By Jamie Bialowitz
Published in Words on Wise
After watching my father-in-law deliver a harrowing speech reciting his escape from a Nazi death camp as a teenager—a story I had heard him retell countless times—I was awed at the standing ovation from the audience of nearly 1,000. There’s just something about the story of a hero who has overcome what seems to be the impossible that captures us. We wonder how someone who has endured so much can come out victorious, when at times even getting through a typical day is grueling.
Could it be the challenge or the gain that inspires us? Perhaps, but after years of leading teams and now consulting and coaching others who lead teams, I have another theory: It’s having the courage to accomplish something incredible! It’s about being able to look back after all we’ve been through to see a glowing victory.
The promise of that great accomplishment alone can’t always help us endure when the going gets rough and we’re emotionally exhausted. From observing and coaching strong, resilient individuals, I can discern the key behavioral practices that set them apart from their peers.
Instead of getting caught up in what’s outside of their control, they focus on the things they can influence. Make two columns with the headings “control” and “no control.” Write down everything relevant you can think of where it fits into one of the two. How often do you focus your attention on the things in the “no control” list? If most of your energy is spent there, you will be lessening your span of control. Hence, you will feel worn down, negative, and stressed.
Now, highlight anything listed in the “no control” column that you think you can nevertheless influence, even if you cannot control it. Focusing on what you can influence will make things feel less out of control, giving you a greater sense of control in return.
Resilient people focus their energy well and won’t let the negativity control it. It’s normal human behavior to focus on the negative. Start your meetings, conversations, or e-mails with a positive thought. Set a weekly reminder to send a thank-you note to someone or write down something great that happened that day. Most people want to realize a positive outcome, no matter how negative we are in the moment.
Find your purpose, and keep it in focus. It’s our legacy that will bring the most meaning to our lives. What is it you want to accomplish? What do you want people to remember about you? What unique talents do you have, and how will you use them to their fullest? If you don’t know your purpose or the legacy you want to leave behind, there will be times when you won’t be able to see the “forest for the trees.” Therefore, you will get distracted with the mundane and lose sight of what’s really important.
Health and wellness are far more than exercise and eating right. Take time for activities that invest in you. Remember that you are your own advocate and that you need to make time to invest in things that help promote that. Write down your goals, and keep them in your line of sight daily. Create a vision board with pictures next to the activities or goals you have set as a nice visual to remind you where you’re heading.
Attend a networking event, learn or develop a new skill, or take a six-second pause a few times a day with deep breathing to reenergize.
No matter the role you serve at work or home, your regular focus on these four behaviors can increase your ability to overcome when you find yourself in the plummet of that roller coaster we call life. Find your victory!