So many of the people I coach and support in many varied ways are dealing with what feels like unusually demanding things happening in their lives. Much of this is related to present economic conditions – whether on the job challenges, redundancy and career crisis, cash flow and debt problems, falling profits and the effects of the credit squeeze, or crisis in relationships at home and at work.
And I’m not immune to some of these challenges!
So I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes us more ‘resilient’, what is it that can boost our personal ‘Bounce-Back’ factor to enable us to cope more effectively with stress and adversity, disappointment and rejection? Some experts talk about the ability to develop coping strategies in order to survive difficult times, or debate whether there’s a resilience gene that gives rise to a kind of mental and emotional toughness.
Notwithstanding what psychologists say, I firmly believe that, like me, you too can learn to become more resilient both in your personal and professional lives. This can be achieved in many ways but especially by thinking about what you can do with the following:
- Developing your emotional intelligence to help you build inner strength will give you the ability to bounce back from disappointment and knock-backs. Part of what really helps is becoming much more self-aware regarding your inner values and beliefs and whether your life is reflecting these. Practice being much more aware of negative self-talk and start to challenge that ‘wee small voice of negativity’ which will help you better manage unhelpful emotions. Seek out networks that enhance your self-image and add ‘perspective’ to your life, including voluntary activities.
- You can also work positively on building your self-esteem by gaining feedback on how effective you are in positively valuing and supporting others. Evaluate how in control of your life you feel, and what more can you do to take responsibility for what you plan to do, and for what happens to you?
- Developing your workplace ‘soft-skills’ of empathy, communication, persuasion and negotiation to help you connect more effectively with your teams and peers. This is a great opportunity to focus on the needs of others, build supportive networks and gain real feedback for how good you are in engaging others in yours and their work roles. Real engagement with others is often a great antidote to self-indulgent negativity.
- Developing your intellectual thinking skills to help you innovate different solutions and strategies not only to help you in your job role, your business but also perhaps in your job search. There’s plenty of help out there in the form of supportive networks, sponsors, and mentors – sometimes you need to be prepared to seek out the right kind of energy to help you improve your problem solving abilities so you can achieve your goals.
All of the above can also help your ability to control any access to temporary but possibly longer-term negative supports like alcohol and other risk behaviours, but you will need the support and trust of the ‘right kind’ of friends and associates.
Finally, here’s a powerful poem I shared recently with one of my coaching clients, by William Ernest Henley:
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
Until next time, have fun developing your own ‘Bounce-Back’ factor!