“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb.
This proverb teaches people that no matter how many times they may fall, what matters is that they rise again. Today, people live in a global pandemic where our days are unpredictable, and it becomes easy to feel unmotivated and anxious about what tomorrow brings. In a Pew Research Center study, 25% of Americans reported feeling nervous or on edge at least 3-4 times per week when thinking about the COVID-19 outbreak. 14% reported having trouble sleeping 5-7 times per week. Needless to say, navigating through today’s uncertain times is not an easy task.
So, how do they rise again? How can people stay positive and bounce back from such a significant, evolving change?
The answer is to practice resiliency.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is how people manage change in difficult situations, times of adversity, and stressful situations. Building resilience not only helps people with adaptability and change management but also personal growth. Learning to be resilient teaches people to overcome and recover from challenging problems. The truth is, change is inevitable. This is why it is crucial to build mental toughness and resilience – it’s the key ingredient in helping get unstuck from every sticky situation.
The good news is that resilience is a skill that can be developed over time. One way to practice resilience is to tune into emotional intelligence. As highlighted in Using Your EQ to Cope with Stress during COVID-19, focusing on feelings and paying attention to natural reactions can help people become more self-aware and identify how to deal with stress and anxiety naturally. Outlined below are three reasons why practicing resilience will lead to effective change management in periods of uncertainty.
Improved Mental Health
It is normal to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or nervous about the current situation. All feelings are valid. The world is undergoing an immense amount of change – from social distancing to job lay-offs, people are tested every day.
To help cope with these feelings, make mental health a priority. For instance, people can brainstorm ideas on what motivates them and makes them happy. If they love the outdoors, then go on a hike or take a walk around a local park (while following social distancing rules, of course). In a time of uncertainty, people must take care of themselves and pay attention to their needs. Further, people should review their daily activities to ensure they are getting enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat proper meals. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; in fact, it will build resilience and grit as the body learns to respond to these emotions.
Purposeful Goal Setting
It can be easy to overthink and fear the worst-case scenario, especially at an unpredictable time. However, when overwhelmed with nerves and stress, it is common to fear things that are out of our locus of control. Instead, people need to focus on what they can control. Identify areas that people have control over versus where they do not. As Stephen Covey said, focus time and energy on your Circle of Influence, which includes life aspects, such as your health, relationships, and career. For areas that people do not have control over, recognize that they are not responsible for them, no matter how much it may inflict fear or stress. Once people realize what they can control, choose to maximize time and energy towards them. Set goals within these areas and breakdown the steps required to achieve the goals. Remember, everyone is in charge of their own destiny!
Choosing to focus on what people can control fosters resilience as they determine how to approach change and uncertainty. By setting goals in areas that they can control, they are also promoting their personal development. To put this into perspective, something people have authority over is relationships. Let’s say their goal is to stay connected with their friends and family, despite the challenges of social distancing. First, flesh out the goal by converting it into a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timebound) goal. The revamped goal could be, “I will stay connected with my family by setting up virtual meetings with my parents at least once per week.” To keep accountable, set up checkpoints. For instance, set up check-ins on Wednesday to see if a meeting is scheduled. Write goals in either a journal or as a reminder on the phone to keep on track. Once goals are achieved, make sure to recognize the accomplishments and rewards in the process!
Learn from Mistakes
Remember that no one is perfect, and that resiliency is not innate but practiced and developed. In How to Fail and Still Be Fabulous, Jessica Luxe, Performance Marketing Specialist, shared her personal experience with building resilience. Despite a rocky start, she learned how to bounce back and learn from her mistakes, kickstarting her entrepreneurial career.
In times of uncertainty, things are continually changing. People are likely to make mistakes as they adapt. For example, a workplace may have implemented a new virtual meeting platform that has never been used before. During the first virtual meeting, people are unaware that they needed to make an account to join the session. As a result, they arrive fifteen minutes late. While they may feel embarrassed or disappointed in themselves at first, it is crucial to stay positive! A vital component of practicing resilience is the mindset. Adopt an optimistic outlook by daily reflections of happy memories, something that brings gratitude, or something to look forward to. When feeling down, remind yourself to stay positive. When people remain hopeful and optimistic, their resilience continues to grow.
As for learning from mistakes, accept the error, and reflect on the lesson learned. To illustrate, do not be afraid to ask for help. By acknowledging and reflecting on mistakes, the more resilient people become. By continuously exercising resiliency, people will learn how to navigate and overcome any challenging situation.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can practice building emotional resilience, check out our online course – Increase Your Stress Management with Emotional Intelligence. Alternatively, if you think your whole team would benefit from enhancing their resiliency and mental toughness, check out our keynote on Enhancing Your Emotional Resilience, available in live or virtual formats.