Resilience – The Power of Bouncing Back

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the personal power that comes with being able to bounce back from adversity and set-backs, also known as resiliency. According to Wikipedia, resilience is known as a process rather than as a trait. Resilience can be developed and in fact a group of researchers (Grant, Curtayne, and Burton, 2009) have identified that coaching itself, as an intervention, creates resilience in individuals. This is due to the process of learning to overcome obstacles and perceived barriers to our growth and replacing them with solutions. Resilience is something coaching clients become masters at.

Last week I watched an interview on Oprah with Ingrid Betancourt, author of Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Columbian Jungle, and I was inspired not only by her ability to cope throughout her ordeal, but by her ability to bounce back once captured. There are many examples where the human spirit has masterfully captured this process. Another shining example of this level of resiliency is in Alice Herz Sommer, a 108 year old woman who is a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp whose words to live by are “I know about the bad but I focus on the good.”  If you haven’t seen it, click on this link to watch Alice’s very inspiring 12 minute video interview with Anthony Robbins. Talk about inspiring! While these two women and their life circumstances aren’t exactly everyday stories (fortunately), there is a great deal to learn from them which we can use in our everyday lives.

Through the reading I did for my research paper, I was so fascinated with the individual and the collective elements of psychological capital or PsyCap. Researchers Luthans, Youssef, and Avolio developed PsyCap in 2007, a combination of self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience. Although it is easy to see how each of these elements might influence the other, this post is focused on developing resilience so that we are able to bounce back quicker. The ability to bounce back from set-backs, put your head down and keep going even when faced with bad news or rejection, and focusing our mindset on what really matters is at the core of this post.

Often times when we set out to achieve a particular goal but are faced with multiple roadblocks, or when we receive feedback from others that isn’t what we were hoping for, or we are put in challenging situations that test our ability to survive let alone thrive, we may find it difficult to bounce back. Here are a few things that I do that might help you as well. I’ve tried to add things that are in addition to the other elements of PsyCap. Try all of them or any combination based on the circumstances involved and see what might work for you.  Finally, share what works for you and enables the process of bouncing back.

Growth - View every experience as a “learning” opportunity. Use the past to learn from, not to dwell on. Ask yourself what might I do differently next time to achieve an even better outcome?

Diversify – Advice from my Dad, don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Focus on multiple opportunities so that if Plan A doesn’t pan out, you have a fall back with Plan B or C…

Chunk down – Take an experience and pull it apart so you can look at it from multiple angles and break it down into smaller steps. Smaller steps may be exactly what you need to dive back in.

Change – Try to be open and flexible to change. Look for one small way in which you might become more open minded. The ability to bounce back is only enhanced by an openness to experience.

Gratitude – Find the good in the situation and give thanks for it. Sometimes this requires making comparisons. I didn’t get this but I did get this, this, and this and they will help me to do this, this, and this so that I can experience even more of this, this, and this.

Mindfulness – Whether you meditate, pray or prefer to sit in a quiet space to observe and reflect, mindfulness is a powerful way to ensure that we are deeply connected and living in the present. Action happens when we are living in the present.

Scale – When faced with difficult situations, it’s often helpful to scale their level of importance using a timeline. Keep things in perspective. How important will this be in a month from now, a year from now and 5 years from now?

Kindness  – It’s so easy to get caught up in the details of the moment, that sometimes we forget to celebrate. Be kind to yourself. Think of a time when you experienced success. Indulge in the moment. Celebrate that feeling knowing that it can happen again and again and again.

 Wishing you much success always,

Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

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