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Seven Habits of Highly Resilient People


Here’s a confession from me...


Over 2500 people in 13 countries have attended my personal resilience workshops and so I am expected to be a resilience guru and also to be fabulously resilient myself. Oh boy! If only that was all true! I do know a lot about resilience, but there are certainly times when I would like to be more resilient.

I have found that being resilient is a combination of knowing what to do and then being disciplined to do that – consistently!

I try every day to follow these seven habits of highly resilient people:

1. Create meaning in your life

“Life has meaning only if it one barters it day by day for something other than itself” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When things get really tough, you need meaning in your life. Meaning comes from three areas of significance: people, causes and your purpose in life. The stronger your connection is in these areas, the greater your ability to weather the storms of life. Actions to take? Make time in your busy schedule for the people and things that are really important to you.

2. Keep what happens in perspective

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it” Mary Engelbreit.

Stuff happens! It’s actually seldom about you, so get over it. You can’t change what has happened. But you have the power to make it worse or better by how you think about it. Your thoughts are simply constructs you use to make sense of the world. They are not even necessarily true.

Actions to take? Allow your thoughts to wash over you. Don’t hold on to them, but rather allow them to float off. Ask yourself the three transformational to questions which will help you move forward:

  • How can I accept and come to terms with what has happened?

  • What can I learn from it?

  • Is there an opportunity to move forward?


3. Use your strengths

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” – Henry Ford.

You have no doubt got through really bad stuff in your past. You got through it by using your personal strengths. Use these powerful gifts to get through your present difficulties.

Actions to take? Know your strengths. If you need help, take this free quiz (click here). Plan how to use them to cope with your present difficulties. Caution: Don’t discount your strengths if they don’t feel special. Ask your best friends if they would like to have your strengths, and you will be surprised by how they admire them in you.

4. Find joy and happiness

“What a wonderful life I’ve had. I only wish I’d realized it sooner” - Sidonie Gabrielle Colette.

“Bouncing back” from real difficulties is not a matter of just gritting your teeth to get through it. It’s made a lot easier through positive feelings! Positive feelings improve your mood, enhance problem solving and best of all, enable recovery.

Actions to take? Focus daily on what you are deeply grateful for. Also, find three good things that have happened in the last 24 hours. Then remind yourself that, in the middle of the bad things, these good things are also happening.

5. Tell yourself up-beat stories about yourself

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it” – Helen Keller

The story you tell yourself about your past life, creates your life today. You explain yourself with a happy story or an unhappy story about what’s happening in your life, and that story becomes your life.

Actions to take? Tell yourself optimistic stories about your life. Interpret bad things in your life optimistically, saying they won’t affect everything and also that they won’t last forever.

6. Build strong support systems

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow” – Swedish proverb

Other people are important when you are doing it tough. Build strong support systems to get and also give help to deal with adversity.

Actions to take? Reach out early to give help to others who are struggling. The more you give help, the more you will find your coping and resilience will grow. Often however people say it’s hard to reach out early to ask for help for themselves. So don’t fall into this trap, but rather ask for help early on.

7. Take small steps

“If you are going through hell, keep going” - Winston Churchill

Adversity destroys the picture we had of some desirable future. In order to cope with unwelcome change, you need to take steps to come to terms with the changed situation and navigate a different future. If big steps feel daunting, take small steps. A few small steps will anyway become big steps, and added up, they will change your future.

Actions to take? Let go of your unhappy past. Where appropriate, forgive in order to let go and move on. Ask yourself what small step you can take right now to move towards a better future. Try to behave like the person you would like to be.

Adopting these seven habits of resilient people works for me – which ones work best for you?

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking having problems is a problem” - Theodore Rubin


Author

Rod Warner (General Manager Change and Transformation)


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