If you want to learn to swim, you have to practice in the swimming pool. If you need to unwind and relax, the jacuzzi is the better place to be. Let’s relate this to performance at work. If you stay in the jacuzzi, where you feel comfortable and safe, you are not going to develop and grow in your role. If you are in the pool, swim some breadths and progress to lengths, you’ll discover the fulfilment that challenge and discovery bring.
To what extent does taking care of yourself feature in your to do list? We live in times where skipping lunch, communicating mainly through electronic media and not experiencing much natural daylight is the norm, because we increasingly prioritise getting things done over the small things that matter for taking care of ourselves. When getting things done repeatedly takes priority over self-care, we start to run out of energy, and if this becomes the norm, it’s likely chronic illnesses will become the norm too.
Take stock every day of how you’ve listened to what your body needs and how you have shown some self-care. This will boost your intention for tomorrow, and the next day…
EqualIIseThis resilience habit is about rights-respecting behaviour - it reminds you what that looks like and how it feels. It nudges you into having a respectful attitude at work, respecting others and respecting yourself.
Use this tool to reflect on your interactions each day and consider: When did I come over as Big i? When did I go into little 'i' behaviour? When did I see and communicate I to I?
The very best way of developing equalIIse behaviour is to invite feedback from others on how you came across, for example, asking a trusted colleague after a meeting to describe your behaviour using the equalIIse model and vocabulary.
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Reduce your anxiety
Anxiety arises from fears about the future, where we predict and believe bad things will happen. We don’t actually know what is going to happen but we feel powerless to do anything to prevent it! Before we know it, our thoughts and feelings have taken over and we’re catastrophising.
We can’t control what’s already happened. We can’t control what we don’t know. The important benefit from this resilience habit is that we see what we can influence and feel more empowered to take some action. Clarifying what we can influence gives us a useful focus, which feels much better than catastrophising.
Glass half full
When people are negative in their approach and responses, it has a draining effect on others and even on the atmosphere in meetings and across teams. This set of self-coaching questions enables you to gradually change your approach from pessimism and grumpiness, which brings people down, to realistic optimism, which energises and uplifts people instead.
Take 2!Resilient people reflect on significant moments and situations from each day so that they review what they can learn and do differently next time. Writing down your reflections and taking stock in this way means you are much more likely to remember your intentions, and behave in the way you would choose, than if you simply think about these points. Something shifts between thinking and expressing yourself in the written word.
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Know your triggers
Continuing the themes of self-awareness and self-care, if you know your triggers, you can watch out for them and manage them before they start to take over. Noticing isn’t enough – what really matters is respecting the messages the signs are sending you and taking action to prevent things worsening.
Resilient people remember what they appreciate and value in their life, routinely. You can do this too by identifying 3 things each day that you value in your life, that you are grateful for, or by simply stating the best bits of the day. You’ll find, even when things are tough, that reflecting in this way contributes to feeling glad, or a little bit better, routinely.
It’s easy to go through your busy working day fairly blinkered about what you do and the knock-on effect of your actions on others. It’s easy too, to be defensive when challenged about something you forgot to communicate, without realising the inconvenience it caused for others. Considering Consequences is a resilience habit that keeps you aware, responsible and accountable by simply thinking through what’s likely to happen if you do something, and, if you don’t. It’s surprising how the consequences become very significant very soon and how quickly they go against personal or organisational values.
Most people nowadays feel like they are carrying a heavy workload. The reality is unlikely to change, what can change though is your personal resource, your ability to deal with it – to keep well, to feel strong and to have the stamina to keep going. Resilient people are attentive to all the aspects illustrated here, in particular the content of the load and the amount they are carrying.
What do you really need to be carrying today? What are your true priorities that are manageable and what do you do with the rest? How do you manage, negotiate, shed and share workload?
You will make more progress developing your resilience habits if you take a journal approach, reflecting on today and considering what you’ve learned for tomorrow.
You can download a page for your Resilience Daybook here from the People Intelligence website.
Which flower is you?
If you get into the habit of checking in with yourself, routinely, to see how you are and what you need, you are practising self-care through self-awareness.
If you take action to make sure you address those needs, you are demonstrating self-care through self-management.
If you are not aware you are fading or if you know you are fading and take no responsibility for getting back to blossoming, very soon you’ll be wilting. Recognising your needs – physiological, emotional, mental, environmental, motivational and spiritual – reminds you to take care of yourself so that you move towards blossoming.
5 WhysResilient people know what they stand for and why they do the job they have chosen to do. Knowing your qualities, strengths, purpose and values gives you a strong core. Reminding yourself of these during difficult times and through challenging circumstances will keep you more focused and stable.
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Getting things in perspective
When you’re feeling tense, stressed, under pressure or in conflict, it’s very easy to become blinkered and to get things out of perspective. Then, your thoughts and feelings start running away with you. If you develop the resilience habit of getting things in perspective by rising above the situation and asking yourself a few simple questions, you will feel more balanced and patient, less stressed, more calm.
Think of a time when you looked forward to coming to work and then contrast that with a time when you didn’t. What part did the quality of your relationships at work play in your enjoyment of your working life? Resilient relationships result from i) knowing yourself well and being aware of the impact you have on others ii) reading others well and being aware of the impact they have on you and iii) adapting how you relate to others so the impact you have is the impact you want.
This resilience habit enables you to reconsider your reactions and really feel good about your learning. When things go wrong, or you make a mistake, you’re more likely to feel embarrassed or foolish, or to blame someone else, than to feel good about your learning. This habit helps you to change your perception of what happened. There is so much to learn from the process of routinely taking those moments and treating them as a surprise. Keeping a surprise journal is a deceptively simple, incredibly effective personal development practice.