Resilience: The Courage to Come Back Stronger

The first and arguably the most talented singer ever crowned on American Idol is Kelly Clarkson. One of her many hits entitled, “Stronger,” is clearly applicable today. And even though a vaccine is just about ready for the world, none of us are—nor ever will be—immune from enduring tough situations. After all, it’s not the difficult condition that does you in; it’s how you choose to react to it.

Resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health issues, workplace stressors, financial difficulties, etc. And interestingly, research has shown that resilience is quite ordinary, versus extraordinary. See, people commonly demonstrate resilience—like how they respond to job loss, personal injury, illness, death of a loved one, or even a world-wide pandemic. Resilience is what helps you adapt and recover.

I often hear people say self-disparaging related comments like, “I’m not as tough as he is” or “I just can’t adapt like she can.” Interestingly, resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

Take a moment and compare highly resilient people with those who struggle with it. What do they do differently? One action that resilient people demonstrate is that they approach and solve problems differently. They take intentional and specific steps to resolve them in these ways:

  • Resilient people are able to spot the solution that will more likely lead to a safe outcome; they rarely have tunnel vision.
  • Calmly and rationally look at a problem and envision a successful solution. Don’t wait for the problem to go away on its own.
  • Focus on the progress you make and plan your next steps, rather than becoming discouraged by the amount of work that still needs to be completed.
  • Whenever you encounter a new challenge, note important details and make a quick list of potential ways you could solve the problem.

For example, let’s say a fellow team-member leaves your organization. More work will likely come your way. How would a resilient person approach this issue? S/he could re-prioritize the work, delegate as many responsibilities as feasible, and practice planned neglect—determine one thing you can plan to NOT do this day, week, or month (or year)—to make time for the new short-term tasks that have been recently assigned.

If you want to “create versus react” as your organization begins the new year, consider partnering with me to help you Achieve Positive Outcomes with one of my most requested training programs entitled, “Resilience: The Courage to Come Back.” After all, resilience is a learned behavior; it is a choice. Choose to not simply react, and instead, help your team put 2020 in the rearview mirror. Arm your employees, colleagues and yourself with results-focused strategies to create greater resilience and success—for your strongest year yet.     

And as I slightly adapt the lyrics of Clarkson’s famous tune…Footsteps even lighter—what doesn’t kill you makes a fighter. Stand a little taller—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And my hope…Intentionally and courageously move forward—what doesn’t kill you makes you more resilient.

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