Resilience is the ability to be flexible in the face of adversity and apparent setback. Or, to put it in the words of one of our emotional intelligence experts, resilience is “the ability to bounce or spring back into shape after being stretched, bent, or compressed.”
In nature, we see resilience in trees that bend with the wind instead of breaking. In business, we see resilience in the organizations and individuals who adapt as situations evolve.
While some people seem to be born with naturally high levels of resilience, others of us struggle. The good news is that everyone has the capacity to become more resilient.
Interested? Try these three steps to build resilience. Start with something small to gain experience and confidence in your skills, and then see where your newfound resilience can take you.
1. The first step in resilience is to be gentle with yourself. If you’re feeling stressed out and as if you can’t cope with another demand or expectation (such as the challenge to become more resilient!) – go easy.
Resilience isn’t a task on your to-do list, and there’s no effort to true resilience. Instead it’s a way of being that will open you to feeling more peace and greater self-worth throughout your work and personal life.
2. Secondly, come to terms with the reality of what is. It’s easy to think that things are supposed to be different from how they actually are, but that can only lead to frustration and stress. The fact is, whatever the situation is, and however uncomfortable it may be, things are as they are, and how they are now cannot be changed.
How they are in the future can be changed. Yet just as it’s difficult to get to Paris when you don’t know if you’re starting in New York City or Rome, it’s difficult to achieve your desired future without first acknowledging and understanding the current reality.
3. The third step is to become curious. Curiosity is a tool that builds awareness of possibilities. When you’re curious about what could happen, you open the door to new ideas and different perspectives.
Ask curious questions such as, “What would happen if…?” Explain the problem to someone completely unfamiliar with what’s happening, and accept their input and ideas with an attitude of open curiosity. And try to avoid “yes, but” thinking (as in, “Yes, but that won’t work because…”).
Resilience isn’t about plastering a happy face onto difficult situations, and, as the second step in this process illustrates, it’s far from being blind to what’s really going on.
However, as you practice your own resilience skills, you’ll find yourself becoming happier – and also more able to have a positive impact on every aspect of your life.
Recommended Training Resources:
The five-part Stress Management Series covers multiple aspects of how to recognize, manage, and cope with stress and become more resilient. When your employees understand the impact of stress on their health and their ability to be successful – and see that your organization cares about them and is offering help in the form of this training program – they’ll be motivated to make the changes that will help them become more resilient, more engaged, and more productive members of your workforce.
CRM Learning’s best-selling Emotional Intelligence program features a terrific case study on self-motivation and how a two-man volleyball team won an Olympic medal after learning to stay positive and motivated despite setbacks.