Talking to a group of young professionals recently, I was asked what qualities were needed to succeed in the work place today. From the title of this post, you already know that one of the main attributes that I spoke about was the need for personal resiliency.
It was only after that I stopped to think about what I really meant when I said resiliency, why it’s important, and how you go about cultivating it for yourself. Resiliency, to me at least, is about inner strength and how you cope with, and rebound from challenging situations.
The world today has become hyper transparent. Our thoughts, feelings and lives are more public that ever before, and how others feel about us is more directly shared. In the workplace, feedback is more immediate and the rate of change in business creates a sense of constant disruption. And then there are other difficult experiences that may come from our relationships, family situations, financial or even health related issues.
Many of these factors impact upon us as individuals daily. Our ability to process these challenges while retaining our dignity, motivation and self-worth is what it means to be resilient. Put simply, it’s how we bounce back. Here are a few of the ways that I try to cultivate my own resiliency.
Be deliberately optimistic. Everyone encounters problems. Wallowing in a problem only creates a sense of helplessness. Reframing an issue with context into a set of positive actions empowers you as an individual and feeds your optimism.
Take time to centre yourself. Whether it’s through yoga, walking the dog or sitting quietly with your beverage of choice, taking time daily to order your thoughts fills up your internal reservoir of inner strength. That reservoir is essential when you’re tested by challenging situations and provides a moment of calm from which you can contextualise what is happening and how you should react.
Don’t be a stress sponge. Absorbing other people’s stress or negativity is a sure-fire way to ruin your emotional health. Focus on the issue at hand. Let the negative emotional energy wash over you, rather than absorbing it. Stress causes adrenaline and cortisol to be released into the brain, which is essential for fight or flight situations. But chronic stress puts you at risk of numerous health problems.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. We daily find ourselves in situations where people express an opinion in response to something we have said or done. I tell myself that feedback is a gift. Often it helps us, or challenges us, to be better. And sometimes it can be confronting. To make sure that you’re not emotionally flattened by other’s opinions, you need to have cultivated a strong and positive view of your own self-worth. Believing in yourself is essential if you’re ever going to be able to really hear meaningful feedback when it comes your way.
Seek out and identify with others who have overcome. I like to read stories of how the human spirit has overcome something that is seemingly impossible. It feeds my view that nothing is impossible, and that every challenge can be overcome with determination and belief. But closer to home, inspiration and role models can be found in people who have tackled disease or great loss, and have emerged stronger.