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15 May

Five ways to becoming more invulnerable

Datum: 2013-05-15 14:55

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.