How to Cultivate Your Super-Power: Resilience
Let’s be perfectly clear. For most of us, 2020 was a sh$%#@ show. That’s why resilience is the acknowledged buzzword for the year that has finally closed. While I despise the term “buzzword” and its implication that resilience is a fad, we can’t ignore the reality that resilience is touted in everything from news reports to television shows.
So let’s get it straight: The traditional notion that resilience comes into play only when faced with adversity is inaccurate along with the common definition that resilience means to bounce back.
First, resilience is a life skill that is cultivated through energy management. It’s not about gritting one’s teeth and hanging on but rather, being able to function and grow through whatever is the current situation. Frankly, research indicates that about two-thirds of people cope relatively well and for most, can endure and learn.
What makes resilience a challenge is the chronic stress that appears unremitting in a Covid-19 world. It’s a world that has also managed to destroy families, livelihoods, and increased exposure to domestic abuse not to mention fractured friendships, fractured education, and fractured communities.
So how does one cultivate this superpower of resilience? Can it indeed be cultivated like a garden that required, seeding, weeding, and feeding?
Yes. And it is a daily activity that involves the acknowledgement of all emotions, including anger, tears and frustration. Here are the first five steps:
Be realistic about where your energy is going and cut yourself some slack.
Seek flexibility in your actions, taking advantage of whatever resources are at your disposal.
Ask yourself what is the best thing to do in this moment? Whether it's taking a walk, breathing deeply for five minutes, or asking for help, personal honesty is essential. Are you helping yourself or harming yourself right now?
Seek out and nurture your support systems. It’s amazing how Zoom calls have re-ignited relationships. It takes courage to reach out but the results are powerful.
Set small goals that can give you a sense of achievement or completion. When so much of life seems out-of-control, being able to check off an activity, high-five a result, or give yourself a proverbial gold star, there’s assurance that you are moving forward.
For 2021, here is what I am working on to increase my resilience. Specifically, I am determined to feed my spirit by focusing on being energized by life rather than drained by circumstances, events and others. Through my writing, speaking, coaching and facilitating, I seek to help others turn fear into fascination, curiosity into creativity, boredom into brilliance, and wisdom into worthwhile work.
If you need help building your resilience muscles consider one of my books on the topic: Burnout to Breakthrough: Building Resilience To Refuel, Recharge, and Reclaim What Matters and Your Resiliency GPS: A Guide for Growing through Life.