How to be Resilient in these Unprecedented times!

We are the toughest species on Earth
We survived when earth trembled
We survived when disease broke boundaries and spread mercilessly
We survived the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
We survived when the coast was tormented by Tsunami
The picture was never perfect –
for
We resisted but in due course relented too
We turned rigid, almost gave up but found life when we flexed and changed with time.

Evidence shows that we not only survived but thrived as we built pillars of Resilience and Adaptation around the event.

What is Resilience and why is it important?

Resilience is a way of thinking. It is not a fixed trait that is ‘hard wired’ into us.
Some people incorrectly believe that resilience is something that a person is born with. However, whilst life experiences may shape our levels of resilience, with focused effort it can also be learned and developed.
In these unprecedented times, we need to learn to intensify our Resilience trait a lot. Why?
The world is changing exponentially, the velocity of change has created an unfathomable V.U.C.A. world for all of us. V.U.CA. stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity in the transactional world.
And each word describes the unpredictable times we are in. Business profit lines have thinned to fade away. Children have extended holidays and no curriculum to follow. Exams have deferred, marriages cancelled and worse, when an old aunt is cremated by neighbours and no one in the family could reach her in time.
On the other hand, nature is thriving in all of this. Nothing has stopped its growth. Birds fill the air with wonderful vocals, animals are reclaiming their space in sea and land, skies are clear. Nature has rejuvenated itself.

Growth is ceaseless, seamless and moves against gravity. Humans too have to toe the line. Come what may, when faced with a mountain, either walk around it, cross it or if need be, tunnel through it. The movement is mandatory, the free flow of energy is natural. Anything reverse means – Adieu Zindagi.
What ever happens never give up! Be bigger than your problem. Be flexible in your approach. A mind “set” while solving problems is already a defeated proposition since it will define the ceiling to your solution search. Uncork your mind to explore unknown pathways. To find solution, one needs to go out of the comfort zone, or in short find “out of the box” solution.
It’s a hard fact: If a person has only one option to choose in life, that stage is called “Being Stuck.” But if one has choices to opt from, this is freedom – true internal freedom of being resourceful.
How do we power up the Resilience trait within us?
Here are the 8 pronged path to become resilient in the upcoming times.

Self belief

Every lock has a key. Believe in your self that there is a solution to every challenge and that you are capable enough to weave out of the situation.

Prime your brain

Brain needs instructions to work upon. The thoughts you feed the brain with give the directional force to the brain. So, affirmations, definitions and revisiting the belief systems help in priming the brain.

Optimism

To watch a garden full of weeds and expecting flowers to blossom is not the definition of optimism. An individual needs to plant the right thoughts in the mind that will take the person towards a solution mindset. If surrounded by negativity, the individual cannot lead the victory march.

Map your territory

Know your strengths and limitations and work on options that can be achieved while up-skilling to upscale. The more you know about yourself, the faster you can flex with inner calmness.

Seek support

We all need coaches and mentors as we move through different stages of life. Reach out for help without any inhibition and deal deftly with the Post Covid situation. Seek support to empower yourself, so that when time demands you can extend your support too.

Network for Net worth

The more you are are known in your network, the more people are likely to recommend your product or services and even you.
Stay in people’s mind with good work and words.

Communicate, Listen, Read, Repeat

The more you communicate with the right people about the issues in hand, the better you will be able to get cognisant of the new situation. Listen to what people need. Read to be updated and then, continue doing these cycles.

Ruminate your plans well

80% planning and 20% execution… Plan your self well to be able to win a situation with less failures.

We are, at this very moment, living in an era, a history, that is a reality for each one of us. There are two options to choose from. To be a History maker or be a History reader. Makers choose while readers follow.

The romance of a New Normal is about to begin. Stay committed!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shilpi Khandelwal 
Being spiritually intelligent is the only answer to overcome the V.U.C.A. world. And it’s the same guidance Shilpi reinvents herself to stay at par with the industry needs. Shilpi has a training experience of over 15 years across diverse industries.

She is an NLP coach, a PPA assessor and EQ practitioner from Thomas International. She also holds an Executive coaching certificate from Franklin Covey. She initiated her training company, TOUR DE FORCE, which means masterly feat, in 2010. Her company has done 15000 hours of classroom training and 350+ outbound Trainings. Tour de Force is a compassionate Training company and everything around it is for a reason other than business. Her interest in Design Thinking made her hit the books and she certified as a practitioner from QGlue. She was an active participant in Nasscom’s Design4India Summit. Being an entrepreneur herself, she would like to train the startups and introduce this concept before they spend millions in launching a product and bleed their scarce resources in failure.

Leveraging the “Power of Conversations” in the times of COVID Crisis

Change begins with a single conversation.

Conversations are the lifeline to how we get things done in most settings. If you learn to have conversations that are appreciative and inquiry-based, it will strengthen relationships; move you towards positive outcomes in your families, teams, and organization; and promote situations where you can flourish! 

