortable, you are living within your zone of comfort. Go beyond the feelings of knowing and experience the freedom of growth by expanding your reach. What you see is not always what you get. To stand out, you have to be willing to stand apart. Therefore, escape your comfort zone, all the while inspiring yourself to serve others.

3. Cheers to the Cup Half-Full

When you look at a glass of liquid, how do you see it? Half-full or half-empty? Most people tend to lean toward the negative, half-empty. But when you choose to see the cup half-full, that’s where the story changes. It’s the blend of the good and the bad with a specific outlook to the positive. Don’t limit yourself to what you know. Stretch your perspective in seeing what’s possible.

4. Think Outside the Box

Innovation starts in the mind. So, get out of your own way and think bigger and broader. You can always fine-tune the focus. Broaden your horizons by trying something new and different. Outstretch the common and embrace the uncommon. There you will discover a limitless mindset to grow your adaptability.

5. Simulate What’s Possible, Not Probable

Positivity goes a long way when you are looking to make a change. Where there is hope, change is more easily accepted. Be a product of positivity and simulate what’s possible. Even if it doesn’t make sense after giving it further thought, looking at the situation or circumstance with a positive twist allows you to continually adapt what’s possible and not limit you to what’s not.

6. Infuse a Growth Mindset

Every day can benefit from a growth mindset. But that requires the removal of seeing only what you know—a fixed mindset. Step away from what is holding you back and lean into what will stretch your perspective. Having a growth mindset pushes you to examine the situation or project from all different angles. It’s not just what you know but what you can imagine beyond what you see.

7. Unlearn to Relearn

One of the most challenging aspects of growing as an individual is unlearning to relearn. And this is key to developing adaptability skills. It takes much effort to be willing to adjust previous actions so you can flex your versatility muscles. Further, it unlocks the potential for greater growth both personally and professionally.

Remember, there are always two sides to every coin. This means there is more than one way to do something. Being too rooted and attached to your actions and responsibilities limits your production. In all you do, make something new. Life is not about habits but embracing the change that enacts adaptability to make every day great.

The Application

“One step at a time leads to miles of greatness.”—Kristianne Wargo

These miles of greatness come with intention.

Take a stone and just not any stone, but a smooth, sleek stone with perfectly rounded edges that has been through some seasons. Stones are not created smooth. They are tumbled, tossed, and twisted about in the environment. This causes the stone to appear buffed and polished due to its adaptation to what’s around it.


You, too, can be the stone that changes and embraces the power of adaptability. Take the good with the bad and learn how to be flexible and versatile to rise to the top. Leave the old behind and celebrate the new. Change is a blessing in disguise. Don’t treat it as a disease. Embrace it by expanding your adaptability skills. It’s here in the ocean of change that you will rise from what was to what will be.

Adaptability is found in your presence. Getting too far ahead leaves behind what really counts in your every day. Trying to finagle what works to your benefit and strength cancels out what truly matters.

Be present in the ebbs and flows of life. The journey may be windy, but by upgrading your adaptability skills, detours won’t be a surprise but a welcome expectation. Change becomes simpler because you have become adaptable.

Do what matters with a touch of presence and adaptability. Adaptability promotes freedom in your thoughts and mind, making way to diversify your actions in the life and work you love.

More About Adaptability Skills

Featured photo credit: Akson via unsplash.com


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