Many people think of resilience as a characteristic in extraordinary situations – the entrepreneur who turns a business around; the executive who launches a successful second act after a downsizing. But resilience is required much more regularly, especially given today’s volatile and uncertain market conditions. The ability to perform at your peak and recover quickly when setbacks occur is a critical leadership advantage. Here are 3 strategies to become more resilient for both day-to-day challenges and high-stakes situations:
Find a motivational cue.
In addition to all the preparation and skill development you already do for that pitch presentation, performance review or other key event, you need to summon your best game when the moment arrives. Be ready with a motivational cue that brings out your best, rather than leaving it to chance that you will find your game face in the exact moment. Pick an anthem to listen to on the way to a critical meeting (one of my workshop attendees volunteered Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down as possibility!). Have a motivational quote on an index card to read right before you present. Carry a picture that resonates (I use a picture of my kids – instantly, I am more relaxed, reminded that my world is so much more than this event, but I also have raised the stakes, reminded that my success supports them). When you feel overwhelm day-to-day, refer to your motivational cue to get back on track.
Maintain your focus on the important.
If you kept a time diary of your activities on the half hour, every day for a week, would your activities correspond to your key goals? How much of your time would be “unbillable” to any of your key goals? How much of your time would be unaccounted for because you don’t remember where the time goes? Resilience in daily practice requires that you focus on the most important goals that you proactively select, rather than just responding to interruptions.
Embrace the challenge.
Things will go wrong. It’s not about hoping there will be less volatility, uncertainty or difficulty, but rather about raising your capacity to overcome the inevitable challenges. Focus on raising your capacity, rather than avoiding problems altogether. “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” – Peter Marshall