Leadership is a journey.
Sometimes the road is smooth, but often times the path can prove tough.
Difficulties, obstacles, pain, or struggle will eventually come your way. Perhaps you have faced some kind of adversity. Perhaps you are facing it right now. Question is, will you allow it to overwhelm you or be resilient in the face of it?
Great leaders are resilient. They have a strong emotional fortitude and maintain a quiet confidence in the future. Great leaders press on. They don’t hope things will get better. They decide to make it better. They make it happen.
To do those things, you have to constantly grow into a more resilient person.
Here are 4 practices to help you become more resilient in the face of adversity.
Respond rather than React.
Often I see leaders react emotionally to an issue instead of responding maturely. I even heard one leader say adversity can put him on the “crazy train.” Staying emotionally calm improves your ability to be resilient regardless of what is happening. When dealing with difficult or complex issues, your first step is to find emotional balance. Far too many leaders have a blind-spot of emotional over-reactions.
Repeat this to yourself: “I will not be an emotional roller coaster.” Go ahead...you can say it as many times as necessary. Your team needs you to be balanced. Your family needs you to be stable. You need you to be at peace. This is not about shutting feelings down, rather about being bigger than your feelings. Resilient leaders have a grip on their emotions rather than emotions having a grip on them.
Develop some grit.
“Grit" is that inner toughness needed when facing obstacles. The decision to lead is the invitation of adversity. In those moments we tap into our grit. Tough people always outlast tough circumstances. Tough terrain molds tough people.
How do you develop more grit? By increasing your commitment level. There is a difference between "I kinda want this" and "nothing can stop this." If the task was easy, anyone would do it. The task is tough, but you can be tough too. Do not quit. Do not buckle. Step up, toughen up and face this moment with grit.
Form a plan, fine-tune the plan and follow the plan.
One thing that keeps you in reaction mode too long is the absence of a plan. When faced with a challenging issue or project train yourself to slow down enough to create a plan. You will have to adjust along the way, but follow your plan. Resilient people are often people who are calmly following a wise plan.
I realize some situations require quick action. Planning does not negate speed. That is a common misconception. Especially in adverse moments, you need to plan just your first few steps. Do not wait until you have 90% of a plan formed, that is too late. Plans should be an incremental, step by step, easy to start and easy to adjust. The enormity of the task ahead of you can be paralyzing…so just take the first step…do the next right thing. Kick-start resiliency in your life and leadership by taking action on a plan.
Take one step at a time.
You can't do everything at once, but you can do one thing at once. Complexities can overwhelm to the point of the paralysis. The way to break out of this is to take one step. One step is the difference between being stuck or making progress. Taking one step is the difference between being either fragile or resilient.
I like the saying, "It’s a big elephant, so I’m gonna eat it one bite at a time." You don’t lose 40 pounds one day, you lose 1 pound over 40 days in a row. A person overcoming an addiction doesn't need to focus on fighting this war everyday for the rest of their life, they need to focus on the battle they fight today. A leader does not build a high-level team overnight, greatness demands time.
Adversity wants to diminish the impact of your life and leadership. You need to become more and more resilient. Implement these concepts into your life to see your resiliency begin to soar.