It’s one of the secrets to survival, both professionally and personally. It’s what’s gotten you to where you are, and it’s what will help define who you will become. Looking back at some of the toughest situations you’ve endured, you may have felt there was no other choice. It was a natural instinct. And while it’s true that resilience can come innately, it’s also a learned skill. Instead of leaving resilience up to chance, considering strengthening those muscles by choice. How can we lead a more resilient life, and lead a more resilient team, in the year to come?
A Core of Confidence
Everyone has an inner critic. Who do you compare yourself to, and why?
Although comparison can create competition and competition can fuel achievement, it’s a balancing act. While constructive criticism can deter certain behaviors in the short-term, positive reinforcement is generally better for shaping new and lasting behavior. It’s also at the core of creating confidence. As a leader, recognize that criticism doesn’t increase competency. You are simply sharing what not to do, instead of what to do. Imagine a child learning how to ride a bicycle. Which environment shapes a more confident future cyclist: pointing out each time they fell down, or pointing out what they did to stay up? Confidence increases productivity and causes you to choose more challenging tasks, which make you stand out amongst your peers. You naturally create a more cohesive workplace environment; confident people celebrate the accomplishments of others as opposed to insecure individuals who try to steal the spotlight and criticize others in order to prove their worth. Speaking first and often (a sign of high self-esteem) makes others perceive you as a leader. In fact, over-confident people are more likely to be promoted than those who have actually accomplished more. The fact that successful people tend to be delusional isn’t as bad as it sounds; our belief in our own eminence is what gives us confidence. Even though we are not as good as we believe we are, this confidence actually helps us become more than we would have otherwise.
A Fondness for Failure
Consider failures as beginnings, rather than endings. You have probably learned more from failures than any other source of wisdom. Teach yourself, and your team, to focus on the data and facts. Embrace failure’s value as a teacher, get curious about the information it provides, and be open to where it leads you next. You may even find you fail less when you don’t fear it. Failure is either redirecting or reaffirming. If failure caused you to take a different path, it is because you saw it heading towards a dead-end. (Yay!) If failure caused you to get back up and keep going, it reaffirms you are committed to a goal and it’s worth fighting for. (Yay!)
The Power of Purpose
We have the freedom to choose our actions, our profession, our financial needs, and the path of our life. Each day is not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do. Strength can come from the recognition that there is a bigger purpose, a desire to make a difference, and a need to have a higher meaning behind the choices we make.
Spend time focusing on this for yourself personally, and with those you lead. Some points to ponder:
• Who in my life do I care to impact the most? How specifically am I going to mentor and impact those individuals?
• What are five things I would put on my bucket list, and with whom would I want to experience them?
• What experiences am I most appreciative of in my life? How can I help others have that same experience?
• What moment in your life are you most proud of? How can you duplicate more of those moments?
• Look around. What, and who, am I thankful for today?
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Steps for Success
Teach the importance of:
• Taking a deep breath.
• Then taking another.
• Then focusing on the next thing that needs to be done in order to keep going.
If you wake up suffocated by the list of things that need to get accomplished today, start with getting up and brushing your teeth. When you feel anxiety over an important deadline, make a list of things that need to be done and do just one of them. If your email inbox is exhausting, unsubscribe to a few distribution lists that you never signed up for. Stop longingly looking at pictures of other people’s photos on social media, and spend that time scrolling through your own pictures and cherished memories instead. Don’t focus on the big things; start with the littlest and decide where to go from there. Take an action, any action. Manufacture your own momentum.
Have an appreciation for your history. What are some of the toughest things you’ve experienced? How did you get through them? You probably already know quite a bit about being resilient, just haven’t stopped to admire it.
Remember: you’ve got this. The person who has gotten you through the toughest parts of your life? It’s you, with the grace of God.