The Bureau of Meteorology has declared that an El Nino is underway for most of regional and rural Australia, which will lead to a warmer and drier Spring and Summer, increasing the risk of extreme temperature shifts. This will test all of us, as drought, bushfires, and sustained hot weather will impact many communities. Importantly this will also be a leadership moment of truth for parents, employers, and community groups.
How we get through difficult and challenging times is an important life lesson for our next generation to learn, experience, and observe. Resilience is not taught in the classroom; it is acquired through lived experiences.
Building personal resilience is essential for coping with life’s challenges, setbacks, and stressors. Resilience is what helps people bounce back from adversity and maintain emotional well-being in times of crisis.
As a leader of people or influencer of children, it is important to role model certain qualities to help infuse a sense of resilience and optimism during challenging times. History provides some good lessons for leaders to role model.
Firstly, it is important for a leader to instil a sense of hope and optimism through the language they use and their outward communications.
Secondly a leader needs to keep cool and calm in challenging times. It’s important to avoid angry outbursts or panicked messaging. A leader needs to constantly “think about thinking” and maintain a stable and considered demeanour.
Finally, a leader or parent must role model a feeling of progress, finding and celebrating the smallest of achievements which will always help fuel a sense of hope. This includes having a bright positive outlook along with a sense of determination and good old fashioned “grit.”
When the going gets tough – the tough get going
There are a range of attributes and techniques that a leader can use to help foster and promote resilience into others.
Cultivate a growth mindset: Look for solutions, ideas, innovations, or skills to learn to help improve any situation. Curiosity is the enabler of the human spirit. The opposite to a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. This always guarantees no learning, progress, or development will take place. An open mind is key.
Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Maintaining a sense of contentment and wellbeing through simple practices such as exercise, meditation, sleep, deep breathing, and socialising with trusted family and friends. This will help manage stress and anxiety. As the old saying goes – a problem shared is a problem halved!
Set realistic goals: Having a sense of achievement and progress does wonders for the human psyche and self-esteem. But these need to be in context given the circumstances. Setting big bold hairy audacious goals in the middle of a crisis do not work. Set small realistic interim goals and celebrate and recognise them once achieved. A big goal can only be achieved by achieving small wins along the way. A sense of progress is a powerful motivator.
Practice gratitude: Regularly thank, acknowledge, and appreciate the small things and achievements of others, as well as the positive aspects of your life. Gratitude can help shift focus from what is wrong with the world, to what is right with the world.
Have positive self-talk: Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with constructive self-talk, and compassionate personal thoughts of oneself and others. Focus on what you can do, what has already been achieved, and the next opportunity for improvement.
Focus on the wildly important: It is very easy to default to what is wrong and create an endless list of what needs to be improved. This can lead to becoming daunted and overwhelmed. Key is to focus on the wildly important things that need to be done or achieved. Keep this to no more than three. Then knock them off. This keeps people focused and will help fuel a sense of unity and progress. If a team is focused on the same three things – then there is half a chance they will be achieved.
We are all defined by the power of one. Yes, we live in a community – but never underestimate the power of one person in challenging and difficult times. As the great Martin Luther King Jr famously said, “If you can’t fly then run – If you can’t run then walk – If you can’t walk then crawl – But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward!”
In difficult times, encouragement and enthusiasm by a leader will foster resilience and a sense OF ‘CAN DO’ into others
The Power of One