Increasing Your Resiliency
Resilience is the ability to return to the original form after being bent, stretched, or compressed. That’s the dictionary’s definition of resilience. It’s the ability to readily recover from illness, or depression, or adversity.
In our lives, resilience specifically means being able to withstand setbacks, broken hearts and broken dreams, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, loss of enterprise, and loss of health. How would you ever handle it if you lost everything you had today? What would your next step be? How long would you be depressed and upset and angry? What would it take for you to pull yourself up and start all over again? How resilient are you? Could you handle it? Could you learn from all of your disappointments and start all over again? What would it take?
Number one, it would take a lot of self-discipline. It would take a lot of positive self-talk to muster up the energy to begin again. It would take a lot of concentration to block out the noise and the clutter of all the negative voices trying to get through, as well as the negative voices of others around you. That’s a lot! It would take a lot of discipline to balance the fear and anxiety with the knowing that, if you did it once, you can do it all over again.
It would also take a lot of self-reliance. Whether your losses had anything to do with you or not, your future success has everything to do with you. It would take a lot of self-reliance to avoid blame. What’s happened has happened. You would need to get on with your life and begin again.
It would take a lot of faith. It would take a lot of faith and trust in God to move ahead.
If you lost everything tomorrow and you were gathering all the courage to try again, it would take a lot of self-appreciation. You need to know in your heart and mind that you have the skills, the talent, and the strength to do it one more time.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, no matter how large or how small. You lose a client, one of your biggest ones. This client accounts for more than 25 percent of your gross revenues. Losing this client is going to hurt, financially and emotionally. Losing this client is going to negatively affect things for a while. The first thing you do is figure out why you lost this business. What role did you play; in what way are you responsible? You can’t just rant and rave, yelling and screaming at everyone in the office. Even if it was the wrongdoing of someone else, you can’t act like this, because it’s not professional. You’ll lose respect. And respect is hard to regain once you’ve lost it, whether it’s the respect of those you work with, your trusted colleagues, or your valuable support people. You have to approach the situation rationally and figure out how to bounce back from your loss.
You have to evaluate the situation and then start a plan to recapture the lost business. Consider how you can increase your market share with other businesses. Maybe you can network with associates to bring in a similar client or even a better one! You can’t sit back and dwell on what’s happened. You’ve got to get back into the marketplace and recapture what’s been taken from you. Get back at it and replace what’s gone.
Perhaps your loss is a personal loss. Maybe you’ve recently been faced with the death of a loved one, a divorce, or the loss of a very special friendship. If your loss is a deeply personal one, you must approach the situation a little differently. You must be patient with yourself and give yourself time to grieve, time to mourn, time to regroup.
The stages we go through in loss, be it the death of a loved one, the death of a relationship, or the death of an enterprise, are beautifully defined in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ book On Death and Dying. Whether the death is a literal one or a figurative one, the stages are the same: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And only by going through these stages, and reaching acceptance, can we rebound and begin again.
It’s said that children are more resilient than adults. Why? Maybe it’s because they don’t evaluate their current situation based on past experiences. They approach it in a fresh way, a new way. In their own minds, they deal with loss much better than adults.
Children who grow up in the unfortunate circumstances of poverty or abuse or neglect and later become successful are known as dandelion children. If they can succeed and prosper with terrible conditions, they can grow anywhere. It’s important to be more like a dandelion child. To be able to grow and prosper and succeed, despite our current conditions. To be able to grow and prosper and succeed despite our losses. To be resilient.
Cultivating a resilient character turns what others would call failure into success. A resilient person won’t give up. A resilient person will, in spite of all obstacles and setbacks, keep doing it until.
In their book The Resilient Self, Steven and Sybil Wolin have studied resilience and have found seven key characteristics which compose it.
Number one: Resilience requires insight. You need to develop the ability to ask tough questions of yourself and be honest with your answers. If you had something to do with your loss, be honest and responsible for it.
Number two: Resilience is independent. As a resilient person, you can count on yourself to bounce back into life
Number three: Although resilience is independent, it’s also tied to others. The more people you are responsible to, the greater your motivation to begin again. The stronger the reason, the stronger the action.
Number four: Resilience calls for initiative. You need to develop the ability to take charge of the situation, to take charge of the problem. You need to stand up and do whatever is necessary to get back on course.
Number five: Resilience has an element of creativity. With resilience, you are able to look at a situation and creatively determine the best way out. You are enterprising in your approach toward starting over.
Number six: A resilient person has humor. You may cry until you start laughing, but a sense of humor is so important when turning your life around. You’ve got to take your goals seriously, and you’ve got to take yourself seriously. But you’ve also got to be able to laugh at yourself and your situation at times. Somebody says, “You’ll look back on this and laugh someday.” Well, maybe today is the day to start.
Number seven: A resilient person has a strong sense of morality. Whatever you do to get back on your feet, whatever you do to bounce back into life, make sure it’s moral. Make sure that your upcoming success is at the service of others, not at the expense of others. Success, if it is yours to keep, must be at the service of others.
The more obstacles you face and overcome, the more times you falter and get back on track, the more difficulties you struggle with and conquer, the more resiliency you will naturally develop. There is nothing that can hold you back, if you are resilient.
By Jim Rohn