It is known that entrepreneurs and innovators are predisposed to resilience as a life skill. But how can we all broaden and build those strengths during tough times?
Our research into Resilience at Work shows that boosting your bounce is all about enhancing your relationships. Those relationships are in three domains – relationship to yourself, relationships with others, and your relationship to your external environment.
You and you
So how do we pump up the power of our self-confidence, self-awareness, positivity and optimism, all elements of our relationship to ourselves?
Brain hack #1 – Remember the oxygen mask rule
First things first, our own self-care is critical – think of the oxygen mask analogy and remember to put on your own first. This might mean taking time on a daily basis to exercise, meditate, read something uplifting or listen to music that feeds your soul. If you’re not practicing those basics, read no further because you’ve got work to do and you need to start with you.
Brain hack #2 – Shift Your focus to the Good, the True, the Betterand the Possible
Make a list of what’s going right. Sometimes during challenging times we can go down a long trail of what’s wrong, placing all of our focus on things that reinforce our fear and uncertainty. There are still good things in this world, even when they have moved into our peripheral vision. What we focus on and what we prioritize broadens and builds…so what will you choose to focus on today?
You and them
Then we get to our relationships with others. How do we nourish our ability to help and accept help, to empathize and build strong connections?
The basic question in relationship to others is do you feel loved, supported, and appreciated? We all need others to survive…and the more positive relationships we have with others, the more buffered we are against hardships.
Brain Hack #3 – Appreciate the difficult ones
Is there anyone in your life who has challenged you, abused you, angered you, or otherwise vexes you? Take the time to write down what you have learned or developed based on their presence in your life. Give thanks for what you have learned, how you’ve grown, or what you’ve been pushed to do because of them. This exercise can be confronting and difficult, but it helps us to develop a more resilient and growth -focused mindset.
Brain Hack #4 – Help generously
When you are feeling hopeless, find an opportunity to help someone who needs it. This can be as simple as offering your support to a colleague who’s behind in their work, talking to someone who’s feeling lonely, or you can really take the time to find a way to lend your skills to the world in a new way. Volunteer if you have time. Donate if you have resources. Do what feels good and pat yourself on the back because it’s good to do good!
You and the stories you tell
Finally, the most important tool in your toolkit is the power of stories to change how you perceive your reality. The more you focus on telling stories of growth, of empowerment, and of positivity the more access you’ll have to your own resilience.
Imagine for a moment that you’ve just had an interview for a new job that you felt confident about, but then you find that someone else got shortlisted for a second interview but you did not. What story would you tell yourself about that outcome?
The way you explain those circumstances is called your explanatory style, and it can be pessimistic or optimistic.
With the job interview someone with a pessimistic style might say that I always mess up and I’m never going to get a good job. While someone with a more optimistic style might say Well, they were really looking for someone with a different skill set. I probably dodged a bullet with that one and I’ll find something better.
People with an optimistic explanatory style tend to blame setbacks or problems on external forces and view them as temporary, isolated events.
Brain Hack #6 – Hacking Your brain by telling a new story
Think of something that’s been difficult for you lately. Start small, with something in your personal sphere versus the larger world that may feel out of your control. Apply an optimistic style to whatever you’re facing by focusing on what’s happening as a temporary, isolated event that you will transcend.
Once you’ve mastered your ability to reshape your storytelling, your bounce back will increase exponentially.