In my introduction to “The 4 Keys to building Resilience” I mentioned that the keys were as follows:
So, let’s take a closer look at Key #3 – Connecting with others and with our higher self.
Resilience is not a do-it-yourself (D-I-Y) job! We can cope with just so much pressure on our own but there are times when engaging others to support us is not only sensible, it may be essential. We are currently all facing unprecedented challenges brought about COVID-19. Social distancing has kept us more physically separated than ever before. However, what has become an important part of our coping strategy has been connecting with people in other ways – through email, social media, video conferencing and speaking on the phone.
The challenges and obstacles that we face will often be those that others are either also facing right now or those that they may have faced in the past. Connecting with others and with our higher self entails, amongst other things:
1. Understanding where others are coming from
When we are under pressure, it’s easy to push other people away and try to tackle the problem alone. It’s also easy to blame and judge others for the situation we are in. We make assumptions about others without finding out how they are feeling or where they are coming from and very often these assumptions are wrong. Have you ever heard that ASSUME can make an ASS out of U and ME!! Well – it can.
It is often so much better to work with someone to tackle a problem – even when we think that person IS the problem. The key is to learn the art of cooperation. Cooperation can mean the difference between being supported and being sabotaged. It is an important skill to have.
How do you get others to cooperate with you? Look for opportunities to help other people and listen to their concerns. Accept people for who and what they are and respect them for what they believe. Stay open to suggestions and support when they are offered. You don’t have to wait for them to be offered. Ask for what you want and need, and that means knowing specifically what you want and from whom. We are all different and may have different ways at looking at issues. The more views you consider, the more you will learn about different ways to tackle a problem.
Be realistic about what you expect from others, and don’t try to get all your needs met from just one person. Ask more people to do less, rather than expecting few people to do more, if that will make it more likely to get what you want.
One of the greatest gifts any of us can give to another is our ability to just listen. There are times when we need to talk and need to have someone listen to us. And then there are times when we need to return the favour. Remember this: “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” (Native American saying).
It means getting ourselves and our egos out of the way and letting someone else take “centre stage” for a while. And, while we listen, we are building another person – and building ourselves as well.
When cooperation works as it should, everybody gains something, nobody loses, and you move more smoothly toward your goals.
2. Developing emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions in ourselves and others. People with high EQ have great self-awareness and social awareness and they also know how to manage themselves and relationships with others to get the most out of them. Enhancing emotional intelligence makes us far more likely to face and overcome challenges in a measured and constructive way.
According to Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence”, there are 5 key elements to emotional intelligence:
The ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drives as well as their effect on others. The more self-awareness we have, the more likely we are to be aware and understanding of others.
The ability to control your moods and impulsive reactions and to choose a more constructive response. How? Hit that pause button.
The ability to know what is important to you, know what you want and love and go for it with optimism and enthusiasm.
The ability to understand other people, put yourself in the shoes of others and treat them accordingly. How? By active listening and seeking to understand the opinions and feelings of others before imposing our opinions and emotions.
v. Social skill:
The ability to communicate well with others by being open-minded, flexible and non-judgemental. It’s also about giving feedback in a positive and helpful way to others as well as being open to feedback that others may give us.
The best way to raise emotional intelligence is by being in tune with yourself and with others – stopping and asking yourself “What’s really going on in my mind and my body right now?” or asking others “How are you really feeling … right now?”.
3. Connecting with our higher self
Our higher self is that part of us which is our essence – who and what we really are. The best way to discover or rediscover your higher self is to articulate your core values and to align your behaviours, goals and aspirations with these values. Goals are the things you want to achieve. Values are what and how you want to be in the pursuit of goals or in the face of challenges. They are the things that are most important to you. Things like honesty, integrity, authenticity, contribution, respect, kindness, freedom etc…
Do you know what your values are? Most people have a reasonable idea but very few can actually name their top 3 or 4 values.
Once you know what your values are, you can set goals that are aligned with them. Setting goals that are aligned with what is most important to you gives you a far greater likelihood of achieving your goals. Many people set goals and become so obsessed with achieving the goals that they will do whatever it takes to get there. This “win at all costs” attitude can often have disastrous consequences not only for the person pursuing the goal, but also for others. Two years ago, three members of the Australian cricket team decided to apply sandpaper to the ball to get an unfair advantage against the batsmen by making the ball move in the air. This was spotted by the cameras and the three players were banned for a year for cheating. You could say that these three players had “winning at all costs” as one of their values. How much better would the outcome have been for everyone if their value was “fairness” or “honesty” or “playing hard but fair”?
So you may be able to get away with it for a while if your values are selfish or destructive. But your success will be short lived and self-defeating. Having and living by values which are about making you a better person for your own sake and for the sake of others are far more likely to bring you long term success and happiness. When we connect with our core values and our higher self, we are being authentic and consistent. Our values become something we can resolutely hold on to when everything around us may be changing. Whilst we may not always achieve our goals, often due to unforeseen circumstances like the current pandemic, we can always live in accordance with our values.
We are living in very difficult times. Businesses are suffering, people are losing jobs and, tragically, many have lost loved ones. We need to accept that we are indeed “all in this together” and that engaging with others and with our higher self is essential to pull us through. We can’t do it alone. We need support, encouragement, understanding, empathy and compassion now more than ever.
I wish you all strength, wisdom and courage and I urge you to reach out to others to support you and be supported by you and to encourage you and be encouraged by you. And I urge you to reconnect with your higher self the best parts of your selves – that part in all of us where we are all one.
Stay safe and well and look out for the 4th and final Key to building resilience next week.
Leadership Development Specialist
Alex is a highly experienced leadership development facilitator and coach based in Perth. If you are interested in learning more about Alex, please visit this link.