You find yourself at the end of a busy day learning from experts on a topic that interests you. You’ve met some new peers and had plenty of conversations that leave you feeling uplifted and not so alone. As your inspiration burns like a fire inside of you, you see a world of endless possibilities laid out ahead of you.
The event is great, but as it comes to a close there’s big opportunity in front of you: How do you take what you learned and apply it to your life and business? If you are interested in defining that next step, this is for you.
A Little Background on Resilience
The idea of “resilience” and how to create more of it isn’t new. Researchers have spent decades developing tips that can help all of us prepare ourselves and those around us for moments where we’ll need to rely on that resilience. I’ll include links to key articles and research on this topic at the end of this piece, but really, there are two areas in life that make us more resilient in the face of life’s challenges:
- Having strong relationships around us.
- Living through, healed from, and moved on from two or more difficult life situations (i.e. death, divorce, job loss, etc.).
This is a topic that requires you to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. That means being able to see both the strengths you’ve developed and admit to weaknesses in other areas. It’s important to remember that “resilience” is a journey, not a destination. The more honest we can be, the more growth opportunity we have, and the more resilient we can become.
Building Up Personal Resilience
Start by answering the question: “When you assess resilience in others, what do you look for?” Make a list of 3-7 things you would expect to see from a person who, in your opinion, demonstrates resilience. Think back to what you heard at the CEO Summit and the nuggets of wisdom you heard from the speakers, or even in conversations between events.
I’ve asked myself the above question many times, and here are four of my personal answers to consider:
- They have strong friendships and relationships, both in and out of work.
- They have great habits that allow them to unplug and refresh. I rarely see them acting burned out.
- When things get hard, they bring strength and wisdom to our team that helps us get through it.
- They ask for help when they need it.
Cross-check it with your list. Are any of these already on there? If not, think about whether any of them should be.
Building a More Resilient Organization
Similarly, to building personal resilience, this also starts with a question: “When you assess resilience in your organization, what key markers do you look for?” Again, you’ll want to make a list of about 3-7 things that, in your mind, demonstrate resilience in an organization. These don’t necessarily need to be things your company already does.
In my years of working with organizations and helping them as they grow, here are four of the answers I’ve seen most frequently. Again, take a look at your list and see if any of these are on your list:
- Income Source – Revenue sources are diverse. No one source is more than __%.
- Leadership Team – The leadership team handled the last crisis successfully.
- Strategic Planning – We have a strategic plan in place that we are actively and effectively working toward.
- Solid Culture – Our company culture is strong, which is reflected in our turnover rates and employee feedback.
Based on the answers you settle on, create a matrix to rate your own organization—10 being “strong” and 1 being “weak”— in each of these areas. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be 100% honest with yourself.
Once you have your completed matrix, look at the areas where you want to see your organization improve and consider bringing it to your leadership team. You can work together to pick the one area you to address first. Then it’s time to make an action plan. What will you do in the next 90 days to improve in the area?
One of my favorite thought leaders around resilience is Brené Brown, a longtime researcher into the human connection to difficult topics like resilience. In her book Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. she shares a great observation of what we all get to enjoy when we develop resilience: “When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending.”
By facing your strengths and weaknesses with honesty, you have the potential to set yourself and your organization up for success. If you’re interested in additional insights like these directly to your email inbox about once per month, sign up for my email list. We’d be happy to have you!
Read more about resilience:
- Building Resilience by Martin E.P. Seligman (Harvard Business Review)
- 5 Tips to Increase Resilience by Darcy Sterling Ph.D. (Psychology Today)
- Resilience Blogs by Scott Patchin
- Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
- Video: Leading Yourself: What do I do with Feedback? by Scott Patchin