Not a week goes by that I’m not out speaking at conferences, doing webcasts or meeting with executives and the topic of these challenging times, as well the need for resilient leaders, always comes up. I just spoke on the topic of resilience at a conference in D.C. and the conversation came around to work/life integration. I heard over and over again how people are coping with high levels of change, trying valiantly to sustain their health and energy – through cut-backs and reorganization – in an effort to keep themselves and their teams engaged in the work at hand.
As I was driving back from that conference and I thought about what had been discussed, I realized that with all the challenges and uncertainty facing business leaders today, there is a bright spot to these times. Many of us, including myself, are getting back to the basics and re-prioritizing what’s really important in life. People are asking themselves, “Where do I want to spend my time and energy? Where am I going to get my greatest ROI?” This has caused people to simplify their lives both personally and professionally.
In particular, they are placing more value on health, friendships, and family. They are also re-evaluating their work and identifying specific areas of it that bring a sense of meaning, purpose and energy back into their day-to-day life. Many are exploring the idea of having a “life mission” and are actively considering how they can be a better neighbor to those around them versus working on their own personal agendas. They are also looking at how their organizations can create a climate of service to others.
This perspective is a major aspect of being resilient which means staying positive and optimistic, and operating with a sense of purpose and intention through difficult times. It calls for being courageous by taking (prudent) risks, getting out and trying something new that links to the worthy agenda of others, building alliances for the common good, and mentoring and coaching others.
To do this, you have to stay focused on a few key things that resonate with you in terms of what you truly care or are passionate about. This kind of sustainable focus allows you to not get distracted by turbulence. It also creates a significant source of energy in your life that translates into mapping out a plan and then executing that plan. By the way, these plans may have been in the back of your mind for a long time and are just now showing-up in these challenging times. Life seems to work that way!
When you are thinking about your own resilience, here are four things that I think are essential to keep in mind:
- Your Personal Identity
Work shouldn’t determine who you are – you are not your job. You should have outside interests and activities that help define you. Map out your strengths beyond what you are doing now and expand your capacity and impact in areas that excite you. This means being true to your values while adapting to new times and changing situations.
- Your Relationship to Money
Consider how much money you really need versus how much you want. People are simplifying. It helps you be more resilient and more flexible when you see how you can pare down to the basics. Prioritize and re-calibrate based on your values rather than your immediate desires.
- Your Continuous Learning
As jobs and critical skill sets are evolving, it is important for you to see change as an opportunity to learn new things and build upon your past. Don’t let your role in your organization be de-valued. Stay ahead of the curve, be curious and take on new experiences. Build new skills that are in line with where the new global economy and your organization are headed.
- Your Personal/Professional Network
We used to think you networked if you needed a job but, on a day-to-day basis, we didn’t have enough time to do it. With resiliency, this means that you appreciate your friends and colleagues and build these relationships as a way of living your life so they are there when you need them.
And, if you are wondering just how likely you are to be resilient at this point in your life, here are a few easy questions to ask yourself. The more times you answer yes, the more likely you are to tap into your resiliency factor!
1. ____ I’m usually optimistic. I see difficulties as temporary, expect to overcome them and believe things will turn out well.
2. ____ I can tolerate high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.
3. ____ I’m able to recover emotionally from setbacks. I can express my feelings to friends and can ask for help.
4. ____ I feel self-confident and have a healthy concept of who I am.
5. ____ I’m curious and I like to try new ways of doing things.
6. ____ I hold up well during tough times. I have an independent spirit underneath my cooperative way of working with others.
7. ____ I’ve been made stronger and better by difficult experiences.
8. ____ I’ve converted misfortune into good luck and found benefits in bad experiences.
For more information on Resiliency, vist our web site at www.shambaughleadership.com
Becky welcomes your ideas and comments on this blog. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to read Becky’s previous blogs