How gratitude can build resilience
Have you noticed how uneasy we are with failure? We either make our mistake a big deal or throw ourselves into defending the space between our intended target and where we landed. What differentiates success and failure is what we do AFTER we miss our goal.
Failure is part of life. It starts early. Think about a baby learning to walk. They fall, get up and fall again. Eventually walking is easier and falling less frequent. We don’t tell the baby to give up because they aren’t good at walking. Even the thought of saying that feels ridiculous. Falling is part of discovering what works and what doesn’t. It’s also how we develop strength, resilience and agility. We all fall. Our different responses to falling determine future opportunity.
Let’s think about our appreciation habit. How good are you at thanking others? How often do you let people know what they do, how it helps, and why it matters? If we went and randomly asked the people in your personal and professional arena what you appreciate about them, would they know? Is there anything else you can do? Have you given up, slowed down or stopped thanking people? Gratitude and resilience have a LOT in common. If you want to be agile, then start with strengthening your gratitude practice.
We all like to leverage our strengths. It’s more comfortable to be successful. However, in the world we live and work, not a day goes by that we aren’t faced with a new challenge. Some type change, direction, assignment, SOMETHING that we don’t like or aren’t prepared for is waiting. . . Here’s the rub – we won’t get to BE more if we don’t keep going. Failure is not failure unless we quit.
The difference between successful people and those who are not is who gets back up. If you are currently in a slump and ready to throw in the towel – don’t. Instead, pull up a chair, rest a bit and keep reading about a few famous failures:
- Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”.
- Beethoven was told that he was a hopeless composer by his teachers.
- Abraham Lincoln repeatedly failed to get elected into political office and failed at business before becoming president.
- Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.
- Bill Gates dropped out of college AND his first business failed.
- Oprah was fired from her job as a reporter because they didn’t think she was suited to be on television.
- Sir James Dyson of the famed Dyson vacuum cleaner was not successful until after 5126 failed prototypes.
Whether the challenge is a new work assignment, pursuing a fitness or financial goal, professional development, expanding our network, or connecting with people through intentional appreciation – we need to anticipate some bumps and falling in the road. As we fall, get tired or discouraged, we may discover our best selves when we learn to rest, not to quit. Be curious instead of critical. Ask, “What more can I do to help achieve success?”
- What do I want? How do I decide?
- What is my behavior/practice? How do I show-up?
- What fuels my actions? How do I follow-through?
Start by thanking someone. Create the opportunity for them to experience the power of appreciation. Don’t delay. Do it. Be specific. Be bold and unapologetic. Let them know what they do and why it is valuable. You may feel awkward, but do it. Remember to rest, not quit. If you don’t do it perfectly, you’ll get to discover and learn. Keep going. Pull up a chair if you need to; don’t throw in the towel.
May you have a delightful day. . . And remember to rest instead of quit.
~Val Fullmer-Wiggins, Intuitive Feedback Coach