“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” ~ Nelson Mandela ~
Resilience: The ability to grow and adapt in face of the challenges and stress of life.
No one can argue against resilience as an essential leadership competency. Fortunately, it can be developed and restored through making choices, increasing awareness, changing behavior, and reframing mindsets – one step at a time.
Given the pace and intensity of most modern workplaces, we may be overstretched in our work for long periods of time, which can create chronic stress. That in turn reduces creativity, productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.
Since much about our workplace situations is out of our control, restoring resilience relies on focusing our energy on what we can control – our own decisions, behavior, and mindsets. While strengthening resilience may include some contemplation of our big picture goals and priorities, it can also be done through on-the-spot “resilience hacks” at work. For example, if you find yourself tackling everything on your list except your most important project, you might step back and try a different approach.
Resilience hack #1:
Practicing some compassion for yourself is a good starting place in any difficult situation. How would you regard a dear friend who was feeling challenged in the way you are feeling challenged? Allowing a kindness toward yourself doesn’t mean walking away from the difficulty. Instead, try staying present with yourself through kindness as you also hold your intention to start in on that difficult project. Notice what happens inside you. Some new insight might arise, along with an idea of where to start.
Resilience hack #2:
Break “the BIG project” down to small bite-sized steps. Start with a step you can tackle without evoking anxiety. Then see where that leads. You may be ready for the next small step on the same project.
Resilience hack #3:
Experiment with shifting your mindset. What happens if you regard this project as an object of meditation? With this perspective, you can expect your attention will wander off. When it does, simply notice that has happened and bring your attention and energy back to this important item. Be gentle with yourself and simply keep coming back until you have made enough progress to feel some sense of satisfaction.
Resilience hack #4:
Repeat resilience hacks #1, #2, and #3 as needed. Include some breaks.
Resilience as path
There are lots of possible ways to interrupt unhelpful patterns once we decide to do so. The hacks listed above are just a few. If you notice that chronic stress is slowly eroding your aliveness and engagement at work, make the decision to find another way to be “with it all”. With that intention, you may notice ideas and resources for strengthening workplace satisfaction and leadership effectiveness will come your way. Of course any change – even changes we want – require attention, practice, and patience. So keep at it!
Gretchen’s coaching and consulting practice focuses on team development and leadership. She collaborates with clients in ways that tap into their wisdom and strengths in order to accomplish their goals. That work often includes cultivating resilience and authenticity in the workplace and in life. She also works with individual clients focused on life planning and navigating transitions.
Foundation of Authentic Leadership
November 16-17 2018 | Chicago, IL
Drawing on principles and practices from contemplative traditions as well as contemporary approaches to leadership and organizational learning, we will create a collaborative learning lab that will foster deep personal insights, enhance interpersonal skills, and increase overall leadership effectiveness. Learn More | Register Today!