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The Five Practices of Remarkably Resilient Leaders

Resilience paves the road to greatness.

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“Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy

Resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt in the face of stress, challenge or adversity. 

Research tells us that resilience is one of the key attributes of successful leaders. Not only can resilience help leaders face challenges, navigate obstacles, and thrive in their role, but it can also help them lead their team and the business to bigger and better results. 

Resilient leaders tend to engage in certain behaviors that allow them to reset or pivot as change occurs. Their ability to demonstrate peak performance despite stressful situations is something others admire. 

After working with several hundred exceptional leaders, I’ve observed five core practices of remarkably resilient people.

VULNERABILITY

You can’t experience life without feeling life. Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it is a strength. It takes courage to believe in yourself, to let others see who you really are and what you stand for, and to passionately share your beliefs and values. 

Resilient leaders let their authentic self shine through; they allow their inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences to be congruent with their outer projections to the world. They feel comfortable and confident standing in their truth, and they don’t worry about what others think about them. Resilient leaders have a strong sense of self-worth. 

Action: Reflect on one of your recent personal or professional challenges. What did you experience? How did it make you feel? Did you openly and authentically express your thoughts and feelings with those around you? What could you have done differently to share your true self?

PERSPECTIVE

Your perspective dictates how you see things and shapes how you will move forward in the future. Having an open perspective and balanced view is vital to managing the pace of change in today’s fast-moving world. 

Resilient leaders embrace new perspectives, gain new understandings, and apply them during times of change. They don’t hold onto old behaviors and skills just because they’re familiar, especially when it’s obvious that they don’t work anymore. Resilient leaders are great learners. 

Action: Write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Take time to acknowledge and appreciate small things throughout your day. The more purposeful you are at practicing gratitude, the more naturally things will trigger a feeling of appreciation. Resilient leaders are committed to showing gratitude and appreciation.

CONNECTION

Your ability to build and maintain strong trusting relationships can help you develop resilience. Having a strong support system of mentors, coaches, colleagues, friends and family to help advise, problem-solve, motivate and listen is critical to your emotional wellbeing.

Resilient leaders value other people and see people first. They know relationships take time and effort and are willing to engage in this process. Finding purpose inspires greater meaning and closeness, and allows teams to stay focused on their vision and mission. Resilient leaders recognize people are their greatest asset.

Action: Create your support structure. Who do you go to for support? Why do you go to them and what do you get from them? Are there gaps and can you identify people to fill those gaps? 

EXPANSIVE ENERGY 

Your energy is a limited resource; you only have so much energy and there’s only so much that you can do with that energy every day. As you spend your energy, it gets depleted and you recover overnight. But, how often do you think about how you use your energy and if you’re using it in the most effective way? Resilience is about resting and learning how to balance rest and action in a strategic way. 

Resilient leaders know that saying “yes” to every request will lead to exhausting their energy. They know how to conserve their resources and use them appropriately. This may mean avoiding certain foods or going to bed at a certain time or having a daily meditation practice. Resilient leaders integrate self-care practices into their daily routine.

Action: Evaluate your energy levels. Where are your energy levels when you wake? Where do you spend your energy during the day? Are there small tweaks you can make to use your energy more effectively? 

GROWTH MINDSET

Your mindset is the most important factor influencing your life and it matters because your personal and professional success, happiness and wellbeing depend on your life perspective. A growth mindset is a critical aspect of resilience, overcoming challenges, and navigating change and uncertainty. 

Resilient leaders have a growth mindset. They believe that although we may have different starting points, we can all acquire new skills, develop, and grow within targeted areas of focus. They see problems as puzzles and use that to overcome obstacles and challenges. Resilient leaders are always seeking opportunities to learn more. 

Action: Write someone an encouraging letter. Share why you believe in them and why you believe they can accomplish their goals. Share examples of where they’ve already achieved or exceeded personal and professional expectations.

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