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By Susan Cain, Ed.D. The Corporate Learning Institute

Developing the resilience to rebound and even “bounce back” from setbacks or discouraging events at work is a critical ability. This two-minute read will help you with becoming resilient and build and sustain your creative best.

It will change your ability to:

  • Stay calm in the moment and rebound quickly from setbacks.
  • Eliminate the destructive effects of self-talk.
  • Learn the mental toughness strategies taken from the world of sports psychology.
  • Choose their attitude and develop coping strategies for staying motivated.
  • Modify the peaks and valleys performance cycles which destroy self-worth and motivation.
  • Leverage the value of “the slump” and setback learning and apply them to rebound gains.

What we know about optimizing performance at work is that each of us develops our own mental process for building resilience.

 Think about this…

[blockquote cite=”Jim Fannin, author and sports coach” type=”left”]One thing is for sure. When things go wrong you will change.  You will not remain the same.  You will react and either become better or worse. Most of our reactions are based on how we were taught. Even though the lesson is by no means formal, acting angry, shocked, or mad when adversity arrives is a learned behavior. How did your parents react when they learned their investments went sour? How did each parent react when the other parent spewed unexpected negativity? How did they react when you brought home bad grades? You learned what to do or NOT to do when things go wrong.[/blockquote]

Assess Yourself – Check your attitude
  • When you were a child and did not get your way, did you pout?

We all did at some time in our lives. How your parents, friends or other family members reacted to your reaction slowly cemented who you would become when negativity strikes. The important thing to know is your reaction is your choice not a DNA trait.

  • What options do you have when you encounter a setback in your work?
Learning to Bounce Back

In our work lives, there will be success and failure.  Building resilience is important to recover from setbacks. Researchers have found that successful people and organizations do not have more luck, they simply learn to leverage the luck that they get.

In his book Great by Choice, Jim Collins found that organizations that focused on maximizing opportunities provided through a lucky break were performance champions. As a creative contributor, think about how you can leverage difficult situations at work to create more luck.

One piece of luck you have been given is the gift of creative talent. How will you leverage this luck? One way is to leverage your luck is to learn to bounce back from adversity at work like an athlete or performer stages a comeback.

 The bounce back rules – three simple steps to ensure that your creativity gets used:

  1. Choose to be a performance champion
  2. Adopt a positive mindset
  3. Fail, bounce back, fail, bounce back!
 How can you get out of despair or slump?

Athletes get into mental slumps all the time. Remember to use positive self-talk, and take the action you need to get going. Three keys to getting out are to do something, do more, and keep doing it!

When you feel like you are in despair or in a slump, be kind to yourself.  Slow down, breathe, take a quick break, relax. Now clear your mind.

How can you use the information that got you into your slump to build or rebuild your ideas or position?

 Getting out of a slump and becoming resilient
  1. Visualize your best self at work – This technique can dramatically improve your results in sports, public speaking, performing arts, and anything else that involves practice. Imagine work going well, and expect and anticipate it as a positive event.
  2. Mental rehearsal – Go over the situations at work in your mind. Consider your main ideas and the alternative ideas you are entering with. This conditions your subconscious into expecting what is happening and anticipating what happens next.
  3. Relax – Instead of entering a challenging situation in a tense manner, a relaxed approach allows for better thinking and processing. Breathe slowly. Slow your pulse rate down.
  4. Focus – Train your conscious mind to focus on right now, in the moment. This is an effective way of clearing the mind. Block the past and future out. Focus on the now.
  5. Positive Affirmation – Be positive and self-encouraging. Remember to use positive self-talk on an on-going basis. Repeat your personal vision statement out loud. Jim Fannin also suggests whispering, “I believe in me” before important events and meetings.
 Rebounding when things go wrong

Sports coach Jim Fannin suggests the following:

Try this step-by-step process when things go wrong. Within 90-seconds of a negative surprise, do the following:

  1. Immediately clear your mind of disbelief, anger, blame, confusion, or even shock. Think nothing and have little or no reaction for a few seconds.
  2. While clearing your mind, lift your head and simultaneously lower your breathing to 6-8 breaths per minute.
  3. As you lower your breathing, smile unless it’s politically incorrect.  This will send endorphins into your bloodstream.  Instantly, you’ll feel a little better.
  4. After you’re somewhat calm, turn off your rationale.  Stay out of the past. Avoid multiple replays of something you cannot control or change. Allow your intuition to govern. Listen to your gut.
  5. Now, focus your energy on a solution. Seek all available options. Focus on the simple one. See the solution in your mind’s eye.
  6. Collect your available energy and send it away from you toward your first positive move or next step.
  7. If you still aren’t sure what to do, then do nothing. If time permits ask questions if it’s appropriate.  This allows you time to gather information so a rational decision can eventually be made.
  8. Talk less. Maybe, don’t talk at all.  Listen.  Understand.
  9. Cope.  Accept the new cards you’ve been dealt. Meet the challenge of the new circumstances set of conditions and situation.
  10. Move on.  Next!

Building resilience at work is important. remember that everyone experiences setbacks, and that building resilience is possible and not as difficult as you may imagine. This blog has reviewed the steps needed for building resilience and maintaining a consistent performance.

CLI provides coaching, training, and strategic planning services to help your business grow. Our expert, research-based design and facilitation skills will help develop more effective individual contributors, leaders, managers and supervisors, or strengthen teams and collaborative groups. We bring in the best content expertise and blend it with your culture and specific needs.

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