Resilience: The Tao of Leadership
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resilience

"With our thoughts, we make the world."

Buddha

Leaders have plenty of reasons to sink into anger and self-doubt, or even projecting blame outward in today’s pressure-packed business environment. Some leaders crack and crumble while some transcend beyond the leadership setbacks and stress.

In his best-selling book, The Resiliency Advantage, the late Al Seibert, writes that “highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change. Most important, they expect to bounce back and feel confident that they will. They have a knack for creating good luck out of circumstances that many others see as bad luck.

As you set yourself out into the world, you’ll be greeted with failure and uncertainty – many times. During the journey you’ll find that the more you set yourself out to the world, you get – more opportunities, more feedback, and even more challenges. The higher you go, the bigger your obstacle becomes. And, it is only in times of adversity that we realize we have a hidden reserve of resilience within us.

Resilience is how you respond to problems. It is down to your mindset. It is not a singular response, but a mindset - a set of acquired qualities that combine and help us bounce back from adversity.

The world needs resilient people and resilient organization. But, how do we up our resilience?

REWIRE YOUR BRAIN FOR POSITIVITY TO GET THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

Count your blessing. Staying positive at all times is the foundation of resilience. If your thoughts become negative, your emotions will follow and your actions will be next.

Negative thinking comes easily and uninvited because of our built-in survival mechanisms. Our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative rather than positive events.

And, there will be moments of adversity when you sense that things are harder than you thought they would be. This is a test for you to let negative emotions set side by side along with other feelings. Embracing the positivity does not mean that you completely ignore feelings of loss or disappointment. We must always allow ourselves to grieve in order to get over what we have lost. A well-balanced response during moments of adversity will help you focus on the grand scheme of things and help you put through the darkest hours.

A resilient leader is characterized by the ability to experience both positive and negative emotions in painful situations. They don’t completely succumb to losses and frustrations and develop a rather Pollyannaish outlook in most challenges. Practice optimism and actively seek the good side of every situation. In fact, these works for CEOs, managers, and employees of any level.

DEVELOP COPING SKILLS TO REFRAME NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES

Open yourself to expansive thinking and acceptance. You’ll experience joy and happiness in life, but there will also be moments of catastrophic rockfall. Failure and disappointment are a part of our life story. We cannot completely avoid them, but we can control how we respond. For example, if someone does not like your presentation, they said NO to your piece of work, not to you. You can take this as an opportunity and learn why they did not like your presentation and rebound with an improved version of your work.

It’s natural to be gripped by fear, self-doubt, and pessimistic thoughts that crises are insurmountable problems. When facing failure, adversity or loss, think of it as a potential turning point. An emotionally resilient leader avoids becoming a hostage to pressure and unexpected change and instead focuses his energy on sustaining the energy of the team to optimal levels. An example, when facing a bad quarter, a leader tries to correct his errors instead of faltering.

So the next time you find yourself facing a disaster, act with a little bit of resilience and you will be able to regain foothold. Building resilience is important and so is finding joy in work and life. You can choose to become a hostage to devastating situations, or you can choose to lead your life, survive and thrive.

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