It’s been quite a week, in the middle of quite a year… and next, we head into winter.
It struck me today that, no matter how you or I – or any individual leaders within their organizations – might be feeling today, the truth is, we have a mighty responsibility to the people who keep our companies going. Those folks may be experiencing a range of emotions these days. And they need us. They need us to keep the ship upright, steaming ahead, and running smoothly.
Former Navy SEAL, Brent Gleeson, wrote a timely piece of advice about resilience in the workplace. One of the things I appreciate the most about his piece is that it is written with such practical optimism. Yes, he speaks to why resilience is so necessary. But more importantly, he details simple steps to practice resilience and keep it strong.
It struck a real chord with me. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself in a conversation with a company leader who is sincerely struggling to keep their at-home employees engaged, enthusiastic, and productive at work right now.
It’s understandable. They’ve spent the past eight months discovering the painful fallout of moving an entire customer care workforce at-home overnight, without planning, infrastructure, appropriate technology, or specifically trained supervisors.
While Gleeson’s advice, below, can’t solve all of that, it serves as a powerful reminder of what’s at stake – and what you can do about it. At Skybridge, we specifically designed and built our at-home platforms and processes around the critical links between employee experience, customer experience, and long-term growth. If you would like to know more about how we can help you achieve your customer experience goals, please reach out. We would love to talk. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the article, remember to be good to yourself and your team, and stay resilient.
5 Top Reasons Resilience At Work Matters
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”— Khalil Gibran
When we experience disaster, trauma, or distressing psychological events in our personal or professional lives, we usually react with grief and a range of negative emotions. Which is, of course, a natural reaction to having our hopes dashed or our goals thwarted. However, such experiences are not only an inevitable part of life but virtually required for growth, development, and the ability to not only survive in adversity but thrive.
My theory is that the best way to enhance one’s resilience, grit and mental toughness is with intentional practice. My first meaningful experience developing this philosophy came while training for the Navy SEAL selection program. I had moved to Crested Butte, CO to train my body and mind at extremely high altitudes for several months. This mindset later became the fuel I needed for my journey on the battlefields of both combat and business – where resilience is a prerequisite for success.
We’ve all needed a bit more fortitude in this new working environment over the past eight months – and will need to continue to embrace it regardless of the election outcome. And while there isn’t necessarily any agreed upon “list” of core components for resilience, in my new book – Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life, with a foreword by David Goggins – I break it down into three dimensions.
CHALLENGE: Resilient people view difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They see failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from – opportunities for growth.
COMMITMENT: Resilient people are extremely committed to their lives and goals. They take total ownership over proper planning, execution, and course correction.
CONTROL: They spend their time and energy on situations and events they have control over. And because they place their effort and emotion where they have the most impact, they are more empowered, confident, and fulfilled.
Resilience is an important characteristic in the context of work, now more than ever possibly. Nobody is a consistently perfect employee, teammate or leader – and everybody will at some point receive critical feedback or experience a failure at work. And in this virtual environment, new challenges and complexities have inundated already strained levels of engagement. Just keep in mind that resilience is also often required in the face of positive changes as well, such as a promotion, increased levels of responsibility, or even a desired career shift.
So, before we dive into the key reasons resilience at work matters, let’s take a quick look at some of the characteristics that drive heightened levels of mental fortitude.
Optimism – those who are optimistic tend to be more resilient and likely to stay positive about the future even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Giving back – the most resilient among us often turn to help others when they need to relieve stress and boost their self-efficacy. Selflessness is a powerful thing.
Values and morals – people with a strong moral compass or steadfast set of beliefs about right and wrong generally have an easier time bouncing back.
Humor – people who have a healthy sense of humor and can laugh at their own misfortune have an advantage when it comes to navigating adversity, for obvious reasons!
Mentors or coaches – this is also not a requirement for resilience, but those who have unemotional coaches, mentors, or role models have a resource for guidance.
Support networks – unsurprisingly, social support is important when it comes to resilience; those with strong social support networks are better equipped to bounce back from loss or disappointment. And I’m not talking about Instagram!
Embracing fear – this is not so much a characteristic as an action or tendency to act, but people who are willing to leave their comfort zone and confront their fears are more likely to overcome their challenges and grow as a person. This is the entire premise of my new book.
Purpose – it shouldn’t be surprising that those who have an emotional connection to a higher cause are more likely to recover from failure or disappointment. When you fervently believe you have a purpose, you are less likely to give up when faced with tragedy or loss. This is very much the case in SEAL training for example.
Intentional Training – As previously mentioned, while a portion of individual resilience may be somewhat permanent and unchangeable, there is an opportunity for improvement; it is possible to improve your resilience through intentional training.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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