I have been fascinated with Resilience research. When I learned that resilience can be taught and internalized I became even more captivated as I followed the research.
This has allowed me to offer my clients a path that strengthens their resilience and adaptability, building more grounded sustainability for their life choices. This increases self-confidence and leads to more effective and successful accomplishments.
This is part 2 of the 5-part series on Leadership Resilience by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.What do you tell yourself when things don’t go as planned? When you fail? Click To Tweet
What do you tell yourself when things don’t go as planned? When you fail? Most of us have a default explanatory style. Those of us who work with clients in a managing or coaching role so frequently hear them explain to us what happens to them that we’re able to spot their internal dialogue regarding failure.
Research clearly demonstrates that people who are naturally resilient have an optimistic explanatory style—that is, they explain adversity in optimistic terms, which prevents feelings of helplessness.
Those who refuse to give up routinely interpret setbacks as temporary, local and changeable:
- “The problem will resolve quickly…”
- “It’s just this one situation…”
- “I can do something about it…”
In contrast, individuals who have a pessimistic, half empty, explanatory style respond to failure differently. They habitually see setbacks are permanent, universal and immutable:
- “Things are never going to be any different…”
- “This always happens to me…”
- “I can’t change things, no matter what…”
The scientist who has studied this the most is University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, Martin P. Seligman. He believes most people can be immunized against the negative thinking habits that may tempt them to give up after failure. In fact, 30 years of research suggests that we can learn to be optimistic and resilient—often by changing our explanatory style or mindset.
Seligman is currently testing this premise with the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, a large-scale effort to make soldiers as psychologically fit as they are physically fit. One key component is the Master Resilience Training course for drill sergeants and other leaders, which emphasizes positive psychology, mental toughness, use of existing strengths and building strong relationships.
This military program will no doubt provide insights for civilians who wish to become more effective within their workplaces and organizations.
In the future, it’s possible that resilience training may be able to prevent or diminish traumatic stress disorders for soldiers. I wonder what resilience training could do for stressed-out executives, leaders, and people in general.
Do you have experience with resilience training? Do you see yourself as an optimist or a pessimist? Your comments welcome; what do you think?