Resilience is a measure of our ability to bounce back when we pick a battle to engage in and then lose. The ability to pick ourselves up after a stumble and adapt our strategies in the face of these setbacks are crucial capabilities for today’s development professionals. Live to fight another day.
Cultivating this capability will go a long way towards helping YOU future-proof YOURSELF and your career. Here are the second five ways—with five more ways highlighted last week—to build resilience:
6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery: Take time to look deep inside yourself or your organization to assess your priorities and what’s important to you. Maybe you can sidestep or defuse a difficult situation by changing your perspective. Again, this is where your team mates or a special mentor can help you. A good boss can help with this as well.
7. Nurture a positive view of yourself: Work on building self-confidence and be positive about your ability to solve problems. Trust your instincts. You have learned so much in your life—rely on that. Remember who you are and what you stand for.
I have a friend who keeps great, reinforcing emails and letters in a file folder. On a day when she is feeling down and needs help in getting back up, she reads the positive notes she has received from volunteers, donors, friends, physicians, colleagues, etc. It is so meaningful that I am jealous that I never thought to do this. I recommend it for everyone––keep them all in one place for easy reach.
8. Keep things in perspective: While negative events can seem overwhelming when they are occurring, if you step back and look at the big picture, you may find their importance is actually minuscule. Failure is just a state of mind that you can easily change if you change your perspective. Recently a friend of mine was not able to submit a grant in time. Did he let that stop him? No. He contacted the foundation to let them know what happened and they quickly recognized that they could not accept the proposal for this year, but promised that they would review it, offer him suggestions that could increase the chance for success with the case for support for the following year, and then they would review it again--when it was officially submitted--the following year. They also confided in him, partially from his distress, that no one gets the grant in the first year. It surely took the stress off of him and most likely his immediate supervisor. Even when something "tragic" happens on the job, there is a way out. Keep it in perspective. It is just one moment in time. Stay productive.
9. Maintain a hopeful outlook: A little bit of optimism goes a long way. Come bounding into the office with excitement––today is a new day and there are so many things to do. Appreciate your co-workers. Appreciate the fact that the cafeteria is serving wedding soup today. Appreciate the story of a small breakthrough with a donor. Enjoy the enthusiasm that one of your contacts feels for his/her research. Appreciate that it is not bitterly cold or amazingly hot outside. Congratulate yourself that you stuck with your diet on this particular day. Visualize your own success. Speak positively to yourself. Enjoy the day, enjoy your family and enjoy your life.
10. Take care of yourself: Read. Exercise. Go out to lunch. Fix dinner for a neighbor. Bring ice cream for your co-workers. Take vacations. Rest and recharge your batteries.
Several images are included to help you get started on a vacation.
Adapted from Make Change Work for You by Scott Steinberg 2015. A Penguin Book, Penguin Group.