The Power of Resilience

by Tony Richards

Every leader finds themselves in the space between victory and disappointment. Between sorrow and healing. Between happy customers and unhappy ones.

Sometimes you feel like a traffic cop with the people you lead.

People are coming and going. Some people you think should leave are staying. Some people you think should stay are leaving.

In leadership, we have all kinds of situations we encounter which require an abundance of resilience. It has a power we can draw on to energize us in the face of adversity.  Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.

Get knocked down seven times, get up eight- Chinese Proverb

The need for resilience as a leader never ends. Problems and challenges will find you. Distractions will find you. Especially the more you grow and advance. Advancement and growth equals opportunity for more abundant and difficult problems, challenges and distractions, not less. The more your leadership influence increases, so does your responsibility. Decisions become a little more difficult and complex.

On the positive side, the people around you, the people you are leading, need the benefit of your developed resilience. They are developing it as well, and they need someone from which to learn. You need to reach back on the ladder you have climbed and lend a helping hand to those who are coming up behind you. Don’t be one who climbs the ladder and then snatches it up behind you.

You must continue to develop your resilience every step of your leadership journey because you will never know when you will need it. You can be meeting goals at a rapid pace and everything seems fine and all of a sudden an unforeseen challenge pops right up. Life and leadership is very unpredictable that way. My Father and Mother are both cancer survivors, thank God. I’ll never forget each of the days we learned they had cancer. I remember on each day, where we were, what we were wearing, how we found out and what the first words were in each case. Significant emotional events really stick in your memory. Our dog Sophie had the same situation, I remember the day vividly when the vet told us she had cancer. She survived also, by the way.

In moments such as this, those “in between” times, between failure and winning, is when you must make the decision to be resilient. You must make the decision to beat the situation rather than the situation beating you. I could list for you so many situations in which I’ve had to be resilient in the last many years. The situations are varied, between some like I’ve talked about here, which are personal, and I could list many professional ones as well.

No matter the events or circumstances, building resilience will serve you well no matter your leadership role.

What you can do to be more resilient:

  • Be open and honest first with yourself and your support system what you are going through and accept the fact that in this battle, you have just begun. Some transitions can be long and you should stay relentlessly positive through it all.
  • Have some serious introspection about what is really most important to you.
  • Get feedback from those around you about how you are handling this challenge. Don’t forget to feed off the energy of others when possible. Everyone needs a break sometimes.
  • Find your confidence, your positive attitude and exercise your flexibility.
  • Be prepared for setbacks and encounter them accordingly
  • All the energy you are putting into a situation now will build your reserve of resiliency for bigger challenges down the road.

 

How can you add to my list of building and being more resilient?

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