“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey
Resilience. It’s one of the secrets to survival, both professionally and personally. It’s what’s gotten you to where you are, and it’s what will help define who you will become. It is easy to forget in the middle of juggling the chaos around us, that the person who has gotten you through the toughest parts of your life…is you. Resilience is the ability bounce back after experiencing a trauma or unexpected change; the ability to not only continue your path, but to learn from the impact and let the knowledge transform you into an evolved version of who you once were. It’s no wonder thought leaders like Ariana Huffington are declaring “Resilience” as the word of the year.
Resilience is a daily choice. We get to decide if we will let fear of change rule our lives, or instead, approach change with flexibility and a curious nature. Instead of leaving resilience up to chance, consider strengthening those muscles. Here are a few tips on how to lead a more resilient life and lead a more resilient team in the year ahead.
A Fondness for Failure
Consider failures as beginning, rather than endings. You have probably learned more from failures than any other source of wisdom. Teach yourself, and your team, to focus on the data and facts. Embrace failure’s value as a teacher, get curious about the information it provides, and be open to where it leads you next. You may even find you fail less when you don’t fear it. Failure is either redirecting or reaffirming. If failure caused you to take a different path, it’s because you saw it heading towards a dead-end. (Yay!) If failure caused you to get back up and keep going, it reaffirms you are committed to a goal and it’s worth fighting for. (Yay!)
Embrace the Little Wins
If you wake up suffocated by the list of things that need to get accomplished today, start with getting up and brushing your teeth. When you feel anxiety over an important deadline, make a list of things that need to be done and do just one of them. If your email inbox is exhausting, unsubscribe to a few distribution lists that you never signed up for. Stop longingly looking at pictures of other people’s photos on social media, and spend that time scrolling through your own pictures and cherished memories instead. Don’t focus on the big things; start with the littlest and decide where to go from there. Take an action, any action. Manufacture your own momentum.
Focus on Gratitude
Think about all of the choices you made that brought you right here, in this moment. Be gentle with yourself, and think about not just your accomplishments, but all of the choices you made and obstacles you have overcome. Don’t be afraid to take out a pen and write these events down. The more we can remind ourselves that we already have resilience in us, that we have already practiced it and survived, the more easily we can draw upon this skill when we need it most in the future. Have an appreciation for your history. What are some of the toughest things you’ve experienced? How did you get through them? Who are the people in your life that helped you, inspired you, helped you feel your best? You probably already know quite a bit about being resilient, you just haven’t stopped to admire it.