“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.”
– Nelson Mandela
There are many aspects of life that fall outside of our control. Our daily experience delivers the unexpected and the unwanted, as well as the fun, the challenging, and the joyful.
Attempting to control the world is always going to be futile, yet there is one common factor within the ever-changing cosmos that you can allow yourself to rely on: you.
You are always at choice and free to respond to any situation, event, or person, as you wish. And by learning to regulate your stress reactivity (practicing clarity and peacefulness instead) you can respond in a way that represents your professional best in any situation.
Having been fascinated by resilience since I began teaching the subject in 2012 I have come to understand resilience as both a characteristic, orientation to experience, and ultimately as a highly trainable skill.
Let’s look at some of the qualities that make for a resilient professional:
Resilient professionals feel comfortable in their own skin and give themselves permission to take appropriate risks. They are able to receive compliments and praise as well as welcoming constructive criticism. Whilst they are generally ‘can do’ in their nature, they are able to say no very clearly when appropriate. They have mastered the skill of balancing their own needs with the needs of others, speaking and acting assertively when necessary.
Resilient professionals are mentally and emotionally flexible. They are also comfortable with contradictory personality qualities in themselves and others. The individual can be both strong and gentle, sensitive and tough, logical and intuitive, calm and emotional, serious and playful. They can even think in negative ways to reach positive outcomes. What could go wrong, so it can be avoided?
3. Emotional Intelligence
Resilient professionals have an authentic relationship with their emotions. They do not let their emotions control their behaviour, and use appropriate means and language to express emotion. They are able to navigate complex problem solving by sensing the emotional needs that may under lie the situation.
Research shows that people working in tough jobs are more stress-resistant and less likely to get sick if they have a loving family and good friendships. Talking with friends and family regularly diminishes the impact of difficulties and increases feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.
Resilient professional will find a way of seeing that the glass is half full as they know that the biggest setbacks often bring the greatest breakthroughs and learning opportunities. They don’t enjoy hardship but they find wisdom in the experience.
Resilient professionals seek the fun in all tasks even when menial or repetitive. They ask questions, experiment with new ways of working, are not afraid of making mistakes, can laugh at themselves, fall down often and get back up with a smile on their face.
Resilient professionals trust their gut feelings. In other words, they honour both the rational and the intuitive.
Resilient professionals have spent time increasing their capacity for empathic listening and compassionate response. They are able to sense feelings in others and respond appropriately in different situations. They skillfully navigate between issues and personalities and practice self-compassion when it comes to their own flaws.
Deep resilience comes from having a strong sense of self, nurtured through a practice of mindfulness. Finding time to engage in contemplation exercises or mindfulness meditation for short periods each day takes resilience to the next level. Mindfulness is experienced as the antidote to overwhelm.
Kaizen, denotes a commitment to continuous improvement, so that day-by-day resilient professionals are looking for ways to increase wellbeing, happiness, productivity, efficiency and capacity for excellence. In following this principle they can rapidly assimilate new and unexpected experiences. They reflect on their own performance by asking what they could have done better, what they missed, and what they gained.
By Neil Seligman
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