- November 5, 2020
- Posted by: Admin
- Category: Workplace
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Khalil Gibran
When we experience disaster, trauma, or distressing psychological events in our personal or professional lives, we usually react with grief and a range of negative emotions. Which is, of course, a natural reaction to having our hopes dashed or our goals thwarted. However, such experiences are not only an inevitable part of life but virtually required for growth, development, and the ability to not only survive in adversity but thrive.
My theory is that the best way to enhance one’s resilience, grit and mental toughness is with intentional practice. My first meaningful experience developing this philosophy came while training for the Navy SEAL selection program. I had moved to Crested Butte, CO to train my body and mind at extremely high altitudes for several months. This mindset later became the fuel I needed for my journey on the battlefields of both combat and business – where resilience is a prerequisite for success.
We’ve all needed a bit more fortitude in this new working environment over the past eight months – and will need to continue to embrace it regardless of the election outcome. And while there isn’t necessarily any agreed upon “list” of core components for resilience, in my new book – Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life, with a foreword by David Goggins – I break it down into three dimensions.
CHALLENGE: Resilient people view difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They see failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from – opportunities for growth.
COMMITMENT: Resilient people are extremely committed to their lives and goals. They take total ownership over proper planning, execution, and course correction.
CONTROL: They spend their time and energy on situations and events they have control over. And because they place their effort and emotion where they have the most impact, they are more empowered, confident, and fulfilled.
Resilience is an important characteristic in the context of work, now more than ever possibly. Nobody is a consistently perfect employee, teammate or leader – and everybody will at some point receive critical feedback or experience a failure at work. And in this virtual environment, new challenges and complexities have inundated already strained levels of engagement. Just keep in mind that resilience is also often required in the face of positive changes as well, such as a promotion, increased levels of responsibility, or even a desired career shift.
So, before we dive into the key reasons resilience at work matters, let’s take a quick look at some of the characteristics that drive heightened levels of mental fortitude.
Optimism – those who are optimistic tend to be more resilient and likely to stay positive about the future even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Giving back – the most resilient among us often turn to help others when they need to relieve stress and boost their self-efficacy. Selflessness is a powerful thing.
Values and morals – people with a strong moral compass or steadfast set of beliefs about right and wrong generally have an easier time bouncing back.
Humor – people who have a healthy sense of humor and can laugh at their own misfortune have an advantage when it comes to navigating adversity, for obvious reasons!
Mentors or coaches – this is also not a requirement for resilience, but those who have unemotional coaches, mentors, or role models have a resource for guidance.
Support networks – unsurprisingly, social support is important when it comes to resilience; those with strong social support networks are better equipped to bounce back from loss or disappointment. And I’m not talking about Instagram!
Embracing fear – this is not so much a characteristic as an action or tendency to act, but people who are willing to leave their comfort zone and confront their fears are more likely to overcome their challenges and grow as a person. This is the entire premise of my new book.
Purpose – it shouldn’t be surprising that those who have an emotional connection to a higher cause are more likely to recover from failure or disappointment. When you fervently believe you have a purpose, you are less likely to give up when faced with tragedy or loss. This is very much the case in SEAL training for example.
Intentional Training – As previously mentioned, while a portion of individual resilience may be somewhat permanent and unchangeable, there is an opportunity for improvement; it is possible to improve your resilience through intentional training.
Five of the most important reasons why organizations should understand the contributors of resilience and start introducing programs which build resilience are:
1 – General Employee Wellbeing
While organizations can work to address workload issues in parallel, resilience skills directly benefit employees’ psychological wellbeing by helping them reframe their perception of stress. Healthy and happy employees are highly engaged and drive quality, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
2 – Adaptability
Developing resilience in leaders, managers, and even front-line employees is critical for navigating the murky waters of change – an inevitability in this fast-paced world of modern business. Now consider the impacts of a global pandemic. There you go.
3 – Learning and Innovation
Most companies need to innovate on an ongoing basis to survive in this business climate. This means that employees need to work constantly on maintaining and upgrading their capabilities. Managers need to consider, that when placing employees with high degrees of motivation and ability – and therefore performance – in new situations or roles, the learning curve steepens in the short-term, which can have an impact on morale and resilience. This is where training comes in.
4 – Teamwork
The number one reasons resilience is tested in the “workplace” is by strained interpersonal relationships. By understanding typical behaviors linked to a lack of resilience, leaders can encourage employees to examine their thinking patterns and change their interpretation of the situation, thereby reducing negative feelings between team members and improving team dynamics.
5 – Career Development
Employees seeking to grow and develop their skills will benefit from learning to cope with adverse and complex work situations, such as negative feedback or conflict resolution. Managers who understand the dynamics of resilience can coach their employees much more effectively.
These are just a few of the reasons we must pay attention to the impact of resilience and make it part of the culture strategy.