Three top tips for building your resilience
Resilience is your ability to adapt to adversity or a stressful situation. Resilience is not a trampoline where you’re down one moment and up the next. Think of resilience as more like climbing a mountain; it takes time, strength, and help from others while dealing with setbacks. We need to focus on climbing the mountain now more than ever.
Many of the early theories about resilience stressed the role of genetics. Some people are just born resilient, so the argument went. Of course, there’s some truth to that, but empirical evidence today shows that an individual can learn resilience. The reality is that sometimes in life, you don’t realise how much strength you have until you are tested. As the saying goes: cometh the hour, cometh the man.
There are many arguments about what makes one individual more resilient than the next. In my experience, it comes down to three things;
#1 A UNIQUE ABILITY TO CONFRONT REALITY HEAD-ON
We all tend to slip into denial as a coping mechanism. Facing reality is gruelling work. It can often be draining and emotionally wrenching. But once you confront your reality, you have a solid platform on which to build.
Individuals who possess a strong bias and a rich reservoir of personal resilience live their life in a constant state of reality. They don’t bury their head in the sand when faced with challenging times. They don’t go into denial, hoping that a situation or scenario will sort itself out. And they’re never delusional about the magnitude of opportunities or challenges facing them. They have a unique ability to confront reality head-on. They are what I call ‘pragmatic optimists’. They focus on what is within their control.
A sense of optimism and possibility is a powerful tool. But for more significant challenges, a cool, calm, almost pragmatic sense of reality is critical to your success. I see the resilient individual as a pragmatic optimist, where both characteristics work in positive tension to benefit each.
#2 AN UNWAVERING BELIEF THAT LIFE IS PURPOSEFUL
Focusing on your purpose – personally and professionally – is how resilient people build bridges from their current state reality to their future state. It holds them to their North Star during these uncertain times. It is easy to lose focus and purpose when so much harmful noise and distraction around us can dilute our goal. At this point, when our purpose is challenged or under threat, resilience will naturally kick in. Knowing your purpose will keep you grounded.
#3 AN UNCANNY ABILITY TO IMPROVISE AND ADAPT
Personal plans might not play out as expected, and business plans may pivot, but I have no doubt you can adapt and improvise to make it work for you; you adjust your decision making to fit the circumstance.
You’re going to take knocks, some days will feel like a train crash, and you will go down blind alleys. But if you have an ultimate destination in your mind’s eye, a focused goal and purpose coupled with drive, determination and motivation, then, when you do fall over, you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, improvise, adapt and refocus on your purpose.
That’s personal resilience in action!