Nine posts into the series and it’s finally time for a male perspective! Neil Meekin is, like me, an Englishman making his life in Wellington. A keen student of future workplace trends, collaboration and social good, Neil is the Innovation Manager for HunchBuzz, a cool cloud based idea management software. You can find him on Twitter (@neilmeekin) or he’s keen to connect on LinkedIn.
As we come to the end of another year, it is with great pleasure and gratitude that I was invited to contribute an article to Richard Westney’s Blog – the 12 Blogs of Christmas.
As I reflected on what it was that I could possibly write, I flirted with a few different topics, whether it be the Ideas, Collaboration, Culture space I currently operate in, or the fact the our Company – HunchBuzz has been experimenting with some quite progressive Organizational modes of work such as Holacracy or Teal. After some consideration, one particular over-riding theme emerged that has been ever present throughout 2015 and that is one of ‘Resilience’. And so it is with this theme that I would like to share my thoughts.
Personally 2015 has been without a shadow of any doubt the most difficult and challenging (albeit one of much personal growth and development) year that I have ever had in my 20 years of professional working life. The main factors that contributed to this experience are largely due to the nature of the environment in which I work and a rapidly changing landscape, fuelled by massive disruptions through technology, the internet, the economy and culture among others
Our rapidly changing environments are dissolving well-established social, cultural and organizational frameworks that help give us a sense of place not only in the world at large, but also in the workplace.
As a consequence this is putting more and more pressure and demands on us as Professionals and Human Beings and in my opinion, it is absolutely key that we develop personal philosophies and strategies for managing this. I am seeing too may people around me struggling, unhappy and burning out for me not to dispute that there are clear symptoms of this huge shift that is currently taking place in this world that we live.
I would like to share some of the learning’s and experiences on how I have developed my own day to day approach to building a Resilience mindset. Some of these approaches may be familiar to some of you out there and I certainly haven’t tried to re-invent the wheel in anyway. These are my top 3 practical approaches that can be applied straight away.
1) – Maintaining a positive optimistic outlook
This, of all the actions I will share, has been the most important over the last 12 months. Even when things seem negative or feel like they are going wrong or not going to plan, always remember that this is just our own subjective perception of the situation and we ultimately decide how we respond. As the NLP world states – ‘Perception is Projection’ – How we decide to perceive a situation is essentially how we respond to that situation. If we view an event as negative, we project that negativity, which in turn has an effect on us. Depending on how we perceive the severity of the situation, this has the potential to quickly spin us out and create a negative mindset.
If we allow the mind to dictate how we will feel then it will ultimately take over and we can easily become overwhelmed.
There have been repeated situations where I was affected in this way until I started to re-frame the situation as one of an opportunity for learning and growth and always looked of the positive in any situation. I realized that by viewing the situation with a positive frame of mind and accepting the situation as it was, it eventually transformed the situation for the better.
This is no easy feat though and may need a bit of practice before the breakthrough comes, however persevere and lead with a positive mindset.
…Underpinning number 1 and leading me nicely in to number 2 is
2) Having a strong sense of purpose
When the chips are down and you feel like you are walking through quicksand, what can really drive us forward no matter what the circumstances is maintaining a strong sense of purpose and a belief in that what you are doing is actually making a positive difference.
A good way of doing this is creating and holding a vision of what you are working towards and having a clear direction in life. If we don’t have this we tend to feel lost and question our situation (and ourselves in negative way). There where certain challenging situations for me where in an instant I was questioning why I was doing what I was doing, however very quickly brought to mind that I was ultimately making a positive difference and if I kept going would eventually succeed. I had the end in mind and held the mindset that I/we going in the right direction….this often gives a 2nd wind and that extra lift to push through any difficult situation
3) Developing a practice of Mindfulness
Mindfulness Meditation has been around for a very long time and can be traced back to at least a 1000 years within the Buddhist tradition. In recent years we have seen a real resurgence and interest in the practice as a way of managing the pressures of modern working life.
Some of the most high profile companies in the world such as Google promote and encourage the practice of Mindfulness within its hallowed halls and have seen notable increases in positivity and productivity.
Start off with just 15 minutes a day, preferably in the morning or take 10 minutes out during the day if you start to feel tired or over-whelmed. Very quickly you will notice a positive difference and over time attempt to build this up to 30 minutes in one sitting.
With just these 3 things you can quickly develop a Resilience mindset. Know also that we are only human and are emotional beings. Remember to go easy on yourself, never be too hard or overly self criticize and know that is ultimately you who hold all the cards in how you respond to your life and circumstances.
Be mindful, be patient, be bold, be positive, be honest, be authentic and go forth and prosper!