No one has to tell you the work of a leader is tough and challenging. Some weeks and days—heck, some hours—are a lot better than others. So how is all this possible? Nonstop challenges, the daily rotation of in-office visitors, conference calls, e-mails, texts, customer phone calls, presentations, regulatory compliance—big and little decisions all day long. Oh, let’s not forget the occasional “real world” crisis.
Some of this is managed by your effective delegation and time management. Some is handled by prioritizing and persistently pushing ahead. Realizing that on some days you just aren’t going to be successful, that you’ll be stressed or worn-down comes as part of the job. Probably not your favorite part, but still. The occasional loneliness or isolation one can feel in a leadership role comes with the territory. How do you get back in the game?
The American Psychological Association and the Discovery Health Channel offer several productive ideas in their publication the Road to Resilience:
Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends, or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Tough times come and go. Tough minded leaders are here to stay. Having a personal strategy for fostering resilience can make all the difference. All done with this week? The next really is up to you.