Resilience is the ability to take the unexpected in your stride. When things go wrong, a resilient person will accept it, reflect on it, and deal with it. Someone lacking in resilience is likely to struggle with a new and unexpected development, and take much longer to come to terms with the problem – and that’s before they’ve even started thinking about a solution. Having low resilience to change and conflict can manifest itself in feelings of helplessness, being unable to cope, complete lack of confidence, and in the worst cases, damaging mental health decline.
Strongly-founded resilience is one of the best defences you have against times when the unexpected happens. Some characteristics of a resilient person are as follows:
- They have clear goals, and the desire to achieve them – they may even have a clearly-defined plan for doing so.
- They have empathy and compassion towards themselves and others, but do not spend time wondering what others think about them. They enjoy healthy relationships in all areas of life.
- They have a positive and optimistic outlook, and know when to work and when to relax.
- They don’t dwell on the past, or past wrongs done to them – they focus on changing the things they can change for themselves and those around them, to make things better.
How can you build it?
The best news is that you’re not born a more or less resilient person – you learn it and maintain it with practice, and anybody can do so. Incorporate the following strategies into your daily life, and you’ll be well on your way.
- Make a conscious effort to Think Positive. Listen to how you talk to yourself – if you’re regularly using negative, derogatory language to yourself, that’s got to change. Instead of berating yourself when things don’t go to plan, adopt more of a teamworking narrative – instead of “See what you’ve done now?” try “I can find the solution – let’s get to work”.
- Develop strong relationships. Allowing others to help you with finding solutions and delivering them will build trust, collaboration and teamwork – and equally important is treating them with compassion and empathy, understanding that they will be facing their own issues and challenges in life. People with strong relationships at work feel happier and more resilient to change.
- Learn from your mistakes and failures. Every time something goes wrong, look for the lesson – it can be something as small as missing a meeting, or a whole project failing to deliver. Both of these failures can offer you lessons to guard against repeating them in the future. Thinking about how to get a benefit out of negative event will shift your whole outlook, and practiced often enough it will quickly become habit.
- Make time for daily reflection. Look back at your day, and evaluate how it’s gone. What did you achieve? What were the challenges? How did you feel? What were your triggers? Knowing and understanding your emotional reactions are a great defence against the effects of stress, and being aware of your triggers will allow you to prepare for dealing with what may come your way.
- When something unexpected does occur, put it into perspective. Is it really as big as your initial reaction suggested? Think about all of the outcomes and analyse the problem’s real importance.
- Remember that you can choose how you respond to a crisis. You may not have a choice about the challenge you’re facing, but you can either panic, or take it calmly and logically. Start to take notice of the events that trigger the more extreme reactions within you. You always have control over your reaction.
- Nurture your self-confidence. Resilient people are confident that they will succeed, regardless of problems and setbacks – which also means they are more open to taking risks, trying new ways of doing things, and challenging themselves. Setting yourself some challenging but achievable goals is a great way to demonstrate what you can do.
- Finally, practise switching off. You need a good balance of work and relaxation – and “work” includes all the demands of a home and family. Give your mind and body the support they need; get into a good sleep routine; try some deep breathing and or meditation; find activities that relax you and allow you to decompress.
Building up your defences before disaster strikes will give you the tools to deal with issues logically when they arise. Resilience is knowing you have the power to choose your reaction, and that you have the flexibility to accept and manage change.
If you need some help in finding and building your resilience, I can help. My programmes are designed to delve into what makes you tick, and to give you a personalised plan for developing your confidence. Click here for your free, half hour consultation.