Coping with Difficult Situations
By Robin Hills, author of The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business.
Everyone is working with greater uncertainty, ambiguity and change than ever before and has to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Challenges and changes are constant. Some of these may be crises or emergencies that demand your immediate attention.
Difficult situations may be familiar or unfamiliar to you depending upon whether you have experienced them before. You will have developed coping mechanisms and these will help you in dealing with familiar adverse situations and many unfamiliar ones.
You can’t control what happens around you or other people. The self-talk (your inner voice) that you use will drive your thinking and your feelings, leading to the decisions that you make and your subsequent actions and behaviours.
Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. It is an internal drive often characterised as inner strength, fortitude or hardiness that relates to how you calmly engage with your environment. Resilience incorporates your physical health, as well as your emotional and mental health, and your well-being.
Coping, however, is adapting your thinking and behaviour to manage demands that exceed the resources available to you or demands that you find taxing.
So being resilient is more than just coping and putting up with stuff. It is about learning through the experience to grow personally and become stronger to deal with difficulties better.
Your resilience will help you to improve your effectiveness and sustain your efforts. Resilience is about rationality and calmness, dealing effectively with – and making the most of – what you experience in everyday life. Resilience is about finding meaning in your work environment and using your core values to interpret and shape events.
8 action strategies to develop your resilience
1. Feel in control
– Be realistic about what you can and can’t do
– Learn how to say ‘No’ so that you don’t commit to too much
– Tell yourself you can do it and prove yourself to be right
– Communicate your intentions clearly to others, delegate and encourage their support
2. Create a personal vision
– Set yourself clear goals and objectives focusing on what you want to achieve
– Establish a plan of small, achievable steps that will accomplish your goals
– Remain committed, even if events take you away from your plan for a short while
– Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and why
3. Be flexible and adaptable
– Accept and anticipate that situations are going to change so that you can be prepared
– Positively move forward rather than dwelling on how unreasonable or unfair the changes may seem
– Remain focused on your goals and adapt to accommodate the change
4. Get organised
-Create systems and processes that make you efficient
-Be realistic about managing your time
-Tackle big projects by breaking them down into smaller chunks and start to work on them one chunk at a time
-Be aware of, and avoid, anything distracting
5. Develop a mindset for problem-solving
– Gather as much information about the issue as possible
– Define the problem precisely and accurately, evaluating it objectively and from different perspectives
– Generate a number of options, critically review and decide what will work
– Be decisive and take action
6. Get connected
– Look for new opportunities to engage with different people and build your network
– Communicate with empathy
– Look at ways you can get involved and help others with their problems
7. Be socially competent
-Evaluate your existing network to ensure that you can draw upon a variety of backgrounds, skills and experience
– Keep an open mind to broaden your horizons
– Be willing to get support but be selective about the support you need
– Ask people for help on both a practical and emotional level
8. Be proactive
– Plan ahead and prioritise tasks to be completed
– Act decisively
– Keep on top of less urgent tasks, especially anything that eventually needs to be done
– Identify and develop the skills you will need in the future
– Don’t waste time on truly unnecessary tasks
– Take the lead and become a role model for others
Developing your resilience won’t stop bad or stressful things from happening, but can reduce the level of disruption that stress can have and the time it takes you to recover.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin Hills is author of ‘The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business: Strategies to manage stress and weather storms in the workplace’. Published by SRA Books as part of the Authority Guides series of pocket-sized business books. www.authorityguides.co.uk