As stress levels escalate, building greater resilience is more crucial than ever for sustained leadership effectiveness. However, resilience is not just about your ability to push through to achieve long term goals but it’s also about performing at your peak on a daily basis.
Recently, there’s been a heightened focus on the subject of resilience, especially after Angela Duckworth’s groundbreaking TED Talk on the significance of grit as a predictor of success. And rightly so.
Today, when knowledge and skill can be equalised, resilience is the key differentiator to set apart leaders who can sustain their performance over time. In fact, with constant change and increasing complexity, we need greater resilience just to deal with everyday life without buckling under the pressure, not to mention keeping our sanity intact !
Resilience is generally defined as the ability to adapt well to change, bounce back from setbacks and to keep ploughing ahead despite adversity. Based on this definition, it’s easy to think of resilience as a skill to survive the long haul. But I believe there are 2 facets to resilience.
The first type of resilience is for the marathon towards your long term goals. It’s the stamina and endurance to keep pushing ahead despite the inevitable setbacks and disappointments along the way. As Duckworth says – It’s the passion and perseverance for your very long term goals. It’s the stamina to stick to your future, believing in what’s possible and working hard to achieve it.
For the marathon, developing mental toughness is a critical part of building greater resilience. Mental toughness is closely linked to confidence. It’s being able to perform at high levels even under difficult conditions, without losing your confidence. It helps build your emotional resilience to handle setbacks, criticisms and the occasional failures along your journey to success.
The other type of resilience is the ability to handle your daily sprints at work. It’s about being able to stay on top of the constant barrage of priorities, endless meetings and urgent fires all demanding your attention from the moment you walk through the door …. and to do it all again the next day, and the next. It’s about managing your energy. It’s the discipline of daily practices that refills your energy fuel tank so that you’re not completely drained at the end of your work day … with nothing left to give to your personal life.
In their book The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz talks about utilising 4 key sources of energy to help you balance stress and recovery in order to sustain high performance on a daily basis.
Physical energy – getting enough sleep, eating the right foods and exercise are all critical to add fuel to your energy tank. Are you developing the right habits to help kick start your day with sufficient energy ? Just as importantly, what are you doing at the end of each day to help you recover and refuel so that you’re ready for tomorrow ?
Emotional energy – it’s hard to perform effectively if you’re feeling frustrated and disengaged at work. Negative emotions are draining. Work that is not interesting or fulfilling also drains us. Can you identify what is draining your emotional energy at work, and how can you affect changes in these areas ?
Mental energy – mental energy comes from greater focus and clarity. It gives you permission to say ‘no’ to distractions that drain your time and energy. Do you go into work everyday clear about your top 3 priorities that will make the biggest difference to your personal and business success that week ?
Spiritual energy – you’ve probably heard this many times before …and that’s because it’s true. Connecting your work to a clear sense of purpose …your ‘why’ you’re doing this is perhaps the greatest, and most sustainable energy fuel of all.
Building greater resilience is absolutely necessary not just for success but also for your mental wellbeing. Understand what fuels your personal reserves of energy, stamina and endurance; and put into practice habits that fill these tanks on a regular basis.
As always, wishing you onwards and upwards in your journey …. to greater resilience.