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15 May

Five ways to becoming more invulnerable


Date: 2013-05-15 14:55 Comments: 0 st

As I was working in the garden a few days ago I turned a stone, and under it a colony of ants had made their home. As I lifted the stone, frantic activity amongst the ants erupted.

A few days later I lifted the stone again but this time there wasn’t an ant in sight. The aisles and infrastructure the ants had built was there, but the ants themselves had vanished.

They had been surprised by something threatening (me) and simply left everything at once. And by now they have probably built a new home somewhere else in my garden.

It is my guess that not even one ant had to sacrifice itself in the tumultuous change it must have meant to close their entire community down and rebuild it elsewhere.

To me this is a sign of an impressing ability to adapt and survive.

Or in another word, resilience.

Regaining strength and direction

Resilience is the ability to recover from stressful and difficult situations or events. We have a high resilience if we are able to quickly regain our composure and get up to speed again after experiencing something unforeseen that hindered our progress.

In the lives most of us lead, more often than not things do not turn out as we had planned or intended them to. We have an idea of what we need to accomplish during the day, month or year ahead of us, but then something unexpected occurs that sets us out of balance or throws us off course. We receive a phone-call regarding an emergency that needs to be prioritized before anything else. We lose a contract with a potential client that would have meant a lot to our business if we had closed the deal. We fail at doing something we thought we would do effortlessly.

When things do not turn out as we had in mind, it is easy to feel as a victim of circumstances. What happened was beyond our control and perhaps it even results in that we give up completely, for ever or at least for a while. But we will not be here forever and if we are to waste time giving up every time something unforeseen happens, our ability to act and progress towards our vision diminishes, both our own ability and that of the business we are operating in.

Sure, life is an exciting journey in itself and we should not live only for what might be awaiting us at the end of the road, once we have reached the goal, but surely the journey to attaining our goals becomes much more enjoyable if we experience that it is full of opportunities rather than obstacles?

The one (person or organization) that has a high resilience will reach to where he, or it, wants to go easier, since he gets back on his feet faster after a defeat.

That is why you should do something concrete to raise your own and your business’ resilience.

Do this

Decide on one thing you can start doing today to gradually increase and strengthen your resilience in your work.

Here are five examples:

  1. Make your goals even clearer and more present to yourself
    • When you focus more on your goals than on the means by which you first thought you would attain the goals, it will become easier to find alternative ways to reach the goals when you encounter obstacles.
    • If you formulate the goals concretely, it will be easier to think of things you can do to achieve them.
    • Write your goals on a note and place it where you will catch a glance of it while working.
    • Create a computer desktop background out of them.
    • Create a document containing an image or visual representation of the goals and save it on your computer desktop so that it is easy to find and open when you need to remind yourself of them.
    • Decide on a specific time every week or a particular situation in your everyday life (which might occur at irregular intervals) when you make a point of reminding yourself of the goals.

  2. Make it easy to find someone to ask for advice when in doubt

    • If you use Twitter and Facebook, try right away to post a question which you want the answer to (even if you do not need it immediately) and be amazed over how helpful your contacts really are.
    • When you have met with someone for lunch or in a meeting and you spoke about something interesting, write a few key-words on the person’s contact card in your contact database (for instance in Outlook) describing what you spoke about, experiences the other person shared and anything else you know he or she has knowledge of or is good at.
    • Whenever you need help, search your contact database using key-words describing your problem and perhaps you will now find people who know something about it, have been in the situation before, or who you have discussed the matter with at a previous occasion.

  3. Give yourself perspective

    • Find a biography of a person you are fascinated with and put it next on your reading-list. Biographies are extraordinary banks of knowledge and reading about how others have dealt with similar difficulties as you are experiencing will give you perspective on your own situation and helps you see new angels and opportunities. 

  4. Reinforce your structure and order

    • If you are structured and organized just before the chose hits, it will be much easier to restore the order and you will be able to determine what the right thing to do at the right time is a whole lot faster. But if your life is chaotic to begin with, it will be much more difficult to actually create anything but chaos (since there is no order to restore).
    • Hence, read the Structure Blog carefully. Search Amazon using key-words such as “productivity” and choose a book that attracts you. Many wise things have been written about structure and efficiency as a golden combination.

  5. Make it easy to continue quickly rather than stopping when you run into obstacles

    • Find a way to remind yourself to just move on and search for alternative paths as soon as something unfortunate occurs.
    • Having the following quote by Winston Churchill pasted on my office wall has helped me countless times: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”.
    • Agree with a friend that you can call him or her when you need to be told “Don’t whine and worry, just get going. You cannot undo what has been done, just start again.”
    • I met a salesman a few days ago who when feeling weighed down by adversities, listened to recordings of himself speaking to a customer and being in a “sales-flow”. It made him regain hope and get back up to speed again.
    • Or, find some other unique was of reminder yourself of what truly inspires you.

Find the shortcut

If you systematically do things which increase your own and your business’ resilience, it will be easier to power through in spite of the difficulties and adversities you encounter. You will find a way around the obstacle and not be let down as often as you used to. Your business becomes less vulnerable since you get back on your feet faster when things do not go your way.

No one is exempt from difficulties. Let’s just face them and move on swiftly.

How have you become more resilient?

What is your best tip of rising after you fall, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes? Write a comment to share your experiences.

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