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Resiliency in Times of Change

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

May 9, 2020

Photo Credit: Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

Coral-reef formations are a great example of resiliency to me. Through years of formation they continue to battle with overfishing, pollution, global warming, changing ocean chemistry and invasive species. Thankfully, due to conservation efforts, many have begun to thrive again continuing to contribute to underwater biodiversity and coastal protection.

As a professional whose many roles often included sponsoring, advocating or leading change, I've often looked at resiliency as the ability to acknowledge challenges, difficulties, unanticipated change and recover. This has served as a cornerstone in identifying change management risks and appropriate ways of mitigation. What I've come to realize though is having it doesn't mean you experience less grief or distress in really challenging times, like now! I've also recognized that many are struggling with developing resiliency in these times.

Think about it. What are some of the descriptors you would associate with someone who is resilient? Perhaps, unflappable, flexible, an optimistic attitude, openness to learning or new things. Whereas, a lack of resilience is signaled by burnout, fatigue, defensiveness, cynicism and in some instances depression. Resiliency gives us the tool to manage hardship and disappointment and can provide us with skills and changed viewpoints, that can be universally applied to all areas of our life.

Change permeates the fabric of our relationships personally and professionally. From an organizational perspective managing through this crisis has probably tested your managerial resolve, capability and even career! This crisis may see companies engage in sweeping strategic change, attempting to ride the tide or engage in new ways of doing business. If you're challenged, overwhelmed or in a state of disbelief, it's normal to be feeling the way you do. What's important is how you survive and flourish during these times of constant and complex change - resiliency is that key.

So how can I develop resiliency? Here are a few tips:

  1. Accept that change is inevitable and normal

  2. Identify which habits or viewpoints you'd like to change

  3. Consider what new skills or perspectives do I now need?

  4. Cultivate your purpose - what gives your work or life meaning?

  5. Retest your personal identity - is it only tied to your career? Do I need to separate who I am from what I do? How much of my worth is affected by my current job?

  6. Nurture your networks - broad personal and professional relationships. It is important to provide mutual support; you'd be surprise what can happen when you need it most.

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