The New Super Power: Resilience

Resilience: a Definition, an Idea, 3 Facts, and 5 Tips

What is resiliency? It is the ability to bounce back from a difficult moment ... a rough day ... a big setback ... a life-changing hardship. Resilience is a way to prevent burnout- What should leaders know about it?

1 Idea:

Resiliency is a "super power." Resilient people are flexible, durable and open to learning. They operate from a greater level of positivity and optimism, which helps to fuel ideas, solve problems and to be more effective. Resiliency allows you to be more effective in all that you do — and you are healthier, too! Without it, you're likely to suffer burnout, fatigue, malaise, depression, defensiveness and cynicism.

3 Facts:

Stress comes from rumination (overthinking). The mental process of thinking over and over about something and attaching negative emotions to it — rumination — creates stress symptoms and is the enemy of resilience. People who do not overthink may have plenty of pressure or hardships in their lives, too, but they aren't stressed by it.

Resiliency is a business and whole company issue. When people in leadership roles are angry, reactive or anxious ( because they are not resilient) it sets the tone for how others interact, react and get work done. The leaders won't perform at their best, neither will their colleagues. They are more likely to call in sick (and actually be sick). They will be more easily overwhelmed by the pace and uncertainty of work and find it harder to be motivated. Much of this is true for employees at every level whether they are leaders or not.

Resiliency can be learned! Learning to be resilient comes from modifying both thoughts and actions. It begins with recognizing your negative patterns and behaviors and trading (negative) habitual responses with new positive ones. With practice, the brain creates new neural pathways and the result will be less stress, more energy, greater focus — and a stronger sense that you can pick yourself up, dust off and try again.

5 Tips

Clarify your Why. Find your sense of purpose. Why do you do what you do? What do you value? Being connected to your bigger self or larger mission will help you face life's struggles. Remind yourself of your personal why every day. When you have purpose, you have a reason for working and your motivation is higher.

Give yourself credit, you are able to do this. You have the resources within you to become more resilient. How many times in your personal life or professional life have you already struggled, survived and bounced back? What did you do? What did you learn? Draw on these skills and insights. Remember to celebrate your (past and present) successes!

Stop ruminating. Instead of overthinking, focus on where you are and what you are doing now. Focus on the very next step. Don't let your mind drift into worrying about the future, or thinking about past failures. Learn mindfulness or other focusing techniques to train your brain to stop creating its own stress.

Embrace learning. Try new approaches, learn new skills, adapt your behaviors — especially when you know old ways aren't working any more. Make an effort to learn each day, and notice when you are open to learning and when you resist it. Then ask yourself, “Why?”

Sleep more. Eat better. Exercise. Taking care of your physical health goes a long way toward boosting your mental and emotional health, and it will make you a healthier person if these activities become good habits.

Finally, watch for bad energy levels and work on good ENERGY levels:

When you are burned out, or almost there: what about your energy?

Energy levels is a key part of burnout and knowing when and how to address it, potentially avoid it and recover from it.

There are four areas to think of:

·     Performance

·     Survival

·     Burnout

·     Recovery

In each of those areas you have emotions that should help you to notice and readjust to a “more healthy” zone, one you may need to continue.

In the Performance area you feel these emotions, and could be “in the flow”:

·     Engaged

·     Invigorated

·     Calm 

·     Optimistic

·     Positively challenged

In the Survival stage you are feeling these emotions (and are not in any kind of flow):

·     Impatient

·     Frustrated

·     Irritated

·     Angry

·     Fearful

·     Defensive

·     Anxious

·     Worried

In the burnout stage you feel these emotions/body feelings:

·     Empty- nothingness

·     Exhaustion

·     Hopeless

·     Sad

·     Angry

·     Depressed

When you begin to recover, (or to keep from burnout) you have these feelings in the recovery stage:

·     Freedom

·     Carefree

·     Peace

·     Mellow

·     Relieved

·     Open to new

The key is to get to the recovery mode and then after recovery, move into that direction whenever you start to be in the survival mode.  How do you do that?  Carve out time for:

  1. Play

  2. R&R, in general

  3. Creativity (and not just for work)

  4. Thinking and reflection

  5. Self-care, in general 

I wish you a great positive-energy leveled month!

Patricia Jehle