By Chris Farmer, leadership and management training expert and founder of Corporate Coach Group
Overcoming challenges and setbacks is something we’ve all become accustomed to in 2020. Despite this, many of us still struggle to bounce back from difficult moments, losing confidence and motivation along the way.
While we all remember the successes we have had in the past, it can be easy to forget the struggles we had to overcome in order to achieve these wins. In difficult moments it is important we remember the solutions we have found to previous problems – recognising no challenge is too tough to tackle.
Chris Farmer, leadership and management training expert and founder of Corporate Coach Group, discusses how you can overcome the current challenges you face and develop resilience in a wide range of situations.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to recover from a series of difficulties, setbacks, or defeats, and to quickly return to a high level of performance. It is a combination of four elements that interact to produce the ‘Resilience Effect’. The four elements are:
1) Emotional resilience
This is perhaps the most important component because everyone is strongly affected by how they feel. There are times (like now) when ‘the facts of reality’ are negative and tend to put negative stress on people. We cannot change the facts by wishing them away, so instead resilient people work first to change the meaning they assign to the facts.
Resilient people know that it is not the events themselves that drives emotions. It is what people believe the event to mean. Emotionally resilient people purposefully change the meaning they attach to events. Resilient people rely on the following beliefs:
No matter what the current situation, improvement is always possible
We will either find a way or make one
We do what we can, with what we have got, from where we are
Resilience is predominantly an attitude of mind
2) Intellectual resilience
There is a strong intellectual element to resilience because the problems we face can only be solved by coming up with solutions. Solutions are not easy to come up with and they take a lot of effort, energy, imagination, experience and learning. Resilience means that we commit to finding ways to get out of trouble. When faced with difficult challenges, non-resilient people tend to stop thinking. They freeze. Their minds go blank. They give up. In contrast, resilient people become more focused. They search for causes and seek solutions.
3) Physical resilience
Resilient people understand the mind and body form a single, integrated system and if you don’t provide yourself with the correct fuel you won’t be able to operate at your maximum level. It is important you look after yourself at all times but especially when you are under additional pressure. You should ensure you eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Non-resilient people often make poor choices. When they are under stress, they eat badly, drink too much alcohol and don’t exercise. Consequently, their energy, vitality and health suffer, which puts them at a major disadvantage.
4) Organisational resilience
The first three points were related to individuals whereas this final point emphasises the importance of the group. The group is important because nobody succeeds on their own. We all need to help each other. We must help each other emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Therefore, we should set up the organisational culture to purposefully encourage resilience on every level: Individual, team, group and on the level of the organisation as a whole. It is important that the leaders of the organisation become ‘resilience role models’. The leaders should set the resilience standard for the rest to follow.
While nobody likes to feel as though they’ve failed, it is important to remember it is how you respond to setbacks which will define you as a person. Although dealing with adversity is difficult to take at the time, if you bounce back from it in the correct manner it can go a long way to kick-starting your future successes. Resilient people recognise tough times are part of the development process and learn to embrace the challenges they face.
To create resilience:
Evaluate the world with a can-do attitude
Solve problems with constant creative imagination and innovative thinking
Generate energy by the proper use of sleep, nutrition and exercise.
Purposefully build an organisational culture that is intended to support resilience