Three steps you can take now to build your resilience muscle and improve your performance at work and at home.
We all go through times when it feels particularly difficult to pick ourselves up, manage through crises, dust off the failure, the exhaustion, and get back at it. This year, all of us were thrown into unchartered territory, together. Overnight, we were required to change the way we live, interact, work, parent, and see our world. So never before has our collective resilience been challenged like in 2020.
We are all anxious to step out of 2020 and head into the New Year. And to do that well, your continued resilience plays a crucial role – it will make a significant impact on your energy, excitement, and optimism each day.
Resilience allows you to perform at your very best. Resilience means to ‘jump again’ – it is the ability to bounce back from your experiences to the place where you are alive and at your peak. You can think of it as a tree swaying in the wind – even in hurricane winds, the strongest trees bounce back and remain standing.
The more resilient you are, the better able you are to face the challenges of each day, from managing your career with a family, staying strong through these trying times, taking your work to the next level, to finally making big changes in your life.
But how does this work, practically? Think of resilience like a muscle – something you can build, and you can start that today.
The key to resilience is perception – how do you interpret the facts that happen in your life? You and the person next to you can experience the same event – working from home with children around – but it is how you internalize and respond to that event that determines your success going forward.
To get you started, and to make it easy, here are three steps you can take now to build your resilience muscle and improve your performance at work and at home:
1. Expect to Fall Down
Hitting hurdles in the road of life is normal and nothing more than part of the process of learning to perform at your best, of raising your kids, of building your business, or finding a job. When you expect it, you can make sense of it more easily and you will handle it better, which means you will bounce back faster. Denial is the enemy of resilience. Expecting the hurdles allows you to throw yourself into your work and life 100%. You’ll be ready for what comes your way.
2. Detach, Detach, Detach
It is easier to manage through the tough times when you develop the habit of detaching from them. Resilient people are able to maintain perspective on the events that cause them to fall down. Highly resilient people do not avoid loss, receive less rejection than others, or experience less stress, they just handle it differently.
The good news is that you get to choose how you respond to an event. By way of example, when someone else is chosen for a file over you, you can immediately internalize it and assume this is a comment on your work or character. But what is the more resilient path? This takes us to the third step.
3. Acknowledge, Fight, Focus
Every time you get knocked down, immediately acknowledge it – recognize that it is not what you wanted and allow yourself to be disappointed. In our example, give yourself time to be angry or upset that you were not chosen for the work. After all, this matters to you, and it should. Plus, as the saying goes, ‘what you resist, persists’. Do not resist your reaction.
Then, fight against the assumption. Run through other perspectives or possibilities and argue back to the inner critic that is trying to get you to internalize the event. Solicit feedback and figure out what actually happened. You may find that your colleague had specifically requested the work, that he needs the work to demonstrate required improvement, or that your manager assumed you were too busy. It is often not about you and the more you can remind yourself of this fact, the better off you will be (especially in high-pressure work environments or raising teenagers). And no matter what, take the information as just that – information to help you move forward and improve.
Finally, focus. Resist the temptation to compare to others. If competition is a driving force at work or even in your personal life (all of those perfect looking families on Instagram), you will get derailed easily and waste valuable energy worrying about others when you can be focused on your own success. Finding joy and performing at your best is not related to other people’s experiences.
For every hurdle you face, you have a choice. You can choose to expect it, detach from it, fight the assumptions, and focus on moving forward. And every time you make this choice, you are growing your roots and building your strength so that you can remain standing, regardless of the force of the wind.
To a strong and healthy 2021!
Executive Coach & Career Strategist
(514) 966-7598 (Canada) or (646) 499-4817 (U.S.)