Resilience Starts with You
Business Resilience. But what is a business? People. And who started that business? You. Are you resilient? Well, that's the question.
It's easy to be resilient when the world is with you and everything is going well. But when the world decides to remind you that you're just a human, that's when you find out if you're truly resilient. Because your business resilience depends on you, and your people, being personally resilient.
Human resilience can be categorized into two key areas:
Let's start our discussion with Mental Resilience.
For mental resilience, especially in this age of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, the most important tool for improving and maintaining your mental resilience is to ask for help anytime you need it. We're all here to help each other, and none of us is strong enough to solve it all on our own.
When I say ask for help, for anything, I mean it. I used to think of myself as the kind of person that could figure anything out with enough effort and thought. But turns out I'm a normal person, just like everyone else. And I need help, much more frequently than I would like to think I need it! And that's ok!
So, a little personal background about me. I've been seeing a therapist regularly for the last 6 months. But to an outsider looking in, I should have zero things in my life to drive me to need a therapist. I have an incredible wife and family, we have a beautiful home and successful careers, and are surrounded by amazing friends and family. So what happened?
I've always prided myself in being self supporting and mentally strong, able to learn anything I need to do and deal with any challenges that come up. But the flip side of that mentality, is that when I found myself in a situation where the feedback from the world, in this case my previous job, was that I was not good at what I was doing, and that I was not figuring it out and getting better at it, I found myself struggling to understand what I was missing, and began to see myself as a failure. The reality of the feedback I was getting begged to differ with my internal view of myself, and I was struggling to make it fit my mental model of myself.
It got bad enough that one night, while fixing dinner for the kids, I suddenly realized that I was writing a suicide note in my head. And it scared the shit out of me!!! Scared me so much, and was so much the opposite of what I thought I was, that I knew I needed help. So I told my wife about it, and then I reached out immediately to my doctor and to a therapist to get help. And I'm so happy I did, because now I'm in an amazing place mentally, and I know that I have incredible family and friends, and even more critically, strangers and acquaintances, surrounding me that are ready and wanting to help at any time.
Our minds are funny places, and they like to play tricks on us. Being mentally resilient means being willing to accept that your mind may not be telling you the truth, and that you should get a second opinion. How many of us are ready and willing to help others, we're just waiting for them to ask? Remember that, when you find yourself struggling, that others are just as ready to help you as you are to help them.
And that's the key to mental resilience, knowing that it's not just your own mind you have to depend on in tough times. That there are people surrounding you that want to help anytime you need it, they're just waiting for you to ask. So if you want to be mentally resilient for everyday, it's as easy as asking someone nearby for help. Take that first step, and we'll all be mentally resilient together!
Now let's discuss physical resilience.
Are you making time to keep yourself healthy during this pandemic? Physical resilience is the building block of mental resilience. A healthy body is a powerful asset to ensuring that you're prepared to deal with the stresses of life, providing many well documented key benefits that are particularly beneficial given the challenges we're all facing with the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Improved immune system functionality. Want to give your body the best chance to fight off Coronavirus? Take time to exercise, doing whatever physical activity you enjoy. Strenuous physical activity drives several adaptive response in your body that improve overall immune system functionality and response capability.
Improved mental stress response. Improving your physical fitness improves your ability to deal with mental stress, helping you maintain a positive attitude and allowing you to bounce back from down emotional states more quickly. I can attest to the power of physical activity to help with this, as when I was in my most down state last year, I was also doing the least physical activity. And I as increased my physical activity, my mood and ability to deal with my particular stressors, improved dramatically.
Improved mood. Ever noticed how good you feel when you finish a workout? Even if you're exhausted and laying on the ground, knowing what you just accomplished is a major mood booster. Knowing what you can push yourself through physically, makes the rest of the challenges of your day seem that much easier. And regular physical activity is well documented for improving levels of mood boosting hormones and chemicals in your body.
Better sleep. Now that we've all been stuck at home for at least a month, you may notice pent up energy and worries that can make it hard to sleep. Regular physical activity improves your ability to sleep well, through it's mood boosting effects, energy release, and too be honest, exhaustion from pushing yourself physically. All of which make getting a good night's rest easier.
Start improving your physical resilience right now. Get out there and get your body moving! Go for walks, jogs, and runs. Do a workout video in your yard or in the garage with the garage door open. Workout in your living room with all of the windows open. The world is still beautiful, and exercise gives you a great opportunity to see that beauty and feel better in the process.
What can you take away from all of this? If you want your business to be resilient, you need to make sure that you are resilient, both mentally and physically. For mental resilience, ask for help early and often. For physical resilience, get your body moving, in anyway that appeals to you. Because when you're resilient for every day, your business will be resilient every day.