Authored by Victoria Roos-Olsson, FranklinCovey Senior Leadership Consultant and author of The Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices For Leading A Team(www.EDAGM.com) and podcast host Roos&Shine.
Is anyone else other than me thinking, “2020 has certainly been an intense year, full of learning, things I never had expected, change, change, more change, big questions, enormous fatigue, etc. So now, can we just go back to normal, please?” But will we? Or are we already in the new normal? Or still on our way to a new normal? For everyone that had hoped that this fall would bring things back to normal, or the way they used to be, I think we now realize that it won’t. Many, many people are still working remotely, with their family members and pets being their new peers to discuss things by the watercooler or argue with about Wi-Fi connections. Many others have been laid off and are now struggling with redesigning their career amid all this chaos.
So, whatever it is that we are doing, most of us must carry on, continue to move forward. But what if we feel we are lacking the strength and energy to keep moving forward? What do we do to stay resilient in times like these?
I remember early in my career when facilitating assessments centers, we saw resilience as a trait, something you either possessed or not. But here is some good news. Resilience is a like a muscle. You can grow and develop it. And just like building a physical muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intention.
So here are a few strategies on what youcan do to build your resiliencemuscle:
Embrace Healthy Thoughts and Manage your Energy:
- Stay positive and keep things in perspective. Due to COVID-19, my husband ended up on the wrong side of the ocean, separated from our family. We did not see him for five months, and I had to manage living in a new country, my two high school age daughters, my career, our health and sanity, all on my own (Big kudos to all the single parents out there!). And on top of all the things I had to do, I also missed him terribly. To stay positive, I tried to lift myself up and out of the situation, put things into perspective, and I kept thinking about how Andreas and I have spent 23 years together and that this situation would be a great opportunity for me to appreciate the next 23 years even more. I also tried to reframe the situation, thinking about it as an opportunity to grow, spend time with my daughters, be a role model, not travel as much, and understand single parents much better. What helped me greatly was the concept of the Circle of Influence, one of my all-time favorite models, from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s all about where I focus my energy−on the things that concern me, or on the things over which I have direct influence. So, for example, COVID concerns me a lot, but when it comes to influence, I will not be able to change much about it. I can however influence my own health and how my family lives, moves and stays healthy, so as to not to affect others. And that’s where I focus my time and energy.
- Accept change. To accept change, I believe we have to understand change. In our book Everyone Deserves A Great Manager we write about the change curve. It’s not a curve on how to “project manage” change, but how to deal with the emotional aspects of change. I find that most of us love change, when we are the ones initiating it. We don’t love it as much when it’s happening to us. But understanding the mechanics of change and how best to deal with the different zones you pass through when dealing with change can help us a lot.
- Learn from your past and look to the future. I’m sure that you have done great things in your life. Now is the time to look back at them. How did you survive a difficult challenge the last time around? What can you use from that experience right now? Visualize the future, but don’t set a date by when things should be different. That can lead to bigger disappointment. My deepest low came when I had sat a date by which my husband would return. My mental deadline for when things would be ok again. And, that day came and passed. Without my husband’s arrival. Now, looking back, I know I was only halfway through in dealing with being away from him at that date. I learned my lesson and my focus was on how lovely it would be to have him back. Not on when he would be back.
- Strategically work on how to manage your energy. At FranklinCovey we talk about the 5 Energy Drivers: Eat, Move, Sleep, Relax and Connect. Regularly assess your own level of energy. If you are feeling that you are lacking in energy, check in on each of the 5 Energy Drivers. Are you eating to nourish yourself, with the purpose to create long term energy rather than short term comfort? Do you make sure that you get enough movement throughout the day? This is especially important if previous patterns of movement have vanished. What about sleep? Are you getting your eight hours and is it quality sleep? Track it. Do you find moments to relax? And I’m not thinking about binge-watching Netflix here, but giving your brain a rest from everything that is going on. And finally, connection is definitely the thing we are craving and lacking the most right now. That human connection. Aside from arguing about who gets to use the Wi-Fi in your home, what moments of connection do you create?
The 5 Energy Drivers are key to keeping our energy up. And if you are out of energy, it’s hard to stay positive and keep things in perspective, to accept change and have the insight to lift yourself out of the situation and look both at the past and towards the future, as well. I would invite you to take a moment and pause from everything going on, and check in with yourself. This year, it’s all about resilience.