By Rachel Hewitt-Hall, Managing Director at Excel Communications (HRD) Ltd
What I admire about Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) is that he has turned his childhood dreams into reality! An all–electric car company as well as launching a rocket into space, which delivered cargo to the International Space station.
As you can guess, it’s not been an easy ride at times for Mr Musk. Being CEO of two major companies, dealing with a global economic collapse, broken cars, taking years to turn a profit at Tesla, and failed rockets. The usual kind of things when you are working to change industries such as aerospace and automotive!
What is it that has allowed Elon to overcome so many challenges and continue to pursue his goals with such vigour? The honest answer is that there are many contributory factors, with resilience being pivotal to his success.
Resilience is a hot topic in leadership circles and as we are increasingly being asked by clients to include resilience into our leadership programs, we thought it would be good to share some ideas on how to be more resilient.
What Is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change and keep going in the face of adversity.
It’s a fact that we will all at different points in our lives, experience disappointment, defeat, and failure. While some may find themselves disagreeing with me here, we do have a choice about how we respond in these challenging situations. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, or letting things keep us down, we can and do get back up and continue with our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this will always be easy, but I am saying it is possible.
Why Is Being Resilient So Important?
There are many reasons why building our own resilience is so important and here are just a few:
- Resilience is related to lower absences from work
- We have a belief that nothing is insurmountable
- When you are resilient, you are less likely to turn to unhelpful behaviours such as excessive drinking, smoking, and use of drugs
- Employees with greater resilience tend to be more involved in the community and/or family activities
A useful start? So, let’s look at ways to help your team to become more resilient.
1. Focus On What You Can Control
If there is one piece of advice I would give to my younger self, it would be this. “The only thing you can control, is how you think and what you do.”
I cannot control what another person, be that a colleague, friend or family member, thinks of what I do and say. I can’t control the meaning that they derive of my actions or words. For too long I have wasted energy and time worrying about what others think. I know at times I have allowed this to limit what I do, too.
What I can control is how I choose to think and behave, the actions I take as I work towards my goals and the meaning I make from others’ words and actions. When I come from this place I know I am way more resourceful, productive and of course, resilient.
2. Manage Your Emotions Before They Manage You
Responsibility is a great word. Think about it; it refers to our ‘ability to respond’, which implies we can choose our responses including emotional ones. Yes, we will all experience setbacks in our careers and life, yet it is an individual’s ability to choose their emotional response to a problem or setback that will determine their success.
- Who in your team allows themselves to be at the effect of situations and people and then end up blaming others for their lack of success?
- Which team members take ownership of their actions and the part they have played when things haven’t worked out as planned?
Support those who adopt the ‘blame’ strategy to become more resilient by asking them:
What was it that you did that contributed to the situation? Knowing what you now know, what would you do differently?
Using this approach stops a person from going on a downward emotional spiral that impacts themselves and others.
3. Build And Nurture Supportive Relationships
During those more challenging times which can be work or home–related, it is essential to have family, colleagues and friends that you can turn to for support. It may sound obvious to say this but take time to build, nurture and maintain strong and supportive relationships, yet too often I have talked with leaders and their team members who have said, “I don’t have anyone to talk to about what‘s been going on”.
4. Have A Positive Outlook
There is a saying in the personal development world – “energy flows where attention goes.” Too often people find it easier to describe what they don’t want. Instead, focus on what you do want and put your attention and energy into creating what you want.
5. Break Any Recurring Sabotaging Thought Patterns
Which of these look or sound familiar?
- You ignore the warning signs that you need a break
- You frequently hear others say, ‘you can’t burn the candle at both ends’
- You expect yourself to succeed in making life changes without giving yourself the
time or mental space to accomplish them
- You allow that voice inside your head – and we all have one – to hold you back from doing something you want to do
- You feel the burden of making all the decisions for yourself and those closest to you, at work and home
If you can relate to any of these examples in some way, then it’s likely that you have some ingrained sabotaging thought patterns, and trust me we all have some. What’s important is that we are aware of when we are sabotaging ourselves and that we are doing something different to break the pattern.