“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou
Right now, the Coronavirus pandemic has blanketed many of us with negative emotions and dampened our ability to see beyond today. You may be experiencing feelings of powerlessness, fear, and confusion at work, and likely at home too. We can’t help but ask ourselves, how will we keep moving through each day, even each hour, during this time?
Resilience. Resilience will carry you through this time, and all the other good and bad times to come.
Earlier this year, I attended a conference where the concept of resilience was discussed and examined at a granular level. The session was lead by a psychologist who framed resilience as a characteristic, or state of mind, that requires authentic confidence combined with emotional flexibility. You must acknowledge insecurities about capabilities and challenges and deal with them in askillful, action-oriented way.The question, however, is how do we find enough strength and capability to keep pushing through this current state of fear and uncertainty and continue to work well?
Research from the fields of positive psychology and change management have conducted thousands of studies exploring all aspects of buildingresilience. The findings are clear: anyone can build resilience. The American Psychological Association suggests four areas of focus: building connections, fostering wellness, finding purpose, and embracing healthy thoughts.
You can easily jump-start your own resilience-building program. Grab your work journal (yes, you should have one) and start by exploring these three areas of your work life:
- Support “I HAVE”: What are all the things you have in your work life that give you strength? Think of all the people, groups, teams, and tangible support systems you have access to right now. If you’ve lost your job, it may feel like you have nothing, but dig deep. Connect with your network of peers, ask for help, ask for clarity about the resources that are available to you, call your local government employment office. The very act of being proactive will help build your resilience over time.
- Capabilities “I CAN”: What are all the things you can do? This is where the action comes in to play. For instance, you can look for work, you can volunteer, you can share your knowledge and connections, you can help others with their work, etc. Know your capabilities and continuously remind yourself of all your actionable traits.
- Self-efficacy “I AM”: What are all your internal strengths? For instance, “I am knowledgeable, compassionate, trustworthy, outgoing, and supportive”. Your internal strengths can guide you in times of trouble and as you continue to focus on each, you may notice other internal strengths will begin to bloom. Use these strengths to your advantage.
For most of us, using our own resources and the kinds of strategies listed are usually enough for building our internal resilience. If not, acknowledge your need and seek out professional help. Either way, the important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Building resilience in our work, and personal, life is a life-long journey.