Stay Resilient with Work Challenges
“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that
determines how your life’s story will develop.” ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Our career path is never a smooth, straight road all the time, "Being resilient" is key to keeping our balance as we navigate it. Whether it’s managing a busy time at work or challenging colleagues, finding your first job or another job after a layoff or termination, perspective is key to getting or keeping our work life on track.
I’d like to offer a perspective that it just muscling through challenges without taking a moment to acknowledge the experience may not be the most effective way to handle them. Resilience to life’s adversities large and small requires being prepared — before we’re confronted with the difficulty and when we’re face down in the thick of it.
Every day, I use the tools of mindfulness, connection, and gratitude to stay prepared. Like exercising to keep my body healthy and flexible, this habit helps me when the unexpected pops up, and it allows me to respond to the situation from a stronger place. My practice includes…
- Connection - to my life’s passions, purpose, to friends, family and communities of support.
- Trust - in myself to know what’s right for me and my ability to solve problems.
- Perspective - creating space for the long view and choosing the perspective I want to hold.
- Gratitude - knowing what I’m truly thankful for and what is meaningful for me.
- Mindfulness - staying present and creating spaces of stillness each day.
And when adversity does hit, I follow a simple process.*
- Acknowledge the situation. “OK, this actually is happening and is something I have to deal with.”
Shining a light on the problem helps remove some of the negative emotions that might be clinging to it (like shame, disappointment, and vulnerability), so I can really see what I’m dealing with.
- Observe myself and my reaction. “How am I feeling about this?”
Holding myself gently with compassion, I try to identify and understand my feelings and what I’m doing or not doing as a result of them.
- Ask for help. “Who can help me manage this?”
Having someone to talk with and, maybe, keep me accountable to the promises I make myself makes it easier to “work the process” when I might want to pull the covers over my head and avoid.
- Take action. “What do I need to do right now?”
Taking just one step at a time toward solving the problem is all I ask of myself.
- Evaluate and clear out the clutter. “What did I learn from this?“
Consciously choosing what to take from the situation and what to leave behind makes the experience valuable -- and lighter.
* Repeat as necessary. (This practice is not a “one and done” type of thing. As we journey through whatever difficulty evolves, we’ll probably cycle through this process a few times.)
After my fair share of life lessons, I know that resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed, a quality that anyone can have. It’s not about just bucking up and getting on with it, it’s about consciously choosing to access certain behaviors, thoughts and actions that allow us to effectively process through the unexpected and unfortunate.
If you would like to explore your career transition in more depth, please contact my colleague Caroline Anzur (firstname.lastname@example.org). Caroline is a certified professional coach focusing on transformational coaching and leadership. She is passionate about helping others purposely define their lives by connecting to and creating from the things that matter most to them. Caroline knows first-hand that the path to something new is worth exploring and that there are always more possibilities for each of us.