On Resilience

On Resilience

“Resilience” is a word I have been meditating on lately. Somehow, against all odds, I have become a resilient person. I never saw that coming.

So why am I writing about this on a blog dedicated to issues around social media? Odd choice, right? Not really, if you think about it.

If you’ve worked in social media from any length of time, you’ll notice some survive and some are looking to get the heck out of dodge as quickly as possible. The quality that all who survive seem to possess is resilience. You knock us down, we’re gonna get back up.

Who is knocking us down? Clients, bosses, co-workers, fans… At times, it’s just one and sometimes it seems like everyone is ganging up on you at once. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake you made, and at other times, it’s a make believe thing that the other person fully believes happened but you know didn’t. And yet, you get back up. Staying dead never even entered your mind.

If you’re looking to hire someone in social media, resilience is absolutely a quality you need to be looking for, especially if you’re looking to keep them for the long term. If they’re not able to figure out getting back up again and again, then they will be moving on faster than you’d like or even worse, do something in their job that can be disastrous.

So can you learn to be resilient? Or are we just doomed if we aren’t born with it?

My theory is that we can all become more resilient, because there was definitely a time that I wasn’t at all. I was stuck in whatever mistake I made and screaming at any rejection I received. It wasn’t any way to live. So I had to figure it out, and I think most people can do the same if they want it bad enough.

Know your energy boosters

I started potty training my daughter the day after Christmas, because apparently I hate myself and time off. If you’ve never potty trained a child, I can tell you that you are missing out on the biggest hell on earth I have ever experienced. And I had to keep coming back to it every day like today was the day everything would click. It didn’t click for ten days and then we had to start from scratch again a few times due to illness and an unscheduled trip to my hometown. I was covered in pee and crying the first few days, but then I realized it wouldn’t work for me or my kid if I kept up like this.

So I changed tactics.

Every night, after my daughter went to bed, I did things that made me feel good about myself. Things that would right my brain and get me back to calm. Sometimes that was a little treat like ice cream or sometimes it was just reading in quiet with absolutely no one allowed to talk to me (my partner really lucked out, didn’t he?). Whatever it was, I knew that morning I was doing it in the evening and it helped me get through whatever my daughter threw at me (as long as it wasn’t feces).

Takeaway: When dealing with something you know is going to knock you down, before you dive in, think of what will make you feel better when you’re down. It may even help to have a list of activities that will make you feel better, so you don’t have to start from scratch when you’re about to deal with something mentally taxing. Keep that in mind as you go through the hard thing and then make sure you follow through. You may want to even put aside energy draining activities (like cleaning the house which I know doesn’t drain everyone but very much drains me) until you’re back to at least 80%.

Take a breath

This may seem silly, but sometimes just taking a breath can be enough to help with resilience.

I’m not a hokey person, but I’ve still done a ton of yoga and meditation classes. I am even a Level 1 iRest teacher.

What has struck me over the years has been how helpful it can be just to be with yourself for a bit. The funny part of this is of course I was absolutely terrible at being with myself when I first walked into a yoga studio. Yoga teachers pulled and pushed me in the corpse position in the hopes that I’d finally relax. One day, something just clicked.

And one of the things that really clicked with me was that it didn’t have to be all that complicated. Sitting in a chair and just breathing through my nose (a natural calming technique since the air is warmed through your nose) can be enough. So whenever I’m about to enter into something difficult, I take a few breaths and then go. And then after exiting the difficult situation, a few more breaths to center myself back into the mode I need to be in to get work done.

Takeaway: Getting yourself back doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Sometimes just breathing is enough.

Separate yourself from your work

I was the person who took everything personally. You don’t like my work? Then you obviously don’t like me. You want to make an edit that I think is wrong? Yeah, you’re on my list.

That is a tiring way to live, and it really doesn’t get you very far.

Everything started to improve when I realized what I create is separate from who I am as a person. I suddenly knew that as soon as I hand something over to the client that it’s no longer about me. Now it’s about the client’s goals and needs, which they frankly know more about than I do.

Do I still sometimes think they might be making the wrong move? Absolutely. But I shrug my shoulders and move on with my day.

The best part of this attitude is having the emotional energy for things that truly do require resilience.

Takeaway: Figure out where your work ends and where you begin. It will make you more flexible in the long run. And also pick up hobbies that take you away from your work. In my case, that’s running, crocheting and chasing after a feral toddler. All three are pretty good for reminding me what my ultimate goals in life are.

There is no perfect way of becoming more resilient. It’s more of a practice of resilience that you get better at over time. So if you’re waiting for it to magically happen, it’s time to stop waiting and start practicing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *