When the going gets tough… THE 4 KEYS TO BUILDING RESILIENCE

 Do you

  • find it hard to cope with pressure?
  • get anxious when you are out of your comfort zone?
  • find it difficult to deal with change?
  • get frustrated or discouraged when you don’t achieve a goal?
  • sometimes lose inspiration when you do achieve a goal?
  • find it hard to recover from setbacks or disappointments?
  • get hurt or upset when others give you feedback?

We are living in a VUCA world. A world characterised by increasing Volatility (digital disruption and the threat of trade wars), Uncertainty (Brexit deal or no-deal), Complexity (global warming) and Ambiguity (fake news!) – just to mention a few examples.

It’s a world that requires from us greater capacity to cope in the face of new challenges. We need inspirational leaders who can settle the dust stirred up by VUCA by leading with what Professor Bill George, author of “True North” calls VUCA 2.0 –   Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability. Sadly, these attributes appear to be conspicuously lacking in political leaders currently on the world stage – with a few rare exceptions. For that matter, how many corporate leaders are richly endowed with these qualities?

So, where does this leave us?

In a single word – vulnerable. This is not a world for the faint hearted. It’s a world which requires from us reasonable levels of resilience if we hope to cope with the challenges, and significant levels of resilience if we want to be competitive and successful.

So, what is Resilience?

 Resilience is not about being bullet proof and being able to handle anything that is thrown our way. That’s a dangerous aspiration as it would set us up for great disappointments in the face of setbacks – and there are always setbacks! There is no straight line between current reality and a goal or a vision in the same way as an airplane is never on a straight course between Perth and Sydney. Air traffic, turbulence, weather conditions and several other factors will cause that plane to deviate from its course but if the pilot and the navigation system are locked on to the destination, the flight path is adjusted accordingly to get there.

The more ambitious our goals and aspirations are, the more likely we are to encounter obstacles and setbacks.

Resilience is about a number of things.

It’s about:

  • adapting well in the face of adversity
  • coping under pressure
  • dealing with failure
  • handling the challenges of success

Resilience is important because it:

  • Enables us to develop mechanisms for protection against experiences which could be overwhelming;
  • Helps us to maintain balance in our lives during difficult or stressful periods of time; and
  • May also protect us from the development of some mental health difficulties.

So, how do we build resilience?

The good news is that resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have – it involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

External factors that raise resilience are:

  • Caring and supportive relationships at home and work
  • Having positive role models
  • Having a mentor or coach
  • Seeking out and using resources that can help to build your resilience

Not everyone has access to these sources of resilience. Thankfully though, we all have access to internal factors that I will refer to as The 4 Keys to Building Resilience.

 The 4 Keys are within our locus of control. We don’t need to rely on other people or on expensive tools, courses or resources to acquire and master these keys. They are well within our reach. All it takes is awareness and frequent practice, and we can significantly enhance our resilience.

What are the 4 Keys?

  • Key #1: Thinking – It’s all about mindset
  • Key #2: Doing – Get moving and set some goals
  • Key #3: Connecting – We can’t do it alone
  • Key #4: Renewing – Looking after yourself

In future blogs, I will share with you the tangible and accessible tools and techniques that inform each of these valuable keys.

Stay tuned.

Alex Paizes
Leadership Development Specialist

If you are interested in learning more about Alex and his workshops on Essemy, please visit this link.