One life skill you can’t live without? Resilience. Being resilient enables you to take bigger risks and go after BIGGER goals while maintaining your emotional well-being. When you push yourself out of your comfort zone, that journey can be exhilarating, but it also comes with challenges and setbacks for which you’ll need resilience.
My Story of Resilience
Years ago, I had a BIG goal. I wanted to help people and organizations grow and achieve more by working together better. That meant both understanding the needs of the other and aligning individual and organizational development. For individuals, that translates to real and meaningful development planning, a skill that’s underdeveloped in most leaders and individual contributors. I knew I could fix that – and I was excited! I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I had my mission. Now, I just needed to put together the solution and make my business growth plan. We called this new solution GrowWise. And the possibilities seemed endless!
Then, COVID-19 hit. In that moment, ALL the work that was going to fund this new idea came to a HALT. No one wanted leadership or talent development because everyone thought the world was ending. At that point, I’ll admit, I was scared too. And then, once the initial fear died down, I realized that pivoting and practicing resilience was the only answer. So, we did. We started offering solutions online, scaled back the team, and made the decision to take on funding so that we could double down on our new business. Was it scary? Absolutely! But the silver lining was that we finally had time and creative space to move ahead. It was a BIG risk, but sometimes you just have to go for it and rely on your resilience.
What is Resilience? How do I Strengthen it?
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from adversity and stressful situations. When you think about resilience, the question is NEVER: “How much resilience do I have?” But rather, it’s ALWAYS: “How can I build more resilience?”
Life is full of setbacks, challenges and roadblocks. Some are micro – when things just don’t go your way on any given day. Maybe you’re late for a meeting, get tough feedback, or no one likes your BIG, new idea. Other times, mistakes happen, and you have to go into recovery mode. Either way, I can tell you that, as an entrepreneur, those little things happen to me ALL day long. It’s a constant regroup. But the great thing is, those micro challenges help you grow stronger and prepare yourself for the macro ones. You can’t stop them from coming, you can only learn how to deal with them better. Macro challenges could be you lose your job or biggest client, you find yourself working in a toxic environment, or you survive an abusive relationship or personal loss. I’ve experienced all of those things and, in the moment, it can feel like it’ll never get better. Then, you exercise your resilience muscle, and you crawl your way back – one step at a time.
Resilient people have a couple of things in common:
- They just “get it.” They know that stuff happens, and they don’t fight with reality.
- They take control of their thinking by identifying the “good” that does exist in the situation.
- They take control of their own actions – and don’t worry about others’ actions. They ask themselves: “Is what I’m doing right now helping or hurting me? And is it enough?”
You build resilience by balancing openness, optimism and control. The key word is balance. Keeping them in balance will create the greatest opportunity to bounce back in the face of adversity. Resilience is all about going forward from here. After all, that’s ALL we can do!
Tips to Build Resilience
- Stay open to the challenge in the situation; don’t resist, learn the lesson it’s teaching you.
- Pivot fast, get creative and generate new ideas/alternatives to take you to your goal.
- Shift your point of view. Question your thoughts. Is your thought about the situation REALLY true? Is there a better way you could look at the situation? If so, change it up.
- Seek, explore and adjust based on feedback. Sometimes others can see the situation more clearly. Trust that.
Live with Optimism
- Make a commitment to keep a positive outlook. It’s just a discipline; choose it.
- Practice self-confidence. Use positive self-talk and be kind to yourself.
- Assume and act with positive intent.
- Be here now; practice mindfulness. Stay focused.
Take Ownership and Control (Over What You Can)
- Take charge of the process. Set a goal, create a plan, review priorities and take action.
- Be accountable for your actions/decisions. Seek to improve. Ask yourself: “What more can I do?”
- Show courage; speak your point of view.
- Manage your emotions and reactions. Expect to feel emotional (anxious) and go forward anyway.