A friend reached out to me recently to inquire about my coaching services. She was fired from her job and wanted to know how to regroup and move forward.
Our conversation led me to think about resilience.
We all face obstacles. Divorce. Job loss. Trauma. Illness. Being passed over for promotion. Failing a test. Death of a loved one.
If you’re a person of faith, there are many verses in the Bible and religious hymns that refer to having faith during difficult times, that we were not promised only good times and success, skies always blue, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But in the face of difficulty, you can feel powerless, and stuck.
While some events are painful and arduous, they don’t determine the outcome of your life.
You control your self-care, attitude, and thoughts
You can control many outcomes, including your self-care, your attitude, and your thoughts. Being resilient during difficult times not only helps you through those challenging moments, it empowers you to overcome adversity, grow, and improve your life along the way.
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or stress. It’s bouncing back from difficult experiences, and it can lead to tremendous personal growth.
Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop.
Building resilience takes time and intentional action.
How can you build your resilience and move forward after a crisis?
Three core components can empower you to withstand and learn from traumatic experiences: wellness, connection, and thinking.
- Get good nutrition, adequate sleep, hydration, and regular exercise. These things seem simple but can be easily overlooked. They strengthen your body and mind and reduce the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression.
- Practice mindfulness and stress reduction through yoga, journaling, prayer, or meditation while focusing on positive aspects of your life and the things you’re grateful for.
- Treat yourself with compassion and caring. This promotes positive mental health and lower levels of anxiety and depression. Self-compassion is positively correlated with happiness, optimism, wisdom, and emotional intelligence, and it’s a building block of resilience.
- Connect with empathetic and understanding people who remind you that you’re not alone. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who listen and validate your feelings.
- Join and mingle rather than isolate, by being active in civic or professional groups, faith communities, or other organizations that provide social support.
- Help others by volunteering.
- Break down your challenge into manageable pieces. You may not be able to convince your boss to hire you back, but you can spend one hour a day developing your resume and reaching out to connect with your colleagues.
- Examine your thinking. Acknowledge and accept your emotions during hard times but also examine your thinking and beliefs. Do you think you have desirable skills that would benefit an employer? Are you up to date on the latest technology in your industry? What is the goal you really, really want, and what’s standing in the way of achieving that?
- Be proactive. Ask yourself, “what’s one thing I can accomplish today that moves me in the direction of where I want to go?” For example, if you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, you could research nearby grief support groups.
- Embrace positive thoughts. How you think and what you believe plays a significant role in how resilient you are and what you can achieve. You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you respond to and think about it.
- Pay attention to your mood. Notice your mood and how it’s influenced by people, events, and things around you. Is your mood lifted by physical exercise, hugging your partner, or petting your dog? Daily journaling in as little as two minutes a day can help you track your mood and build your self-awareness.
- Get help when you need it. Outside help can be crucial in building your resilience. For some people, using their own resources and the strategies above may be enough to build their resilience. But at times, an individual might get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to resilience.
You don’t need to face difficulty alone
The important thing to remember is that, like my friend, you’re not alone on your journey. There are people you can turn to for help, like a minister or counselor, and app-based counseling services available 24/7.
While you may not be able to control all your circumstances, you can grow by focusing on your thinking and the challenges you can manage with the support of loved ones and trusted professionals. With the right tools and supports in place, you can weather whatever storm you’re facing and emerge stronger and more confident.
How does resilience relate to your role as a nonprofit leader?
You’ve faced personal crises. So have your employees. In fact, you may be going through a crisis right now.
You build your skills as a nonprofit leader by having the right mindset and increasing your resilience during challenging times, and by helping your employees do the same. The crisis you face doesn’t control your outcome.