The standard definition of resilience is: the ability of an object to spring back into shape, or the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. I interpret those two definitions to define resilience as a human characteristic: the ability to maintain your performance, values and sense of yourself when faced with internal and external pressures.
We live today in a perfect storm of external and internal pressures, where we call on our ability to be resilient daily. But how resilient are you?
Some of us take to wearing heavy-duty armour and we believe we are resilient because we don’t let anything through that outer layer. I would argue that this is not a demonstration of resilience but more one of denial or resistance, which allows a very limited response to people and problems. The ironclad individual will have a limited scope to develop and grow. Don’t get me wrong there are times you need to don the armour. I have metaphorically donned my iron outer layer before entering difficult meetings. But that response is limited and only useful in certain situations.
To build resilience you need self-awareness and self-esteem. Self-esteem is about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. This gives you the ability to play to your strengths and ask for help and support for your areas of weakness. Your resilience levels can be low if you are using energy to hide a self-perceived weakness. No one is good at everything. If you can positively manage the things you do not excel at, you will have more energy to fully utilise the things you do excel at.
Resilience is not resistance. When you are resilient you can maintain performance and a sense of wellbeing when you are in a challenging environment. Resistance is to repel, argue or refuse to accept something, which takes an awful lot of energy and lacks flexibility.
There is a simple tool from Stephen Covey’s book ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ that can help you build levels of resilience through focusing your attention on the things you have control of.
Just take 5 minutes to write a list of all the things that are taking your attention and energy across all aspects of your life right now.
When you have written a few things down look at the circles above and place each thing on your list in the circles.
The things in your Circle of Concern affect you, but you can do little to affect them.
The things in your Circle of Influence affect you and you can affect them.
So examples could be
- My boss wants control over everything I do (Circle of Concern)
- I feel low in confidence at the moment (Circle of Influence)
- No one listens to my ideas (Circle of Influence)
- I feel very sad with the situation in the news (Circle of Concern)
- My partner is unhappy at work (Circle of Concern)
- The marketplace is very challenging (Circle of Concern)
Then score each item from (1) – (10); (1) is they have little or low impact on your wellbeing and effectiveness to (10) they have high impact on wellbeing and effectiveness.
Whilst you could deploy your time and efforts into helping your partner find a new job or trying to manage your boss’s need to control you, this will take a lot of time and energy in an area where you will have low or little impact /control.
If you use your time and energy to focus on improving your levels of confidence, something you can take complete control of, you are likely to impact on other listed aspects as well. It is likely that more people will listen to you and your boss’s need for control may diminish.
You cannot possibly control your boss and his/her needs. However you can recognise the impact it has on you and come to terms with the fact it is his/her problem not yours. You will build your resilience by recognising all the things that are impacting on your mindset and performance, but only spending time and effort on the things that are in your Circle of Influence.
Trying to change things in your Circle of Concern is wasting time and energy. However worse than that, you risk continuously failing against an unrealistic goal or objective, which will undoubtedly impact on your levels of self-esteem and confidence. This in turn will effect your ability to be resilient. Conversely putting your efforts into things that sit in your Circle of Influence is a win for you and those around you.
My recommendation for building resilience:
– Know thyself, build self-awareness
– Establish YOUR clear goals and objectives.
– Understand what is impacting positively and negatively, on your performance and wellbeing
– Know what is in your Circle of Concern and your Circle of Influence
– Work on the things in your Circle of Influence and be aware of the things in your Circle of Concern
If you would like to build resilience in yourself or your team find out more about our short seminars by contacting Tracey at TM Consulting and Coaching. Just CLICK on the link below.