There are many different stressors at a work place and that includes managing people and politics, building relationships, learning on the job, solving difficult problems, dealing with mistakes and even fire-fighting. These stressors, on top of managing our family and life, are sufficient to overwhelm anyone.
Another stressor that we may not be aware of, because we have grown to be so dependent on it, is technology. Technological advances create possibilities that not only can change the nature of work, but also influence human behaviour. We have only just scrapped the surface of technology’s capability and we can only imagine the wave of innovations and change that it will continue to bring. With changes in the economy and advancement in technology, companies are experiencing changes in the business climate and how things are done at a much faster rate. In response, companies need to constantly innovate, embrace technology, overcome new and different challenges to keep up and stay ahead of the market. The demands on us are escalating!
Naturally, these trends and changes will impact all of us who will now need to juggle existing work stress and the additional impetus to maintain skills relevancy. Above all, we have to be able to thrive in an environment of uncertainty and stress, continuously upgrade our skills, keep up with the pace and intensity of work, keep our emotions in check and to keep pushing ahead in spite of adversities. With all that is going on, who is to say that mental resilience should not be our key focus?
What is Mental Resilience?
Mental resilience is an attitude and mind-set that drives us to look at adversity in the face, and never bow to challenges in defeat. It is a certain toughness and persistence that enables us to keep positive and persevere amidst change, uncertainty, difficulties, mistakes, and failure. The quote by Lou Holtz “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude” sums it up. There is no greater obstacle to overcome other than ourselves and our mind. After all, how we think relates to our choices and actions which influences the outcome.
Some signs of a lack of mental resilience include giving up on the tasks without having tried, an unwillingness or avoidance to take up responsibility or be responsible for our own actions, a lack of self-confidence and a fear of challenges and failure. This could also include resistance to change, breaking down easily, blaming others for obstacles we encounter, and being unwilling to change our thinking or be open to new ideas.
What Can We Do to Enhance Resilience
1. Be aware of stress levels and manage it.
Prolonged stress can create blind spots in the way we think and limit our perspectives, and it can alter our behaviour. When we are distracted, tired or pressed for time, that when our biases kick in and we may react in least optimal ways. Hence, recognise stress symptoms early and do something to arrest it. Be self-aware, and aware of any negative thoughts and cast it aside. It does not serve you at this point.
2. Draw strength from past successes
It is probably not the first time you are facing a difficult situation. Take a moment to reflect on how you have handled and overcome similar or difficult situations in the past. You managed it before, you can manage it again. Draw strength from history and it will provide you with the lessons and advice to carry on.
3. Visualise success
When faced with an obstacle, it is okay to acknowledge that we do not have an answer or know-how to approach it yet. However, surely we have a better idea of what our ideal outcome is. Start by visualizing success and believing that any challenges can be overcome. It will provide more clarity for you
4. Breakdown the challenge
Break the complex task into simpler ones so that it no longer remains an overwhelming and debilitating obstacle. It will also give you a sense of greater control and progress as you tackle each bite sized pieces one at a time.
5. Expand your perspective
Be willing and have the courage to seek out advice, perspectives or help from others. Talk with others, find mentors or coaches. They can help reframe your thoughts and gain insight on how you have been approaching it. Perhaps you have gotten it all wrong right from the start. Time to reframe the issue!
6. Never give up trying
Being spoon-fed and waiting for answers to appear will do you no good. Keep trying and learning. Take everything as an opportunity to learn and be stronger and better. Focus on the things you can do.
7. Be Patient
Know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Everything takes time and sometimes, failure is part of the process. Pick yourself up, learn from mistakes and keep on moving but stay focused. Learn to unlearn and relearn. Just because it’s always been done in one way does not mean it’s the best or only way
Get in touch with us if you need a sounding board, support in finding clarity or a different way of approaching the difficult situation.
Shamantha Yan is cofounder and an ICF Certified Coach and trainer of Growthbeans. She is also an Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Intelligence coach, Emergenetics and ACTA certified and a Reiki Practitioner. She is also Director of Savoir Asia Consulting Pte Ltd.