Resilience: The key to winning in a world of uncertainty

Only one thing will be certain in 2017......and that’s this: things are going to get even more uncertain. Nearly everything is changing, and faster than ever before. And along with this increased speed and uncertainty, we’re all expected to work harder, faster and smarter. We’re all facing similar challenges: How do we lead ourselves and others through ambiguity and how do we stay relevant and nimble as everything around us changes.

Astoundingly, a quarter of the world’s workforce view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of us now work in constantly connected, always-on, highly demanding environments where stress and the risk of burnout are common. Since the speed and intensity of work is not likely to change, it’s more important than ever to build resilience. How quickly and effectively we can recover from adversity and set-backs will determine how successful we can be.

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” - Denis Waitley

Resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don't go as planned. Resilient people don't wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward. According to the research of leading psychologist, Susan Kobasa, resilience has 3 core ingredients. Kobasa coined them “The three Cs of Stress Hardiness”:

1.       Challenge – Resilient people view a difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don't view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.

2.       Commitment – Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. They live a true purpose and are committed to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, and their beliefs

3.       Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on things they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and successful. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.

The good news is that if you are not naturally resilient, there is a lot you can do to change, that. Here are just 3 things to try:

1.       Be aware of your negative mind talk -  Resilient people don't let negative thoughts derail their efforts. Instead, they consistently practice positive thinking. "Listen" to how you talk to yourself when something goes wrong – if you find the gremlin comes out and you are making statements that are negative, call on the hero (the positive part of your mind) and correct these thoughts in your mind.

2.       Learn from adversity -  Every mistake has the power to teach you something important; so keep looking until you find the lesson in every situation. Also, remain open to "post-traumatic growth" – there is real truth in the saying that "if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger."

3.       Maintain perspective - Resilient people understand that, although a problem may seem overwhelming at the time, it may not make that much of an impact over the long-term. Adversity is rarely permanent so don’t blow events out of proportion.

One of the parts of my job that I love the most is coaching and mentoring young up and coming leaders. Tim Teale is one of those leaders at TFE Hotels that I am lucky to work with. Tim said it best in his TFE Talk earlier this year called “The Advantages of Adversity”. In his talk, Tim shares the story of one life-altering event that forced him to reconsider his attitudes towards the most fundamental aspects of life and gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.