Helicopter parenting and micro-managing leadership both move us towards learned helplessness and away from resilience. Truly caring for others means we support their growth and learning. Yet that attitude and behavior must begin with our belief in our own resilience, no matter what has happened in our past.
Plus, when bad things happen, pessimistic people tend to see the situation as permanent (will always be this bad), pervasive (everything is bad) and personal (most of all it is happening to me) according to renowned Learned Optimism author Martin Seligman. Unfortunately, pessimists often react to prove themselves right. I've often wondered if those who have a pessimistic bent are also more susceptible to feeling helpless -- and if they tend to have a rigid rather than the flexible, growth mindset advocated by Carol Dweck.
Why not jumpstart your new year by losing the weight of your reactive behavior patterns? Prepare now, for those difficult times by becoming what Eileeen McDargh dubs "presilient" in her new book Your Resiliency GPS. "GPS" stands for Growth Potential Strategy. By seeing dire situations as opportunities to grow your "psychological hardiness," you can actually strengthen your emotional and physical health according psychologists Salvatore Maddi and Susan Kobasa.
Here are three ways to focus your attention to grow your resilience:
Commitment: finding purpose in what you do.
Control: focusing on what is within your control instead of trying to change something outside of your control.
Challenge: believing that you can handle whatever comes your way, even if mistakes are inevitable, there is a reason and learning to be had. Rather than being Change-Adverse, become Change-Receptive.
See times of adversity as opportunities to strengthen your strongest talents and temperament. That enables you to sidestep the flip side: becoming preoccupied by fear of failing or retaliating, as you believe you did last time something seemingly similar happened. McDargh vividly describes ways to be proactive turning more dire situations into opportunities for individuals and organizations to grow in healthy, productive and meaningful ways -- with others:
Strengthen The Four Facets Of Your Innate Resiliency
Adaptability: Harness the power of Many Options. Find multiple responses to any given situation.
Agility: Spring into Action. Become more nimble and flexible.
Laugh-ability: Play more. Explore how free-form play and improvisation can not only break barriers but open up a world of potential ways to handle situations.
Alignment: Stand on Bedrock. "Resilient individuals have a reason greater than themselves for keeping on" suggests McDargh who cites Viktor Frankl, "Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how.'"
When you read Your Resiliency GPS consider starting by taking the enlightening Personal Resiliency Assessment and Organizational Resiliency Assessment.
More Ways To Turn The Page To The Adventure Story You Are Meant to Live Now
• Rather than feeling guilty when you don't get through your prioritized "to do" list, actually take the less meaningful items off your list, suggests Why Quitters Win author Nick Tasler.
• Strengthen your internal calm and equanimity by adopting the timeless traits of stoicism. As Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman wrote in Rome's Last Citizen:
Stoicism tells us that no happiness can be secure if it's rooted in changeable, destructible things. Our bank accounts can grow or shrink, our careers can prosper or falter, even our loved ones can be taken from us. There is only one place the world can't touch: our inner selves, our choice at every moment to be brave, to be reasonable, to be good. The world might take everything from us; stoicism tells us that we all have a fortress on the inside.
• Rather than continuing to fall into the trap of seeking work/life balance, discover how to make the different parts of your life reinforce each other rather than taking away from each other. Read popular Wharton professor Stew Friedman's book, Leading the Life You Want.