Flexibility and Red Flags: Trust Your Intuition

“They are not rigid and set in their ways. While they know what they want and think positively about getting what they desire, they remain flexible to what the circumstances require of them. “


In my book, Your Quest for Home, I discuss the characteristics of a successful leader (quote from page 120). Flexibility is one of those characteristics. I believe that it is a key to success and a part of my consulting as the Grand Nudge and trailblazer on Aging in Community

From the very start I had concerns about my latest adventure. I was asked to assist an entrepreneur with their goal to solve a social problem with which I have significant knowledge: alternative dwelling choices for older adults that would include shared housing.

The journey ended with me getting back off a plane in Asheville and going home. But how did I get there?

In January I received a message on Facebook from a gentleman I did not know. I didn’t realize it was about work but I quickly found that the conversation was taking a turn. He wanted to hire me to share my experiences and expertise about shared housing and aging in community with him and a core group of pioneers he had identified.

As our conversations progressed we determined that I could provide the social capital and tools to give these pioneers a successful experience including how to select a housemate and methods to get along. Eventually we decided that I would include coaching and on-going work to help launch this idea.

I suggested we use the Blueprint of We, for our business contract.  My client was very receptive; a big score in my book.

We used a Google Document to collaborate online allowing us to add or change the plan as needed and as our relationship changed and adjusted, so did the document. 21st century communication at its finest.

As time went on I felt good about the conversations. My client was very forward thinking and coming up with some very innovative initiatives. He wanted to use this concept in a new apartment complex that was being built. He had the idea to get a test group of pioneers to try it out and be part of the process. What a great plan!

But as the seasons changed, priorities changed. And soon came my own lesson on flexibility with full force.

He asked about me coming out to Arizona to do some presentations. Was this instead or was it also? It sounded like a good opportunity so we scheduled two workshops for July. The public event was called “Sharing Your Life and Space,” and it would be followed by a 2-hour workshop called “Who Will Leave the Light on For You.” My guidebook would be given to the attendees.

I had some immediate concerns that seemed unfounded. July in Phoenix sounded…hot. Would I melt? But of course, there is plenty of air conditioning. I tucked my trepidation away.

But the red flags, or “intuition icons” as I like to call them, continues to be raised. My client arranged the travel and only provided a 55 minute layover at Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta. The airport is the busiest international airport in the world and it is huge. I emailed him to express my concern that less than an hour might not be enough time, especially when the small Asheville airport often had delays.

529949403_81cc48e467_oSo, at 6:30 am, I sat on a flight that couldn’t take off due to mechanical problems. Of course, there wasn’t another flight the same day. I knew those flags were telling me to get off the plane and that there must be a better way. Perhaps we should continue to embrace the power of internet communications and consider a Skype or Google Hangout meeting? I got off that plane, and I went home.

I knew that reading the signs and listening to my own intuition would serve me well. I am glad I was flexible and listened to them.

I truly believe my life work is about collaborating with visionaries who see new possibilities and news ways to live together. I am always delighted, and humbled, by the idea that this can happen because of me and my experience. So while I know this particular experience didn’t work out, I am always open to new opportunities.

There is more to the story and the lessons continue. Stay tuned for more.

What events have happened in your life that made you take a step back and listen to your intuition? How are you exercising your muscles of flexibility? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation on Facebook.


Women For Living in Community