For the last 25 years, I have been studying and practicing the impact of asking questions using AI (no – it’s not artificial intelligence). The AI I am referring to, is Appreciative Inquiry. Something that is easily learnt and powerful when mastered. The power of AI comes from learning to ask questions (inquiry) that add value to others (appreciative), deepen understanding, make room for other perspectives, and inspire new knowledge. The heart of AI is asking life-giving questions. AI is about discovering what gives life to the system, and purposefully looks for what is true, good and possible.

Currently, in my organization, I am serving on a Safety Committee to make recommendations on how to safely re-open a university campus that was closed abruptly as a result of Covid-19. As one would expect, there is tremendous worry, anxiety and emotions surrounding this discussion. How do we re-open? How do we keep our campus community safe? When does the staff report back to work? These are some of the many questions that the committee is struggling to answer. We are learning that there are many concerns and fears among employees about coming back to work.

Instead of making assumptions about how employees feel, the committee is having conversations with all the employees across the 16 departments (via Zoom) to make space to hear:
– What are their concerns?
– What are their ideas to re-open the campus carefully, responsibly and safely?

The department that I work for will be hosting two Town Hall Meetings (again virtually) with our students to learn:
– What worked when we suddenly had to go online?
– What can we do better?
– What are their concerns and wishes for the fall semester?


We also have critical infrastructure (essential) employees working on-campus and have asked:
– What are some of the best safety measures they are using?
– What is working well?
– What do they need more of?

AI questions are intentionally designed to put the employees in a ‘connect’ mindset with the goal of understanding why, when and how might we begin to bring employees back; and re-designing how their departments work with each other and the students who may (or may not) be coming back this fall. We do not know what the fall will bring, but we are already in conversation about what worked well, what is working, and what is possible.

Are your conversations providing clarity, deepening understanding, generating possibilities, strengthening relationships and providing alternatives to create a pathway forward?

To learn more about Appreciative Inquiry visit AI Commons:
https://appreciativeinquiry.champlain.edu/
The “AI Commons” is a place for everyone with an interest in Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and positive change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) M. Stavros’ passion is working with others to create meaningful results for positive change. She is a professor in the College of Business and Information Technology at Lawrence Technological University. She has co-authored 7 books, over 50 articles and book chapters related to Appreciative Inquiry and SOAR.

Two recent books are:
Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement (www.ConversationsWorthHaving.today), and
Thin Book of SOAR: Creating Strategy that Inspires Innovation and Engagement (soar-strategy.com).

She has worked in 25 countries using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to affect the lives of thousands of people and enabled hundreds of organizations improve capacity to thrive and increase performance. Her work has been featured in Forbes, SmartBrief, Detroit’s Live in the D, dbusiness Magazine, and leadership and training blogs and podcasts. She is a keynote speaker on positive approaches to leadership, strategy, and change. She earned a Doctor of Management in Capacity Building Using an Appreciative Approach: A Relational Process of Building Your Organization’s Future.
(Email: jstavros@ltu.edu)

Defensive Pessimism vs Mindful Optimism?

In stressful times like these, many people adopt an inclination towards defensive pessimism: prepare for the worse and hope for the best. To my mind this is a losing strategy. Events are neither good nor bad. It is our thoughts that make them so.

Defensive pessimism keeps us on the lookout for the negative, and over interpreting events through a very dark lens. The problem is seek and ye shall find. Being inundated with negative thoughts keeps us stressed and feeling helpless— neither of which is good for our health and well being. To hope for the best may sound fine but actually on closer inspection it has a pessimistic outlook built into it that is absent from expecting the best. Hoping for something acknowledges that defeat is a real possibility. Expecting defeat through a series of social psychological processes too often creates defeat.

Mindful Optimism, on the other hand, is not burying one’s head in the sand with a certainty that all will be fine, but still helps us live fully moment by moment without stress. Uncertainty is not newly upon us. Everything has always been uncertain. It feels new because people tend to confuse the stability of their mindsets with the stability of the underlying phenomena. That is, all is and was always changing and not fully knowable but we may have felt we knew because we were oblivious to the inherent uncertainty.

We can worry or relax and things can turn out to be good or bad. If we worry and everything turns out fine, we’ve stressed ourselves unnecessarily and wasted precious time. If we worry and if turns out to be bad we’re no more prepared for it than if we didn’t worry. If we relax and it turns out bad we’ll be stronger to deal with it and if it all turns out to be fine we can continue behaving adaptively.

So what should we do if we want to adopt this more successful life strategy of Mindful Optimism, in the time of a pandemic?

Make a plan for yourself, such as frequent hand washing (which is always good) and engage in social distancing and then go back to living fully moment by moment with the implicit expectation that all will be fine.

About the Author

Ellen Langer


Dr. Ellen Langer, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. She is the author of eleven books and more than two hundred research articles written for general and academic readers on mindfulness for over 35 years. Her best selling books include Mindfulness; The Power of Mindful Learning; On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity; and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility.

Dr. Langer has been described as the “mother of mindfulness” and is also the founder of The Langer Mindfulness Institute. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, the NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and the Staats award for Unifying Psychology. Most recently she received the Liberty Science Genius Award.