Resiliency is without doubt an increasingly important life skill. As traditional support systems around you possibly fray and globalization continues to make demands for swift adaptation at the individual level, you will need to cultivate the self-management skills that enable you to cope with sudden, unforeseeable, and sometimes difficult change.
The good news is resiliency is a skill that can be learned. Like any skill, it just requires steadfast practice. That was the message from the experts on a recent episode of Internet talk radio program Coffee Break with Game-Changers, presented by SAP. The expert panel included Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer (CEO) at The Resiliency Group; Bill Jensen, aka “Mr. Simplicity” and IBM Future of Work Futurist; and Sherryanne Meyer, expert for Human Resources Business Processes and technology at Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG).
The episode aired live on April 20, 2016 on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel, with host Bonnie D. Graham leading a discussion loaded with insight and food for thought.
Radical Resiliency: Because You Cannot Step in the Same River Twice
If you ask most people to define “resiliency,” they will tell you it has something to do with “bouncing back.” But sometimes bouncing back is neither possible nor desirable. When a life-altering event occurs, there’s no going back. And by nature, people will not simply snap back into position. “Radical Resiliency,” a term coined by McDargh, accepts this reality while paying homage to the courage of the human spirit to move ahead. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed, “You cannot step in the same river twice.”
McDargh defines Radical Resiliency as “growing through challenge or opportunity so that you end up wiser and smarter on the other side.” When faced with a tough situation, McDargh advises asking yourself, “What can you do right now so that you can grow through this?”
Yes, you can learn Radical Resiliency! Grow through challenge or opportunity so that you end up wiser for it.
The talk show panel identified five building blocks to cultivating radical resiliency in your life. With practice, you can achieve what McDargh calls “presilience” – or preemptive resilience. Here’s how.
A necessary quality for resiliency is the ability to adapt. Without the ability to take action or create change within yourself, you are left with a very limited and inadequate range of responses. “Resiliency requires what we would consider a growth mindset, where you’re constantly looking at ‘how can I grow, what can I learn from this experience?’ ” said McDargh. “Adaptability – which is the baseline for resiliency – says, in how many different ways can I respond to an event or to a situation?”
Reframing is the ability to find opportunity in most any situation. Here’s an example of how it works: it’s not a bad hair day; it’s a great hat day. It’s not always that simple, of course. That’s why reframing requires both creativity and practice, as McDargh explained, “Reframing is: how can I look at [something] and see what is possible versus what is impossible? This is really the stuff we have to practice.” The payoff can be enormous, resulting in an improved mindset, as McDargh noted, “This whole notion then of reframing is really a place of power.”
3. Intelligent Optimism
Optimism is a crucial component of radical resiliency. Learning to reframe a difficult situation into a situation with potential for positive outcomes creates Intelligent Optimism. By embracing a growth mindset that comes with adaptability and using reframing to recognize the opportunity that otherwise may lay hidden, you will be more confident in your ability to cope with situations as they arise.
4. Inner Knowingness
According to Jensen, true resiliency requires deep “inner knowingness” – or in other words, “know thyself.” But this can be a real challenge in today’s world, as uncovered by Jensen Group Research, which came up with the 80/20 Rule of Inner Knowingness: 80 percent of us think we know who we are but have done only 20 percent of the work. Jensen said, “Most of us can define ourselves as a parent, a designer, a programmer, a consultant, or a painter. But very few of us can say, this is really why God put me on the planet, why I am here to serve others, and why I do what I do.”Meyer backed this up, saying, “It’s really significant to understand who you are, where you come from and what your values are, because when those things conflict, whether you’re aware of it or not, that’s a problem for you and that eats into your resiliency. Your mindset means everything.”McDargh used the term alignment to describe the importance of self-knowledge in how we choose to live our lives: “How aligned am I to who I am, to what my values are, and what is the mark I want to leave on the world?”
What does en vogue term like disruption have to do with radical resiliency? “Everything that truly matters is going to happen outside of your comfort zone,” Jensen said in a profound observation. “The power of optimism requires in today’s crazy world a dance partner, which is the ability to disrupt one’s self.”The panel had much to say on the topic of disruption in the workplace. Jensen called upon managers in organizations to provide Courageous Leadership – in part, meaning the willingness to go beyond the way one normally does things. Meyer commented on the importance of continual learning for harnessing disruption skillfully. “Disruption wouldn’t be so awful if we kept our frame of mind open more often and were continual learners,” she said. “Smart people in the workplace are able to deal with the organizational changes that are coming, or will be coming. They’re educating themselves, [so] they’re part of the change. They can adapt well to change.”
Are millennials more or less resilient than other generations? Listen to the replay of this show to hear what the panel said on this topic, plus many other insightful observations.
Tune in to Coffee Break with Game-Changers on July 20 at 11 AM ET / 8 AM PST to hear Part Two of this series on how you can build Radical Resiliency into your life.
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