I’m hearing a lot of stories lately from clients who are stuck in jobs they hate. For some it’s work that’s beneath their qualifications and aspirations, boring, dead-end, or poorly paid. For others it’s being confined each day in a toxic corporate culture or with bosses or colleagues from hell. For others it’s shortage of resources, the distance they have to travel, awkward business hours or job insecurity.
Then there are those who’ve been retrenched from positions they have invested huge amounts of time, energy, and hopes for their future in. And on top of that, they’re dealing with multiple application rejections.
Is this you?
Many of us these days who have invested years of time, energy and money in careers, jobs or businesses—only to find they are no longer viable, are faced with sudden drastic change. You can find yourself caught in a whirlwind of conflicting emotions—the cold-feet terror of taking the first step into unfamiliar territory; the shocking slap in the face when everything you thought you knew is no longer true, the dizzy, disorientation when you realize that the future you’ve planned for and prepared for has abruptly disappeared, or the impotent anger of feeling trapped.
It’s very tempting to stick your head in the sand and hope it will go away. This sudden loss of control is almost guaranteed to catapult you into a stress cycle. And as most of us know, stress can, unless properly managed, have a serious negative impact on your physical and psychological health—which simply digs the hole deeper.
That’s why in today’s increasingly accelerated, rapidly changing and competitive world, emotional intelligence, and the resilience it fosters are essential survival skills.
Easy to say, but when your inner critic is screaming you’re toast—there’s no way out of this, and people are repeating simplistic mantras to you like adversity creates resilience, the urge to shut their mouths with your fist may understandably seem overwhelming.
Okay, for those who have it, you might yell! And quite rightly—it’s hard to think about the promise of tomorrow when you’re hungry today. Being told all you need to do is upgrade your emotional management skills, can be beyond infuriating.
And yet, it’s precisely at these times that it’s absolutely necessary. The trouble is, it can seem almost impossible when faced with a situation that will have a dramatically negative impact on every area of your life, to tear your attention away from the problem, for long enough to regain the emotional equilibrium that will grant you the resilience to find creative solutions. But here’s the good news.
More and more studies are finding that resilience is not a trait that only a lucky few are genetically endowed with.
It can be learned, by anyone, at any stage of life. Yes, it’s okay to stand there wringing your hands and wondering what kind of crappy karma you’ve accumulated—briefly. But getting stuck in that state, means well…you’re stuck.
You see, stress is caused by an interaction between a potentially stressful situation and your perceived ability to cope with it. It is your own internal beliefs, attitudes, interpretations, perceptions and reactions, in combination with the external events that dictate whether you will suffer the negative impact of stress—or not.
The unpalatable truth is we are co-creators of negative stress.
But the flip side of this is that we have more influence than we thought to change it. Change begins with you, and you have a lot more control than you might think—if you don’t allow your emotions to rule your life. When you recognize and understand your emotions, you have the power to direct them.
If you’re tired of being a prisoner, and ready to release your strangle hold on the problem and how terrifying and unfair it is, here are 25 ways resilience can save your life:
1. Learn how to master stress.
2. Accept what is—release all the energy trapped in obsessing about what was.
3. Shift your perceptions. You are not a helpless victim of the situation. This is your life. You are bigger than the problem.
4. Deconstruct that mountain of problems into individual components, and deal with them one at a time.
5. Influence what you can by taking responsibility. Delegate or delete the rest.
6. Depersonalize the stressful experience. Life happens—it isn’t out to get you.
7. Your current experience cannot define you—unless you let it.
8. Stressful experiences are a temporary state of affairs (though it may not feel like it at the time).
9. Consider the situation you’re in as marathon training. As your mental fitness increases, your confidence in your ability to handle the tough stuff will soar.
10. Focus on what you have—it redresses the balance.
11. Focus on who you are. This can’t be taken away from you.
12. Focus on what you can do, and have accomplished.
13. See your problems for what they are—inevitable hurdles to be overcome, not Armageddon-like catastrophes.
14. Master the art of reframing or mental channel changing—from the problem channel to the solution channel, anytime you want.
15. Face it and fix it. Don’t avoid problems. If you do, they’ll grow into a mountain.
16. See disapproval as fuel. Measure yourself by your own standards—not other peoples.
17. Don’t deny you’re afraid. Hold fear by the hand and just keep walking until you’re out the other side.
18. Know when to be kind to yourself, and when self discipline is necessary.
19. Don’t make excuses. Build momentum by getting started—and finish what you started.
20. Accept and ultimately get comfortable with uncertainty.
21. Develop a strong, respectful, trusting relationship with the person who’s going to get you out of this mess—YOU.
22. Keep physically fit. Studies show that aerobic exercise helps build new neurons and connections in the brain to counteract the effects of stress.
23. Learn to relax on demand. This may seem impossible when facing disaster, but it’s not—it’s the key to regaining control.
24. Discipline your emotional responses. Yes, you can! There is a direct correlation between emotional empowerment and stress resiliency.
25. Laugh—especially when under pressure. It’s your pressure release valve. Laughter reduces stress instantly, lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels.
Reaching out is not a weakness.
Smart people know it’s an essential survival resource. Don’t isolate yourself when you’re struggling. Strong, supportive connections increase your physical and psychological well being and power base, beyond measure. Use team energy. What is impossible individually is almost always possible as a team. As Mike Johnson observes:
Adversity is just the dark moment that makes redemption so much sweeter.
Do you want to be more resilient, but don’t know where to start? Click here and I will help you.