By Zaheen Nanji
Resiliency means the ability to bounce back from misfortunes, challenges or setbacks. What does bounce back really mean? It’s not about forgetting all that happened and continuing in misery. Bouncing back is the ability to get unstuck from a problem by finding a solution and continuing to function. Bouncing back is the ability to feel the fear and do it anyway because you will come through with new learnings. In my research on resiliency, these seven principles are important to bouncing back.
1. Approach challenges with flexibility
When something doesn’t work, do you tend to give up after the first try and think you’ve failed? View a challenge like a chess game where you have to not only think ahead but come up with several different strategies. This demonstrates flexibility. Finding different methods to overcome a challenge keeps a person more in control of the situation. Having only one strategy is inadequate preparation.
2. Excellent communication skills
Think of a leader or manager whom you admire and notice how he or she interacts with you or with others at all levels in the company or when networking. You will notice that she’s listening to your words and your communication style and communicates back in your style. She’s looking for the underlying reason behind your communication so she can relate to you. Finally, she’s subconsciously picking up on your body language and tone of voice and mirrors it. These communication skills come naturally to resilient individuals because they want to create rapport with you.
3. Live life with positive attitude
When resilient individuals approach a difficult situation, they have an attitude of being curious, but a positive attitude also encompasses the following three traits:
Realistic Optimism – All the research on optimism says that people who are optimistic are happier, have great relationships and are good at problem solving. However, what makes a person happier? It’s when they maximize their strengths and accomplish what they want knowing there are risks involved.
Embrace Change – research has shown that change becomes easier when we have the resources we need or seek out the resources we lack. Most people hate change because they fear the unknown. If you seek out the resources that can help you, managing change becomes easier.
Sense of Humor – laughter is the best medicine and being able to laugh at life’s frustrations is a great way to bounce back and strategize your next move.
4. Have a mentor
When a resilient individual feels stuck and finds herself in a worrisome state, the first thing she’ll do is contact a mentor or pretend to be her mentor. Imagine you’re faced with an obstacle right now. Think of a mentor who’d be able to overcome that obstacle. Now pretend you are your mentor and step into your mentor. Ask, as your mentor, “What would I do to overcome this problem?” Make sure you are seeing life through his/her eyes and listening through his/her ears. You’ll notice that you’ll have solutions right away.
5. Turn a challenge into an advantage
When you focus on your failures, you dwell on the past and the problems you experienced, which in turn, drives the fear of failure even deeper. Resilient individuals don’t view failure as failure; instead they view it as learned outcomes. Why? They look for insights that can be used as great learning opportunities. They then use that learning to their advantage which leads to the creation of new possibilities and outcome.
6. Create an outcome mindset
Most of us get stuck in the “blame mindset” when we are faced with challenges. In this mindset, you may catch yourself saying things, such as:
• Why do I have this problem?
• How long will I have this problem?
• Whose fault is it that I have this problem?
When you use this type of questioning method, you’ll feel oppressed and you’ll lack choices. However, it’s possible to re-program yourself to an “outcome mindset” by asking alternative questions, such as:
• What do I want and when do I want it?
• When I get what I want, what else in my life will improve?
• What resources do I have available to help me with this challenge?
• Can I use these resources to the best of my ability or do I require extra help?
• What can I do now to improve this situation and get what I want?
Having an outcome mindset propels a person to start thinking of solutions right away.
7. Park negative emotions and live for fulfillment
Resilient individuals accept hardship and work through it instead of dwelling in negative emotions and thoughts. They have the ability to park these emotions by using positive language while simultaneously focusing on the current challenge and finding solutions. This principle of dominating their negative emotions allows them to shift their focus from feeling anxious to feeling hopeful.
Zaheen Nanji is a resilience champion and a business owner in Alberta, Canada. Embracing change and fear is Zaheen’s trademark because she overcame her speech impediment, her struggles with weight and learned to live in a new country, at the age of 15, without her parents. Her book, The Resilience Reflex – 8 Keys to Transforming Barriers into Success in Life and Business, became an International Best-Seller on Amazon Kindle. Zaheen teaches people how to make resilience their first reflex using her 3-step system: Release, Re-program and Resolve. She can be reached at http://www.zaheennanji.com