Resilience is the new buzz word in management and leadership development. As a follower of these fashions over the years, I am intrigued how quickly we have moved through emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence (yes, a blip you may have missed) and mindfulness to focus on resilience.
Like so much of our business culture, resilience is imported from the world of technology where the term is used to look at the extent to which IT systems can survive various forms of catastrophic failure and external disasters. I remember being peripherally involved in a project looking at what to do if our data centre, sited in the flight path for Heathrow Airport, became a crash site for an Airbus A380!
But do you need to accept that your work will impose relentless stress and that the only response is to learn to build your resilience? When we are called to ‘love our neighbour as ourself’ have we forgotten how to love ourselves?
This is not a call to a new narcissism or Epicurean self-indulgence. Rather, this is about extending kindness, gentleness and care to ourselves in the same way that we offer such love to those most important to us. So, what are the first steps you can take to realign your priorities? I see this as making choices about what you stop, start and continue; your own personal traffic light system.
Stop: believing that all your work issues can be solved by just working harder or smarter. This is a lie that makes you responsible for the unrealistic goals and ambitions of others.
Start: giving your managers and leaders clear choices: ‘if I do this then I can’t do that: which do you want’; ‘if you want quality then you need more budget and more time’; ‘if you set unachievable targets for my team, it will impact morale and your personal credibility.
Continue: doing those activities at work and outside work that bring you joy, peace and opportunities to offer love to yourself and others.
Then build on these initial small steps. More consistently acknowledge when the underlying assumption is ‘just work harder or smarter’. Hold firm when you get ‘push back’ as you challenge ‘both… and’ with ‘if … then’. Give priority to activities that nurture and refresh your spirit with joy, peace and love.
I know that this can be the most hectic time of year for many. There is pressure to get it done before Christmas and a requirement to squeeze in time for the mandatory fun of Christmas parties. However, there is no better time than now to get started. If you find that it is impossible to make these small changes, perhaps you should spend time over the holiday to re-assess your work style more radically.
Growing to love who you are and love yourself too.
Charles is founder of FuturePerfect and the Portfolio Executive Growth Academy www.portfolioexecutive.biz