Clarity, foresight, and knowing when we can move about the cabin again, is what we all crave in this COVID-19 world. With all the doubt in our minds and worry in our hearts, it is no wonder we’re feeling a bit out of control. Having a resilient mindset is key to coping with uncertainty.
I’ve heard it said many times during this pandemic that “we’re all in this together.” Recently I read the perfect response to that statement. “Yes, but we’re not all in the same boat.” Everyone’s situation is a little bit—or a lot—different than their neighbor’s. What matters most is how we recover from adverse circumstances.
The ability to bounce back after devastating losses will make the difference between a triumphant reemergence and a disappointing failure. That’s evidence of resiliency.
But, you can’t acquire this skill without work and experience. And, picking up the pieces when everything seems to have fallen apart isn’t easy. Furthermore, not everyone may recognize that they have this tool in their treasure chest. So what next?
Now you can practice several simple techniques to help you build a resilient mindset so you can rebound and do it bigger and better than before.
Characteristics of Resilience
Before we get to those simple techniques, let’s explore what we’re practicing to build. What does resilience look like?
Noted psychologist, Susan Kobasa, suggests there are three main categories under which resilience characteristics can fall. Challenge. Commitment. Control. Here’s how I see them play out.
Challenge—Those with a resilient mindset typically see adversity differently; they see it as a challenge. Rather than stopping them in their tracks, they look for new solutions to address the problem. They can step aside and look at their situation as an objective observer. This perspective allows them to see the lessons from the mistakes and failures and to shift their approach to get a better result next time. And, another thing about resilient people, they don’t linger in victimhood.
Commitment—First, it’s a commitment to what’s most important. Resilient people are committed to and take guidance from their core values and beliefs, so they can make decisions that honor them. Then, the commitment starts at home—with building self-confidence, humility, and grace. From there, you’re likely to see their involvement in life, business, relationships, friendships, and community to mirror how they treat themselves.
Control—Of course, this means personal control because we all know there are a lot of things we can’t control in life. The wise, resilient ones among us are most likely to accept that fact and focus on the things they can control. When you spend your energy on matters you can do something about, you feel empowered and satisfied that you’re moving forward and making progress.
Now that we know what we’re shooting for, let’s explore what it takes to develop a resilient mindset.
10 Simple Techniques to Build a Resilient Mindset
As you read through this list, you may notice how these ideas build on each other. If you incorporate one, you’ll serve yourself well. However, when you add another practice—and another—and another—your resilience will grow, and you will become sturdier. Furthermore, you will find yourself bouncing back quicker than before.
1—Take Care of Yourself: Your ability to cope when things are not going as planned, is directly related to how well you treat yourself. The usual suspects are on this list: rest, nourishment, self-compassion, and me-time.
2—Mind Your Mind: Rehash, ruminate, rinse, and repeat. Not good. Find positive ways to turn the chatter into self-talk that empowers you rather than keeps you feeling like a victim. Remember that resilient people don’t play that role.
3—Change the Way You Look at Things: Sometimes, it takes just a two-millimeter shift in how you see something. To make that pivot, ask yourself some questions such as, “What if it was my idea? What would I do then?” Or, “What would I say to my best friend in this situation?” Being able to change your perspective makes a huge difference in your ability to discover new solutions.
4—And the Lesson Is: Perspective also helps you to step back and see what you learned from the circumstances you faced. It may not have turned out well. You might have considered it a failure. Here’s the treasure: when you look back without judgment and seek the oyster with the pearl in it, you will have another tool to use the next time. That means you get to do it better.
5—Tap into Your Reserves: If you’ve lived a minute-and-a-half on this earth, you’ve probably accumulated some reserves. By this I mean, you have knowledge, experience, and skills to do things well. Think about all those things and make a list. The more items on your list, the more reserves you have. Acknowledging that you have these deep wells of support will empower you and help build your resilience. You merely have to tap into them.
6—Create Your Cloaks: Many of my clients like this metaphor as we talk about building a resilient mindset. Imagine each one of your experiences that make up your reserves is a beautiful square of fabric or tapestry. As you think about what you need help with right now, what are the experiences you can draw upon to make you feel better?
Let’s say your self-confidence has taken a hike. Pick out all those squares of fabric from times when your confidence soared. Now, imagine that you’ve sewn them together into something you can wear. I call it my Cloak. In this case, it’s a Confidence Cloak. From now on—when you need a little shot of self-confidence—put on your imaginary cloak. Feel what it felt like when you were confident in the past. Bring that feeling into the present moment and move forward from here.
You may create cloaks for many occasions. The ones I use the most are confidence, patience, and grace. Who doesn’t need a little self-confidence every once in a while? I wore my patience cloak over the weekend, dealing with family. And, I need my grace cloak whenever I need to remind myself about acceptance, humility, and love.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Restore Confidence When You’ve Let Yourself Down
7—Crystalize Your Vision: Resilient people can bounce back quickly because they know where they are heading. Their vision is clear, and it is the beacon on the lighthouse that guides them back on track after being turned upside down. When you clarify your vision, it will serve as your GPS and put you right back on track.
8—Face Fears Squarely: A friend of mine says, “When I’m feeling the most fear, I know in my heart I’m about to do something massive!” So, what does she do? She goes for it. She is one of the most resilient women I know.
Fears and limiting beliefs are two culprits that keep you stuck where you are. They can hold you hostage in that “someday” mentality. If that’s not where you want to play, examining where the fears and beliefs come from is a valuable exercise. Learning how to make them work for you is the ticket to the A train.
9—Small Steps: I am blessed to know many resilient people. I consider myself one of them. The truth is, none of us got this way by flipping a switch or jumping the line. It was a conscious choice to take baby steps. And, you get to create a resilient mindset by practicing techniques such as those on this list one small step at a time.
10—Gone Are the Days of the Lone Wolf: One of my favorite things about feeling resilient is that I know I don’t have to be that alone. Accessing your network of support when you need help because you got knocked down is critical. Doing life alone is hard. Tackling it together is easier. Tap into your most trusted resources and lean on them—your resilience gets a boost.
Notice how many of these ten approaches are already a part of your living and being. Then, if you still feel as if you’re not bouncing back the way you’d like, weave in a few more techniques. Creating resilience is like weaving a tapestry or building a muscle. It takes time.
And, ultimately, it takes courage to admit you’ve got work to do, a commitment to yourself to take the first step, and a map to follow. I hope these techniques give you a great starting point.
If you would like to download a handy reminder of these 10 techniques to help you build a resilient mindset, click here for a free PDF version.
A First Step
If you are facing adversity and living with uncertainty about how to move beyond it, you may wonder if it’s even possible. Making choices that move you forward can be hard, and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Start by exploring how change can impact you? And learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace by reading my free ebook, then let’s have a chat. Click here to take the first step: From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.
This is an excellent piece of writing on how to deal with “these times that try men’s souls”. So insightful…
Beth … I’m happy it hit home for you. Thank you for sharing your comment. ~Maria