Often in my coaching I hear people asking, "What do we do when we get off track or our systems fail?" The need for resiliency came to mind, and it is one of the most sought after skills in individuals for businesses and teams. I use the word skill because it can be learned, taught, and trained. Read on for a simple four step process to develop your own resiliency.
First, it will be helpful to understand what we mean by resiliency. From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition, resilience is defined as "the ability to recover quickly... the property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position." This definition is captured by the Japanese Proverb: "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." When we get knocked down we get back up smarter, faster, and stronger!
Those of you who have read retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine's book, Unbeatable Mind, will recognize this method for developing our ability to not only survive, but thrive through challenges and setbacks. The four parts of emotional resiliency are self-esteem, service/other focus, positivity, & self control. On the surface they may seem simple but are usually not easy and often benefit from supplemental emotional coaching from a trained/licensed therapist.
The foundation of emotional resiliency is healthy self-esteem. One must have a sense of self-worth, that they are fundamentally a good person deserving of respect. We will benefit from learning to starve our fear and feed our courage using a process to rewrite the stories we tell ourselves to support healthy self-esteem. I strongly encourage those with self-esteem issues due to past trauma to work with a professional therapist/emotional coach who is trained to address those types emotional injuries.
The second component of well developed resiliency is having a focus on others or sense of serving something bigger than oneself. What is your vision and who does it serve beyond yourself? How does that connect with your family, team or those you serve? These are important questions to consider before we get knocked down or encounter a setback, so we are ready to bounce back, knowing it's not just for ourselves. This is also sometimes referred to as having a strong 'Why'.
The third aspects of emotional resiliency is optimism We know this too shall pass, and sunnier days await. Keep positive. We can do this by practicing gratitude and reinforcing positive thought patterns regularly with mantras or affirmations like "You got this!" Our minds have a tendency to focus on the negative, it is important to counteract this bias with at least four times as many positive thoughts.
The final aspect of resiliency in this system is self control. Often times we will need to practice our discipline and self control to get through to the other side. At these times it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and focusing on the next smallest step towards our goals. Wash, rinse repeat.
As we continue to practice these resiliency skills they will become second nature, uncommon habits that will fuel our excellence.