When you reflect on how you’ve navigated the world over the last couple of years, how do you define “resilience?” Do you think there’s a common understanding of what resilience is? By completing a simple Google search, we can see many definitions:
- “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” (Oxford Languages)
- “The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.” (American Psychological Association)
These definitions focus on “bouncing back,” being “tough,” and perhaps even growing in the midst of adversity. What’s absent from these definitions, in my opinion, is the presence of failure. Resilient individuals and leaders are ones that fail, learn from their mistakes, adapt, and therefore are driven to achieve success. As I’ve experienced, failing can be a catalyst for resilience.
5 Ways to Practice Resiliency
I believe you can learn adaptability, flexibility, and optimism, all of which foster resilience. With the ever-changing landscape of business, these skills are fundamental to adapt to dynamic environments. Here are five ways to practice resiliency:
- Practice Relaxation Techniques
One of the most challenging, yet critical, responses you can offer when faced with an unexpected situation is to remain calm. I’ve learned firsthand that it can be detrimental when you let your emotions guide your decisions.
To increase cognitive function and remain relaxed in stressful situations, practice mental training exercises, such as online mindfulness programs. Studies show that “mindfulness intervention seems to be both practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resiliency, vigor, and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being.”
- Build Positive Relationships
Positive relationships set the foundation for resiliency. When you build meaningful, positive relationships in the workplace, you’re also building a network of support. Confide in others to help you overcome stress, find new techniques to solve problems, and seek growth opportunities. You’re not alone amidst adversity, and seeking positive relationships will assure you of this.
- Adapt a New Perspective
Reframe threats as an opportunity to grow and learn. Instead of focusing on the negative, imagine what you’ll accomplish and how you’ll feel when you reach the desired result. While doing so, remember to not close yourself off from new ways to overcome a challenge; open-mindedness is a major proponent of resiliency.
- Plan, Plan, and Plan
Assess your past mistakes and failures—What did you learn from them, and what will you avoid if a similar situation arises? Failing helps us learn how to effectively problem solve.
Assess all potential risks and how to resolve them—What will you do if you have a cybersecurity problem? What happens if there’s an unexpected issue with your supplier, delaying your orders? While you can’t plan everything, you’ll be more prepared if an unexpected situation arises compared to being completely caught off guard.
- Look At Role Models
Role models, both good and bad, are great examples of what you should and should not do to reach a goal. Regardless of the industry, consider individuals, or even organizations, you do and do not want to emulate.
Embrace Change, Don’t Fear It
Resilient individuals, teams, leaders, and organizations do not fear change or unexpected circumstances. Instead, they embrace it. They are comfortable with change and view it as an opportunity for greater success.
I understand that it can be difficult to look at challenges from a positive perspective, but in today’s business climate where there’s constant uncertainty, we have to embrace change – it’s not going away. Demonstrating resilience is ultimately what differentiates successful leaders and organizations from unsuccessful ones.
Remember, seek challenging situations, confide in others, and most importantly, be patient with yourself. Mastering resiliency takes time and experience.