A popular speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $20 bill. A crowd of 200 had gathered to hear him speak. He asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”
200 hands went up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He crumpled the bill up.
He then asked, “Who still wants it?”
All 200 hands were still raised.
“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” Then he dropped the bill on the ground and stomped on it with his shoes.
He picked it up and showed it to the crowd. The bill was all crumpled and dirty.
“Now who still wants it?”
All the hands still went up.
“My friends, I have just showed you a very important lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times, in our lives, life crumples us and grinds us into the dirt. We make bad decisions or deal with poor circumstances. We feel worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.”
To me, that is what emotional resilience is all about. Being able to bounce back from tough times. Being able to handle the ups and downs of life with grace, patience, and a smile. Being able to never lose sight of your own self-worth.
Here’s an exercise to illustrate emotional resilience. Take a pulse check. On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you feeling today? Right now? With a 10 being awesome and a 1 being not so hot, choose your number. Maybe it’s a Monday and the emails are piling up, so you are feeling like a 4. Or perhaps, it is Friday afternoon, and you are reading this before you shut down for the weekend, so you are feeling about an 8.
Throughout the day, how we are feeling shifts moment to moment. The day can start off well and then you see just one email from that angry tenant and all of a sudden, your number drops. Having emotional resilience is being able to bounce back after those bad episodes during your day.
There are 8 traits of Emotional Resilience that all of us can access to bounce back faster. Take a look at the list below and ask yourself, what do you already possess?
So, which of these traits do you possess? While having all 8 makes resilience and life easier, it isn’t necessary. The goal is to have at least two or three of these traits in your toolbox. To be able to use them when needed.
We all encounter tough and challenging times both professionally, and personally. The key is to respond in the best way possible. In addition to utilizing the traits you already have; you can develop a Bounce Back List. This is a catalogue of activities that can help you bounce back quickly and effectively. Every person’s list will be different, but you might have things such as:
What would be on your list? What activities bring a smile to your face? What can raise your number and improve your day?
One of the most important aspects to emotional resilience is joy. Being able to find happiness and joy at work helps to navigate life’s choppy waters. In fact, five minutes of joy can give you up to sixty minutes of productive energy. This is a great use for the Bounce Back List you have developed. When things are difficult, and you start to feel weighed down by everything on your to do list, taking a five-minute joy break can be exactly what you need. These joy breaks are a great way to help you bounce that number back up and keep going through the tough days. These tactics can help you stay focused, happy, and energetic.
Emotional resilience is a skill that can be developed with practice and intention. Taking a pulse check (on a scale of 1 to 10) is a great way to start identifying how you are feeling at any given moment. Being able to identify the traits that you already have, building your Bounce Back List, and taking joy breaks are all valuable tools in your emotional resilience toolkit.
It all comes back to that crumpled up $20 bill. You always have value and worth. You can always straighten yourself out. No matter what trials you face, you can always overcome them because you have the skills that you need. You are worthy. You are resilient. You are unstoppable.
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