Make 2021 the Year of Resilience in Your Organization
To say 2020 has been a hot mess is an understatement.
To say that 2020 is a year of focus, re-calibration, and immense opportunity are the words of a resilient leader. This is someone who is ready to embrace what comes at them, own their part, and determined to create a new kind of success.
“Our circumstances aren’t the reasons we can’t succeed. They are the circumstances in which we must succeed.”
The near future remains more uncertain than ever and chances are you and your team will be tried in new ways. Remember that last time you drove through dense fog where you barely see past your headlights. You slowed down, you get kept moving, you stayed alert, but gripped the wheel pretty tight.
White-knuckling it won’t get you through next year (or this one) in one piece.
Resilience is the mindset that will keep you progressing through the fog: to trust your headlights and the road, to keep moving, and to find the path as you travel it.
In 2018 my husband and I were told that our foster children would go live with their birth mother. We were weeks away from beginning adoption procedures (or so we thought) and had them for nearly 2 years, when she re-entered their lives. The best way I can describe it is this: our children died but they didn’t die.
After they left the grief was palpable in our home. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed and there were nights when I awoke 3 and 4 times, panic-stricken for their safety.
Almost every single day I got out of bed and continued to serve my clients and show up. I was shown a lot of grace (and no one called me out for the terrible bags under my eyes). There were days I pushed through and there were days that I clung my purpose of being a coach. Some days felt 48 hours long, but each day was still a new day which meant that forward progress was being made.
I know enough about how magical the Universe is and what God has in store for us to know that something is in the works that will bring children into our home through adoption. But damn did that situation hurt, and still does. And that situation gave me the strength to serve my clients even better as their worlds crumbled in 2020.
When we take the long view on our problems, the solution will reveal itself. Resilience is the secret superpower that gets us from this sucky day to a hopeful future, and to find the happiness and joy in between.
What is resilience?
Resilience is, according to the American Psychological Association, “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.” Resilient people still freak out from time to time but they also recognize when they need to take a deep breath, grab another cup of coffee, and get to work.
Think of when Inspector Gadget powers up. First he says, “Go, go gadget arms.” Some weird tool shoots from his arm, he does his thing and solves a problem, and then he goes back to the way he was before.
Resilient people power up as needed and then return to themselves. Because of this they can problem solve longer, make better decisions faster, and also power down for a good night’s sleep.
Leaders who are resilient are able to focus on what really matters in a time of crisis:
- Controlling the controllables
- Making a difference
- Developing better self-care tools to meet your needs now (more golf, another hot bath, less alcohol)
- Having integrity
- Connecting, in a deep way, with others; displaying empathy; and allowing others to help you
- Confidence that you’ll figure this out
What is not resilience?
We mistake strength and resilience for powering through at all costs, bearing too much responsibility and not asking for help. Denying basic human needs like proper nutrition, sleep, connection, and down time.
And we do it for noble purposes: if we take a day off then we’ll never catch up with all the work or won’t be able to fight that day’s fire. We say things like, “How can I think of myself in a time like this when so many people are losing their jobs?” Meanwhile your mind wanders off during meetings and you’re missing deadlines left and right because you’re so exhausted.
If you’re ending everyday with an adult beverage, crying unexpectedly, feeling enraged or numb, not having the energy for the day, these are signs that you’re approaching burn out and aren’t practicing your resilience skills.
2021 will be a year of growth for those that allow it happen
Growth comes when you allow the unnecessary to fall away. People who are powering through (and not powering up) will try to hold onto all the projects, all the resources, all the problems.
This pandemic and its economic fallout helped a client of mine really focus in on their finances and come to realize all the ways they were overspending, frankly, because they could. Get scrappy again.
New times call for new tools. If you haven’t already, join a peer group or get a coach to support you now. Create more space in your day by only prioritizing 3 tasks and letting the other stuff get done as there’s time—or not get done at all because it isn’t really important anymore.
Enhance the mental health supports offered to your team. This may be reminding them of your EAP service, making vacation days mandatory, giving them a massage gift certificate, or bringing in coaching to support their productivity.
Be ready to embrace this next year and resilience can be your superpower too! Onward!