A word that’s been on my mind this week is resilience. If you read my blog last week, you’ll remember the story about playing the ball where it lands. It’s not about where the ball drops, it’s about how we play it. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilience is often confused with grit. In his article, Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure, Shawn Achor talks about three things that are necessary for resilience: try really hard, stop trying and recover, and then try again.
The stopping, recovering and trying again are important ingredients for increasing our resilience. If we want to be in the high performance zone, we have to spend time in the recovery zone in order to get back into high performance or we end up in the burnout zone. (If you’d like to know more about the zones of performance, ask me!)
Build Resilience at Work
There are two ways to recover in order to build resilience at work. Internal recovery refers to the shorter periods of relaxation you take during the workday. This might look like taking scheduled or unscheduled breaks. Another way might be shifting attention or changing to other work tasks when you are mentally or physically exhausted from your current task. External recovery refers to actions that take place outside of work—e.g. in the free time between the workdays, and during weekends, holidays or vacations.
The next time you are working on something and feel yourself getting restless or frustrated or even angry, stop. Distract yourself and walk away, take a break, grab a cup of coffee with a co-worker, and then return to the task later. You will bring some fresh energy and perspective. You may discover new insights or a-ha’s! You are building resilience and that’s exciting.