Sitting at the airport recently, I had conversation with a venture capitalist who had experienced a significant financial setback and was struggling to rebuild both his business and his self-esteem.
As we got talking it became evident that not only was he silently berating himself for his mistakes, he also felt the judgement of his wife and the world very keenly as well.
It got me thinking about often we unconsciously respond to the opinions of the others and how, if these opinions are negative, they can devastate our self-esteem if we lack resilience.
It’s a catch 22 situation. If we’re confident enough in ourselves to ignore the negative responses then we’re considered arrogant. If we need or rely on the good opinions of others to validate us, then we’re in trouble.
Whether we like it or not, Google means our career history is readily available to the world at large – and to a world that often doesn’t look further than our latest failure or success – so resilience is essential for our well-being.
But how easy is it to build resilience, especially in our thirties, forties or fifties when our neural pathways are well and truly laid?
Dr Dennis Charney, resilience researcher and dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC, confirms that emotional resilience can still be developed as adults and below are a few suggestions we can practice to build our resilience muscle:
• Practice optimism, it increases with repetition. Optimistic people look at their lives realistically but always with an attitude of hope, rather than ruminating on negative possibilities;
• Consider others, it takes us outside of ourselves and puts our circumstances in perspective
• View challenges as growth opportunities, it allows us to bounce back from disappointment with a sense of purpose;
• Surround yourself with good friends as being part of a supportive community helps ease a sense of loneliness and failure;
• Be flexible! If we’re not attached to a particular outcome or approach, we’re more likely to find a solution;
• Find meaning in what we do. It makes failing and learning worth it!
Love to you all, Jx
Image courtesy of a shared work space in Dallas, Texas