In theory, a lot of people say they like change - whether that’s a new job, busy season or a shifting economy - people want to believe they’re open to change. When it actually happens, we find out that it’s a lot more stressful than we thought. That is, if you haven’t built resilience.
When people see a big change on the horizon, they start to feel fear. They don’t fear what is happening today, they fear what might happen next. Their minds start to race with future possibilities. Can we handle the increased volume? What if we don’t win the business? What if we can’t meet that demand? What if? What if? What if? It’s easy to let fear run away and lose focus on the present moment. But, fear is the barrier to resilience.
So, how do you overcome that fear and build resilience? Often, it’s about breaking it down to figure out if that fear is justified. Is it based on fact or emotion? Then, it’s time to set the emotion aside and talk about the facts. How many of the things you’re concerned about are actually happening or are happening only in your mind? Remind yourself of the times you’ve overcome challenges. Resilience is when you can say to yourself, “I’ve been through this before, it worked out, and I can do it again." Ask yourself, “What’s the absolute worst thing that can happen?” If you can live with that, then everything else will work out too.
And, stop being so hard on yourself. One mistake does not erase 1,000 “way-to-go's.” Your value is not defined in a moment. You are not perfect, and you should not strive to be. You can’t be perfect all the time, and if you are, you’re probably playing it too safe.
Finally, remember that people aren’t as focused on you as you think they are. They’re worried about themselves. They are not evaluating your every move. Take the time that you’re wasting worrying about what other people think and use it to focus on building your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence and self-awareness are probably the most important pieces of resilience. If you aren’t self-aware, you can’t be resilient. If you’re not owning it and you’re not accountable, you’ll never build resilience.
In short, it’s time to:
START: Taking accountability, building emotional intelligence and accepting feedback
STOP: Letting fear get in your way, and striving to be perfect
Why should leaders care about resilience? Simply put, resilience is the power to manage stressful situations, life changes and adversity, and bounce back. Clinical studies identify seven learnable skills like emotion control, empathy and impulse control that increase resilience. The overall resilience of a workforce can be measured as the degree to which people use those skills. That measure is what I call a company’s “Resilience Quotient”—a quantified profile of employees’ ability to rebound in the face of challenges.