It’s fair to say that just about every one of us has dealt with some form of adversity in our lives. From smaller bouts that have come and gone quickly to more prolonged episodes that really brought on a significant amount of stress; life happens. Yet, what is far less consistent, are the responses to adversity.
Those with higher levels of resilience don’t shy away from it. They may not have an immediate or wholly successful solution, but this doesn’t impact their willingness to face adversity head on. Afterwards, they review the experience with reflection and assessment. They understand the lessons learned and are able to recall those lessons in the future when facing new and possibly even similar adversity.
Conversely, others try to avoid the adversity or separate themselves from it. They might revert back to a place of strength or comfort when challenged. They may transfer the adversity to someone else or simply do nothing; becoming essentially paralyzed by its impact.
As noted in the last episode, leaders, however, should be cautious about making assumptions solely based on one’s experience with adversity. Those who have overcome a great deal might become complacent in their efforts or even arrogant; feeling as though they can handle anything life throws at them simply because of their prior triumphs. Whereas, others who have chosen to run away from adversity may ultimately end up realizing they don’t want to continue running the rest of their lives and decide to take new action going forward.
Furthermore, and regardless of what camp you fall in, there are skills we can develop to increase our capacity for resilience.
Emotional Intelligence – Becoming more aware of our emotional responses to adversity and surrounding ourselves with resilient people can both aid in increasing resilience.
Change Management – Working to become more change averse, as well as better equipping ourselves to handle the transition that follows major change can help us deal more favorable with the unexpected.
Conflict Management – Many of the same responses to adversity can be applied to conflict as well. Learning to appreciate the value in healthy conflict can translate to better identification of the opportunities and lessons taken from adversity.
Stress Management – Oftentimes, we may lack the ability to improve our handling of adversity because we don’t take the time to reflect and process. Things like prayer, meditation, and mindfulness can help to put us in the right mindset to face adversity.
Problem Solving/Decision Making – As we get better at solving problems and developing a stronger track record for solid decision making, confidence begins to emerge. In drawing on the knowledge learned or processes used, we may find we are able to generate solutions or make decisions more quickly in the future.
Life happens. The most resilient are the ones who clearly see the adversity in front of them, but know it won’t always be there. They don’t shy away from it, but they also don’t run directly towards it without a plan. The resilient are grounded. They are life-long learners who prepare for tougher problems which may or may not lie ahead. And they don’t spend time patting themselves on the back after their victories; opting instead to document the things that were successful and realizing where additional work remains.