Our ability to cope and recover when facing change, failures, hardships, and stagnation is a testament to our resiliency. Any obstacle or crisis requires a measured and swift response, as we’ve learned spending our careers adapting to and overcoming adversity. Will navigating the world’s strange state of affairs necessitate something different from us to survive?
As uncertainty and turmoil mount, the pandemic’s profound effects have disrupted lives and livelihoods. Though the current set of circumstances we confront today feels strange and unfamiliar across sectors the journey to conquering them remains the same as before. In business, during the era of Covid-19, resilience is non-negotiable.
Embracing challenges is a hallmark of a successful leader. Your position today is built on a foundation of trying times and learning experiences. Creating a culture of resilience within your company or team is imperative for the collectivity to weather the storm and thrive in unprecedented moments.
My name is Bo Parfet; I am an impact investor, philanthropist, author, explorer, and mountaineer. I am the founder and CEO of Denali Venture Philanthropy, an impact investment entity that finances entrepreneurs whose humanitarian ethos is driven by a desire to spur positive social change.
As an investment banker on Wall Street in my early professional years, getting knocked down and getting back up was the key to my maturation process. As I ascended the ranks, my ambition grew as well. I wanted to expand my view from a traditional financial outlook and gain a deeper perspective on the world.
With only a rudimentary grasp of mountaineering, my aspirations led me to scale the earth’s highest mountain ranges. I began a journey that would ultimately transform into my life’s passion as I embarked on a mission to climb the tallest mountain peaks on each continent.
My travels illustrated to me that we are all in this together. While the existential threats of death drops, starvation, exhaustion, discord with militias, drowning in crocodile-infested waters, and being strongarmed by corrupt army officials aren’t identical to what we face today, they did instill in me a notion of perseverance and preparedness in times of strife. The resilience I learned in the corporate world also gave me the basis to stay relentless in extreme conditions. However, what I learned in both those arenas readied me for many situations in life where pushing myself is key to my success.
As a leader in the “new normal,” you have short term and long-term measures which you must take to ensure you’re building a resilient team. In the interim, you must mitigate the consequences of diminished forecasts, reductions in sales, and difficult human resources reconsiderations to remain solvent. Your long-term plans should include considerations of diversification to minimize risk. Decisive decision-making and a consistent crisis management plan will positively influence your staff and help model of what resiliency looks like in the current context.
Resilience is all-encompassing; it involves the mind, body, and soul. Fine-tuning these aspects will best prepare you for all of life’s challenges. Below are lessons to impart on your team to inspire them in exploring their comfort and command of resiliency.
Choose the fight over flight response. Take action immediately. The cavalry is not coming any time soon. It is up to you to shore up what you can control and engage in harm reduction. Indecisiveness and standing by idly will leave you exposed in critical situations. Trauma can cause one to feel paralyzed or overwhelmed with fear. Proactive steps, no matter the size, will increase confidence and limit your second-guessing yourself. With determination, you can empower yourself and curb feelings of hopelessness.
Reconnect with your purpose. The reset to the status quo of our daily lives creates an opportunity for personal inventory and introspection. Now is the time to take stock of your life’s essential components and follow-up with your goals and ambitions set long ago. The urgency of the moment may create a sense that survival mode thinking supersedes reinvesting in what drives you. Ultimately, clearly understanding your purpose, and doubling down on achieving it, is an excellent bet for survival.
Create a circle of trust with your closest allies and confidantes. There’s strength in numbers. Relying on those who want to see you succeed for emotional support and reassurance is an invaluable asset. Those who fulfill you when you’re off the clock are there with you to weather dilemmas you encounter. Don’t let any misplaced pride or a sense of weakness prohibit you from deepening the bond between you and your loved ones.
Remain optimistic and push forward with positivity. Panicking in times of discord can escalate matters and leave you more vulnerable. If you focus on the troubled waters, the undertow will pull you in. If you focus on staying afloat by cataloging what is in your favor, you can wade the currents. Pessimism can manifest into self-defeating habits. While you may not be in control of situations causing you distress, you can command a more beneficial and positive viewpoint.
Embrace being out of your comfort zone. Navigating foreign lands, attempting to communicate over language barriers at every turn, all for the opportunity to face treacherous conditions scaling mountaintops, taught me to invite discomfort into my life. Once you overcome the fear of the unknown, you will flourish, regardless if you succeed or fail. The experience of trying and the lessons you’ll learn about yourself will ultimately outweigh the risks of protecting yourself.
Find joy in the little things. When you shine a light on all your problems, you leave everything else in the dark. From mundane occurrences to routine conversations, be more present. Appreciate the beauty and power of the things we often take for granted. Treat yourself to more art and entertainment that makes you think, laugh, and smile. Nurture your mind, body, and soul.
While returning to a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy is still far off on the horizon, your committed resilience will be the guiding light that get you and your team there.