The Power of Resilience and 4 keys to building your Resiliency

In today’s ever-changing business climate, organizations are always looking for the latest buzzword or trend to jump onto. What are other companies doing? How do we keep up? Agility, diversity and adaptability; all important characteristics of the modern organization. However, one trait I rarely hear talked about is the concept of resilience. As mentioned earlier, we live in a rapidly changing economic environment. Thus, it is just important for organizations to learn how to weather the storm as it is to ride the waves. Are we using resilience to simply survive or something else? What do I mean by that? Let me paint you an example.

I love airplanes. There is something about flying that never ceases to inspire wonder in people. No matter how many times I take a flight I am still captured by the moment the plan takes off and the vast world you knew starts to fade away into the unknown as you ascend towards your destination. I was reminded of this feeling recently on my way to vacation.

During flights I like to let new ideas and thoughts percolate in my brain and this concept of resilience was at the top of my mind. Then when it came time for the typical safety demonstration before takeoff it hit me. Resilience is kind of like the oxygen masks planes use; they are choices not conditions. We can choose to use that oxygen mask if we want, however sitting there and staring at it may not serve us well. Similarly as leaders and teams we need to choose to use resilience for the best in our organization and in our own lives.

So what does resilience look like exactly? Although resilience exists in one word there are actually a variety of ways we apply it in our lives. I like to break down resilience into 3 different categories: physical, emotional and circumstantial.

Physical Resilience – When we talk about physical resilience it tends to conjure up the image of famous professional athletes overcoming significant injuries to return to dominance. This is being able to push past or endure physical limitations.

Emotional Resilience – For those who are parents, have you ever watched your child attempt something that could fail or are already in it and you start to feel anxious for them? Everything in you wants to just run in and rescue them; make sure they are safe. But you know they need to learn how to deal with adversity for themselves and you do everything possible to allow that to happen; using your emotional resilience.

Circumstantial Resilience – This could also be referred to as life resilience and is perhaps the most important of all 3. The reality is that life has its share of challenges it throws as us, and these challenges can hit hard. Often there are circumstances whether financial, relational, mental or spiritual that come against us; some our own choices, some not. The point is that in these cases it can be easy for us to be a victim and give ourselves permission to let go of resiliency and our self determination based on what is happening to us. Our circumstantial resilience keeps us from defining ourselves based on our experience.

To wrap things up resilience is our inner capacity to face and handle life's challenges, whether everyday disappointments or extraordinary disasters. So in light of that the question is: how do we increase our resilience? I’m glad you asked! So here are my 4 key resilience builders:

1.     There are two types of days; great days and learning days.

On great days we need to learn how as individuals and organizations to do what I call Celebrating the Wins. We empower what we celebrate and as we continue to praise the right things in our organization, we empower our mission and values and keep it at the forefront of our team and its actions.

On the other hand, learning days are for reflecting on what was Most Valuable for us. It’s ok to experience disappointment, simply don’t wallow in it. Identify what is working and be intentional with not defining yourself by what isn’t.

2.     Persistence not Perfection

Often perfectionism is looked at as a noble goal in many workplaces today. The problem is that perfection is about achieving a desired outcome that you will almost always fall short of. You may achieve some level of success in the short term but is that success rooted in your companies’ values and what you are passionate about as an individual? Not a good recipe for sustainable success.

Meanwhile persistence is about a relationship; the WHO and WHY of what you do. This goes beyond the numbers on a balance sheet. It’s the thing that keeps you excited to go to work each day, and those around you can’t wait to jump on board. Persistence is not about X + Y = Z, or achieving an outcome, but it drives us to keep improving everyday; a culture of excellence.

3.     Thou SHALT not be…..

We are all human, and despite our efforts there are days that will be less than our best. That is why it is so important for us know our triggers; the things that can hijack our resiliency. I like to refer to these as SHALT; Stressed, Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. In order for us to improve and maintain our resilience it’s crucial for us to develop a habit of self-reflection and keep short account with ourselves. Am I choosing to make or not make a decision based on these things? Do I have an accurate perception of the situation right now? The more we understand our triggers the more we can work to improve in these areas and strengthen our resilience.

4.     Defining Success That Matters

If you have read any of my articles or hear me talk, you will quickly realize that I strongly believe passion is important in regards to our work. Furthermore our passion is defined by our actions. While Volkswagen might have claimed that integrity was something they were passionate about, and one of their company values, their actions of lying to their customers proved otherwise.

However understanding what we are passionate about is easier said then done. Most of us have never asked ourselves that question. That is why we have to be intentional with defining success that matters to us. Whether you know it or not, your actions as an individual and as a company are being guided by something. But when we understand our passion it acts as an compass and keeps us focused on the end goal through the midst of our physical, emotional and circumstantial challenges. Define your success that matters strengthens your resilience because you know exactly where you are and where you want to be.

There you have it; your 4 resilience builders! So if I was to pull this all together with you in mind, the circumstances you are operating with, the disappointment of goals and opportunities lost and the fear that comes from these circumstances and losses. How are you choosing to be resilient?

As you embark on the changes that are unfolding; and the change that is significant, how will your resilience help shape your future, the future of relationships that matter and the future of your organization? Organizations that thrive are populated by people who thrive from being in a workplace culture that they are valued by what they do and how they do and even more so, by who they are and why they matter.

I hope you got something out of this article. We have included a free diagnostic for determining your current level or resilience as well as a more detailed resilience booster plan. Just click the link HERE. Also if you are looking for more resources on communication, conflict, change and leadership there are plenty available throughout our website.

Coach Mike

President and Head Coach – Legendary Coaching