During the boom, we scrambled through deadlines and endless demands for more; often chasing more of anything that is shiny, comforting or electronic. During the bust, we worry about salary freezes and layoffs. Challenges do not go away; they only vary with different economic times. Developing personal resilience can help during both boom and bust!
Why BuildingResilience is Important
Many of us think that if we do not have hardships we would be happy. Not so! Our lives are meant to be rewarding, happy, meaningful and challenging. Work often provides the arena to face adversity. Home often is the setting of different but still challenging circumstances.
Some of my most distressful moments came after my husband and I adopted our Kelly, our daughter with undiagnosed Partial Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Juggling home, personal and workplace demands became my norm. Often the balls hit the floor with physical and mental issues. The distress necessitated visits to the hospital for irritable bowel syndrome attacks, a cardiac arrhythmia attack and an overnight in the psychiatric ward.
After that mentally, emotionally and physically demanding period I began to boost my own resolve, confidence and personal resilience. I discovered I was stronger than I thought. I acquired a degree in psychology, then a master’s degree in clinical psychology and hours, weeks and months of personal development and training.
Eventually, I became fascinated with this ability to recover or to stay steady when the going gets tough. As a professional speaker, I had the opportunity to ask audience members three questions which were given to me by my mentor, Dr. Al Siebert, author of The Resiliency Advantage and Survivor Personality.
- What is the worst work-related experience you’ve endured?
- How did you cope?
- Looking back, what did you learn?
Three hundred and seventy-six women in my audiences took the time to respond to those questions and then I interviewed 27 women in North America who were identified as resilient women. Their stories are inspiring and enlightening.
One of those stories features Donna Kennedy-Glans who dealt with a moral dilemma. In the 1990s she was involved in international investments, one of them in Nigeria. Aware that Nigeria was at the bottom of Transparency International’s index, Donna was unsure she wanted to participate. However, after much discussion, she and her company became part of the Nigeria solution, not the problem. Interestingly enough Donna became an expert in integrity and co-authored Corporate Integrity: a Toolkit for Managing beyond Compliance.
After hearing stories such as Donna’s, collating audience responses and reviewing the literature on resilience I authored my book, From Woe to WOW: How Resilient Women Succeed at Work. In it, I concluded there is no doubt those who strengthen their resilience are:
- stress-hardy. They are healthier physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially.
- content in their relationships.
- more successful at home and work.
From a Human Resources perspective, employee resilience positively affects the organization as a whole. The parts do make up the whole. When an organization invests in boosting employee resilience, workplace vitality, productivity and satisfaction improve. Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” are all organizations that provide workplace environments where strengthening resilience can be seen in action. Here are five criteria from the more than 21 that Fortune uses to describe “best companies” which also describe the conditions which improve resilience:
- Open, clear and consistent communication
- Opportunities for meaningful participation
- Opportunities to connect with others
- Appreciation is expressed
- Leadership that provides healthy role models
Not one of us is resilient all the time to all the same difficulties. Some employees may struggle with small workplace mistakes while others breeze through them. Some employees may struggle to speak up on their own behalf while others easily promote themselves. The literature on resilience speaks of the human ability to toughen up, to accept situations as they are and to explore choices and to take action while primarily maintaining a positive expectation. These resilient basics can be learned.
How to Build Resilience
Here are some of the action items that developed out of my research:
One: Protect Your Self
- Establish clear boundaries
- Align with integrity
- Choose your best life rhythm
Two: Practice Self-Care
- Think optimistically
- Attend to your body
- Lighten up!
Three: Effectively Think and Communicate
- Be a dear with two ears: listen
- Speak up
- Ease conflict
Four: Take Action
- Champion change
- Acknowledge and demonstrate your strengths
- Demonstrate courage
Five: Develop a Strong Support System
- Give and receive acknowledgment
- Get a little help from your friends
- Nurture a supportive love relationship
Some say, “Resilience is one percent heredity and 99 percent persistence.” That 99 percent means that you can pursue building your personal resilience to help you and your organization achieve success.
Please check out these related posts:
Protect Your Values with Healthy Boundaries: Here is How!
How to Develop Body Awareness to Better Manage Your Stress
Easy and Powerful Steps to Improve Your Listening Skills
You Demonstrate Courage Every Day in Many Ways
Book Summary: The Survivor Personality
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