One thing that we all have in common―whether we're the CEO in the corner office, the new intern in the mail room, or a new parent ―is that we all have obstacles that get in the way of our success goals. No matter how small or grand the goal, there always seems to be something or someone in the way to make the journey less straight-forward than we'd like it to be.
But the secret to success lies in our ability to persist in our goal-striving regardless of what life throws at us. In order to not buckle under the pressure and prematurely throw in the towel, successful people have learned to be emotionally resilient. And "learned" is the key word here. Yes, there are some of us who are more innately resilient than others, but the type of resilience that allows us to ultimately achieve success is the hard-won resilience that comes from bouncing back from failures, disappointments, rejection and bad breaks.
Without learning to be resilient we easily give up after experiencing a few setbacks. Resilience—the mental strength and flexibility required to adapt to change—is an effective coping strategy that acts as our internal compass so we can resourcefully navigate around the things, people and situations that inevitably get in our way. It's what allows us to pick ourselves up when we fall, learn from it without regret, guilt or fear, and quickly move on.
We can't always control the things that happen to us but we can control our response to them. Remember, success never gives up on you so don't ever give up on your success dreams.
Here are 7 ways to increase your emotional resilience and improve your "bounce back" ability:
- Everyone has things that go wrong occasionally. We can harp on the negative aspects of the situation or we can look at the situation in a new way.Emotional resilience ensures that we turn our setbacks into setups for future success. For example, most people would say that unexpectedly losing a job is a negative situation. But reframing the job loss can minimize the emotional impact and provide a creative approach for arriving at a solution. Rather than seeing the job loss as a negative, for example, we can alter our perspective and focus on the fact that this change frees us to pursue a new and better job where our strengths and talents are appreciated and encouraged.
- You may not be able to predict the future, but you can tackle a problem head-on instead of feeling at the mercy of forces outside of your control. Resilient people know that ultimately their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on their ability to take action rather than remain passive. Resilient people have a sense of mastery and control over their destiny rather than leaving things to luck or fate. Tough times call for you to tap into your own sense of personal responsibility.
- Life's experiences provide fertile ground for learning and people with emotional-resilience have consciously developed their self-awareness and mindfulness. Asking yourself questions that invite introspection can open a door to new understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you stand for. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings leads to insight and helps transform the meaning of a problem into something useful. Resilient people learn from life situations and do not succumb to punishing themselves because of decisions made in the past.
- People with emotional resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests. They're open to new experiences and ideas.Because their lives are rich and varied, a negative situation in one sphere of their life doesn't completely overwhelm them. In fact, it's easier for them to find relief from the single mindedness and worry that often accompany a crisis like a job loss, divorce, or failed business venture.
- Are you the optimistic Tigger in Winnie-The-Pooh story or are you more like the pessimistic Eeyore? Resilient people have a positive outlook about themselves and the world which allows them to weather times when everything seems bleak. This approach gives them the ability to hope for a better future and continue to strive toward their goalseven when things don't look so good. They know that the outcomes they get in life are a direct consequences of their approach to the problems they encounter.
- Being emotionally-resilient means that you must be open to being vulnerable. Resilient people don't go it alone―they aren't afraid to let their support system know that they need help. They know the value of expressing their fears and frustrations, as well as receiving support or guidance from friends, family or a professional coach/mentor.
- Resilient people can laugh at themselves and their situation even in the difficult times. Have you ever had a wry laugh during a difficult situation?The ability to see the absurdity, irony, or genuine humor in a situation stimulates our sense of hope and possibility. Humor hasboth psychological and physical benefits in relieving stress because it encourages a swift change in our perception of our circumstances—and when our thoughts change, our mood follows. And when our mood changes our actions change as well.
Jacinth Tracey, PhD is an award-winning leadership and high performance success coach, international speaker and multiple best-selling author. Her mission is to empower women to break through barriers to their personal and professional success.