What Can I Do Differently to Change the Situation?
Sailing with Greater Resilience through Life’s Challenges
Taking ownership of our behavior and becoming more resilient requires us
to recognize that we are the authors of our lives.
-Robert Brooks, PhD and Sam Goldstein, PhD (2004)
Life throws us lots of challenges. Given the choice, many of us prefer smoother sailing during life’s tough times.
In my seminars at workplaces and other organizations, recent topics include integrating life-work balance, navigating life with meaning and resilience, basic leadership skills, collaborative problem solving, and coping with organizational change. There are many tactics to navigate personal and professional challenges.
Here are a few ideas for sailing with greater resilience:
1 – Seeing the Big Picture. How much will this in matter a month, a year, or ten years? A broadened, balanced perspective can offer a more holistic viewpoint for developing creative, practical, and resilient solutions. When we feel overwhelmed, stressed, vulnerable, we may lose perspective. Engaging the wisdom within and attuning to what’s really important can clarify priorities.
2 – Developing the capacity to tolerate ambiguity. There are frequently multiple ways to solve problems. Most situations are not black or white, but evolve on a continuum. Honing the ability to embrace uncertainty recognizes the gray areas of life’s flow. Tolerating ambiguity involves opening to, recognizing, and respecting the beliefs and practices of others. The optimal course is not always readily apparent at first glance. Staying the course during uncertain, ambiguous situations and emotions helps to refrain from rushing into premature conclusions and actions.
3 – Really knowing that other people matter. As we navigate conflicts and challenges, awareness of the significance of relationships offers a guiding light toward more mindful choices about what we say and how we say it. Christopher Peterson (2006), a founder of Positive Psychology, is known for emphasizing that other people matter. Maintaining and building positive connections is a meaningful lens for informing relationships and piloting challenging situations.
4 – Using effective listening skills with the intent to understand. In challenging situations, it is often helpful to listen more than we talk; to listen with the intent to understand the other person’s perspective, and to think about what we want to say before we speak.
5 – Taking at least one mindful breath to create a pause before responding. A conscious breath can help you slow down (Gonzalez, 2012). One or several breaths can create the difference between an automatic, visceral response and an intuitive response.
Although we cannot stop the storms of life and at work,
maybe we can ride the waves with more resilience.
- Brooks, Robert & Goldstein, Sam (2004). The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life. McGraw-Hill, NY.
- Gonzalez, Maria (2012). Mindful Leadership: The 9 Ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself, and Inspiring Others. John Wiley & Sons, Ontario.
- Peterson, Chris (2006). A Primer in Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press, NY.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – MBSR
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In light and empowerment,
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