As the first female F-14 Fighter Pilot in the United States Navy, I had the honor of operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments, an aircraft carrier. In this fast moving, dynamic environment, continuous change and working under intense pressure were a given.
More often than not, things didn’t go exactly ‘as planned.’
Adversity comes in many forms. Every person, every organization experiences challenges and extreme adversity in life. At times, overcoming these challenges and major life obstacles can seem insurmountable, too tough to handle.
Sometimes these challenges are enough to make us quit right in our tracks.
So who survives, and who thrives? Those who are resilient. Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, adapt and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.
Being resilient allows you to overcome adversity, handle disruptive events and thrive when life throws you a curveball.
HERE ARE 7 TIPS TO BOOST RESILIENCE:
1. Focus on What Matters Understand what really matters to you, your core values, your purpose. What are the most important parts of your life today? Family? Work? Community? Self-development? The legacy you want to leave?
Focus your time and attention on those few things. Having too many priorities, leads to overwhelm and overload. Focus on What Matters!
As we say in fighter aviation: “If you lose sight you lose the fight.”
2. Surround yourself with great wingmen STAY ENGAGED. Emotional support during times of crises is critical. Communication is key. Spend time with people who will listen while you talk, and provide positive support. Email and texts are easy, but be warned- they are a poor substitute for personal interaction.
3. Understand your span of control Don’t waste your time and energy trying to change circumstances you can’t control. Even if you can’t change a stressful situation, you have a choice in how you respond. Accepting the things you cannot change allows you to focus on the things you do have control over.
4. Tame the chaos and move toward your goals Develop a strategy, and work to identify both short term and long-term goals. Resiliency requires flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to overcome distractions. Adapt to the new reality quickly!
5. Don’t let fear paralyze you Fear, anger, and disappointment can paralyze us after a severe setback. Oftentimes, indefinitely. Assigning blame, rather than generating solutions is human nature. But fear doesn’t have to hold you back. Get rid of all of the “I can’t’s, Yeah-but’s, I should of’s, and I’ll never be able to’s” Focus on solutions!
6. Constantly learn from your experiences We do this via debriefing. You can use the power of questions to gain focus, and learn valuable lessons. Look for the root cause of a problem and then brainstorm solutions. Ask: “What happened? How can I turn this around? Why is it good that this happened?” Find value in the experience.
7. Take Action Take those Lessons Learned, and move forward quickly from analysis to your plan of action. Do something specific that can lead to a more positive outcome. Find the opportunities in adversity!
All of us are trying to effectively perform our missions in a constantly changing, highly competitive environment. Your attitude toward change and the ability to be flexible and adaptable will determine your level of success.
It would be nice if you could simply snap your fingers and automatically become more resilient.
It doesn’t happen overnight.
If you take positive, decisive actions you can improve your capacity to withstand adversity, bounce back from setbacks and not only survive, but thrive!
Will you join me?
Carey Lohrenz is the author of the Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck.”, a motivational speaker and leadership expert.
Carey has flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot. Her extensive experience operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments, an aircraft carrier, and her unique position as one of the first female combat pilots make her the perfect opening or closing inspirational keynote speaker for your corporate meeting or conference.
Carey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she was a varsity rower, also training at the Pre-Olympic level. After graduation, she attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is the mother of four kids, and is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership.