Have you noticed how resilience has become a hot topic in business?
There are TED talks on it, it is being written about in the Harvard Business Review and organisations are beginning to realise that high resilience levels are a major factor in creating sustainable success.
Often, the most successful people and businesses are not the ones that experience zero setbacks or failures; they are the ones that bounce back quickly, learn from it and use what they learn to their advantage.
In my work on this subject with clients one of the first things I often share is that you cannot make a feeling wrong.
If you feel discouraged, downhearted, devastated, under-pressure or helpless, then this is ok.
When we make it wrong to feel a certain way then we are picking a fight with reality and as Byron Katie so succinctly puts it – ‘When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100% of the time.’
Thinking “I shouldn’t be feeling like this.” just creates more bad feelings.
Jackie, one of my clients, was responsible for a sales team of 60 people that were significantly under-performing.
She had got caught up in a ton of thinking about the situation and began to feel helpless. She said she had run out of ideas and because the buck stopped with her, she began to feel afraid.
Her imagination was running wild with bad scenarios… ‘What if I lose my job?, how will I pay the bills? what will people think of me?’
In this kind of state she was no use to her team whatsoever.
We talked about the fact that in life there are two variables that have the most potential to derail us:
1. Situations we have no control over
2. How much emotion we have tied up with something
To Jackie, it seemed as though she had little control over the situation and she certainly had a lot of emotion tied up in it.
What happens when we feel afraid and uncertain is that we start to fill in the blanks with lots of ‘What if’s…’, and we get on a negative downward spiral.
But there is always a way out.
What is true for all of us is that, even when things look bad, if we know it is our thinking that is the source of our feelings, our mind will clear.
We will then begin to get thinking that supports us rather bringing us down.
As Jackie began to see that it was her thinking that was the source of her feelings and not the situation the downward spiral stopped.
So, where before there was despair she now began to feel hopeful. She was able to properly connect with her team and lift their spirits.
Gradually, as the mood began to rise so did performance. People got their energy back and it got to be fun again.
Resilience is built in to us. If you doubt that then simply look at how quickly children bounce back from an upset.
The one thing that kids do infinitely better than most adults is drop thinking. They move on very quickly. We can recover this quality too when we remember that we never have to take our thinking so seriously.