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Resilient or Resentful (#8)

The Confident Leader

Kathy, a hardy CEO, exclaimed, “Robin, I’m exhausted.” She shared with me, her coach, that the length of the pandemic had taken its toll.

“There is no end in sight. I’m feeling resentful about having to continue to be resilient in the face of this mess. What do I do next?” Kathy asked exasperated.

No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can’t take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.
— Ryder Carroll, founder of the Bullet Journal

This Week’s Edition

As a leader, do you find yourself depleted after seven months of a pandemic that seems like it will never end? Is persistent uncertainty making things worse? Move beyond the rally cry of “Just Be Resilient!” to tap into your deeper reserves of strength.

Clarify Your Thinking

Leaders throughout the country have risen to the leadership challenge provided by Covid-19, harnessing the best of themselves to navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic. As a result, almost 100% of the leaders I work with (and read about) are in the same boat as CEO Kathy. They feel depleted.

This state of depletion impacts a leader’s ability to bounce back, because there is nothing left in the tank. Worse still, it impacts a leader’s thinking. Doubt whispers: “Well, Kathy, maybe this is as far as you can lead this business. I know you thought you could do more, but perhaps you were wrong. This may be the end of the road.”

Otherwise strong leaders begin to question their leadership. Frequent leadership advice is: “Just Be Resilient!” In Kathy’s case, this “solution” rings hollow. She has been resilient, and the need to continue to be resilient grates on her to the point of being resentful.

 Kathy is not alone, I see a groundswell of resentment growing in leaders who did not ask for this leadership challenge. They did nothing wrong to deserve this calamity. It leaves them asking, “Why did the pandemic happen to me?” (link)

“Kathy, I can understand your resentment. It’s been a long slog.” I empathized. “When you hear yourself say it out loud, what do you hear?”

“It’s so weak. It’s like I’m living in the land of professional victimhood. I hate it”

“Okay then, what is the refocus of that thought that moves you forward for the results you want?” We wrestled with this for a while as the thinking issue was deeply rooted. Kathy finally landed on “Why has Covid happened for me?”

This slight change of thinking from “to me” to “for me” produced a profound list of pandemic benefits discovered to this point in her business: clients adopting trends only hoped for previously and employees adopting technology that will make the business more efficient in the future.

To expunge any resentful thinking you may have, download the Clarify Your Thinking Worksheet. 

post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

With a slight shift in thinking, Kathy was more open to the discussion about her need to continue to be resilient, but she will still stuck. “What’s my next move?” She asked.

 Kathy wanted to know if resilience was a skill that could be developed or was it something you were just born with? So, we started with a definition of resilience: your ability to withstand or recover from a difficult condition.

This means resilience is considered a special skill with two parts: thinking and skill. A leader can develop her ability to adapt her thinking in the face of challenges like Kathy did above. And she can develop specific skills to improve her response to challenges versus merely reacting out of emotion.

Let’s review some recent data that is instructional for skill development.  

Marcus Buckingham, founder of the strengths movement for leaders, has recently completed a study on resilience during the pandemic. He surveyed over 25,000 people across 25 countries. Here are three takeaways from the study:

·      Only 19% of the U.S. workforce is highly resilient. 81% is less resilient and vulnerable.

·      Those who love their work are 4x more likely to be resilient (even regardless of their ability).

·      The type of work you do impacts your resilience. Knowledge workers (vs. repetitive task workers) are 3x more likely to be resilient.

This is powerful insight to inform the action you, as a leader, must take to be resilient for the remainder of the pandemic and for future calamities that may arise.

Do you LOVE your work? If not, what do you need to do in order to move from a place of dread or misery into loving what you do?

·      Ruthlessly eliminate the friction points in your day.

·      Infuse those things that you enjoy into your day.

Every leader has a “knowledge” job, but have you slipped into the mode of just doing the same thing over and over again?

·      Reimagine your business. Begin to create again.

·      Look for “new” in your business (new information, clients & partners).

Complete the coaching assignment to rediscover the love of your business and begin creating again.

Boost Your Performance

While hope is not a strategy, hope is very important to your strategy of defeating leadership doubt and maintaining resilience for the long haul. Boost your leadership performance with this one approach to keeping optimism and hope in the forefront of your leadership during hard times.

What’s Your Opinion?

Email me your best practice for staying resilient.

Don’t let Doubt count you out. Do your leadership part and commit to a hearty restart. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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