By Marcel Schwantes
Experienced failure or a setback? Worried or stressed about something? This is for you.
Who likes to fail, raise your hand? That’s a question I often ask in speaking engagements. Truth is, no hands usually go up. Yet if you haven’t been rejected a number of times, the current mantra goes, you just haven’t experienced success.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception.”
I know you’re not Richard Branson. But anyone can have the same access to “failing forward” Branson speaks of. However, there is one hard prerequisite: resilience.
Having a coping mechanism when facing hurdles or getting crushed is key to bouncing back. University of Nevada professor and psychologist Steven Hayes says the right way to cope is to accept your thoughts and feelings and view them with curiosity. At the same time, think consciously about what you really care about in life, and how you want to be in the world. Then organize your behavior around those values you’ve identified as near and dear to you.
5 ways to practice resilience in tough times
Practically speaking, I’ve found these strategies to be game-changing in the way resilient people manage their emotions and bounce back to true form.
1. Do an honest self-appraisal of your situation.
Resilient people use their emotional intelligence to first assess what is making them feel threatened. They process their thoughts carefully and drill down until they get to the root of the matter. What is it about your situation that makes you feel the way you do? If something unresolved still lingers, nip that problem in the bud right away. If you don’t, you’ll feel perpetually frustrated and angry.
Resilient minds recover quickly by eliminating the drama in their head — a psychological technique called “reframing.” Think of it as a way to “tell yourself a different story” and come up with a different interpretation. This helps snuff out the drama that you may be scripting in your head. The best way to bounce back from it is to deal in the factual (what’s really true) and be present in the here and now.
3. Set boundaries.
The most resilient people recover from bad situations by saying “no” to anyone who interferes with their goals, schedules, and especially their values and beliefs. Remind yourself that you don’t have to be a yes-person for anyone; offer resistance when your primary values are threatened and push back firmly (but not harshly) by drawing lines in the sand.
4. Take responsibility for your actions, not someone else’s.
Once they clear their side of the fence with honesty and integrity, resilient people don’t allow themselves to feel guilty about things that have nothing to do with them. They know they are not responsible for the actions and drama of others, and they never beat themselves up for something someone else did.
5. Sever ties with toxic people.
Resilient people are smart enough to reconsider the risks and rewards of their networks, so that it keeps them safe and serves them well. When you are faced with wrongdoing or having been thrown under the bus, bounce back by reevaluating your professional relationships rather than fingerpointing. Once the smoke is settled, weed out control-freaks, manipulators, and needy takers who care only about themselves.
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