Thriving Amidst Chaos

As Bob Dylan once said, the times, they are a-changin’. And with all this change comes uncertainty, disruption and new challenges. So what’s the key to thriving in the midst of this disorder? Resiliency.

In the NextGen online training, “Staying Resilient Amidst Chaos,” three experts shared their advice on what resiliency means, what it looks like in practice and how to make it a part of your daily routine. Check out their tips below.

Ginny Hill, Senior Manager, Partnership for Public Service:

  • “When we talk about resiliency, we’re talking about an essential ability to bounce back from setbacks. But it can also be just having the ability to move through difficult circumstances.”
  • Resiliency can involve improvising. Ask yourself, “I’m here, what do I need?”
  • Find ways to practice improvisation. We can’t always have a script. Getting comfortable with improvisation could mean, for example, leading a brainstorming session where you’re not trying to control the outcome but just focusing on being curious.
  • “Resiliency is not about ignoring the negatives. It’s not about optimism or pessimism; it’s about realism.”
  • Set reasonable expectations. We can’t control reality, and we can’t control other’s actions, so it can be helpful to take that into account when deciding what success looks like.
  • “Translate expectations into preferences.”

Jamie Crews, Senior Manager, Organizational Development, Orange County’s Human Resource Services:

  • When talking about resiliency, “we’re talking about managing our energy. Be aware of your tells. When you’re starting to get overwhelmed, or the situation is starting to get adverse, how do you start acting?” Be aware of your behavior and you can identify situations where you need to make a change in order to stay resilient.
  • To help others, find a way to reach out and connect. You don’t have to be an official leader to support your coworkers or friends.
  • Resiliency is about intentionality. Don’t be on autopilot. Imagine what success would look like in a particular situation, and think about what you need in the moment to move in that direction.
  • De-couple your identity from your work identity. This can help you avoid burnout. Taking pride in your work is important, but you need to be able to separate your personal and professional selves.
  • Don’t wait until things are off-track to be resilient. Practice tuning in to your emotions and energy during normal day-to-day activities, so you’ll be able to react when the going gets tough.

Victoria Wei, Honolulu District Manager for Technical Operations, Air Traffic Organization, Federal Aviation Administration:

  • “Resiliency is about adapting.”
  • Find someone to talk with, to articulate what you’re feeling and what you’re going through.
  • You can do breathing exercises in the moment to both energize and relax yourself.
  • Try keeping a gratitude journal. Keep track of what you’re grateful for every day, and reflect on what you’re thankful for in your life.
  • Find an ally on your team – a friend, a support network, someone you can rely on in a relationship that is mutually beneficial in terms of boosting both parties’ resilience.
  • Find and seek out joy, because that can counteract the stress responses that your body will experience in difficult situations.
Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

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