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Resilience – Techniques to apply every day

Life is not always smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the brain is also not always programmed to help us in the best way to be resilient and overcome negative thoughts or perceived obstacles – in fact, most of us are programmed with a negativity bias.

In this blog post, I am going to discuss resilience and two ways that you can mitigate against this – to help you get out of a negative thought cycle and overcome any perceived barrier to your latest goal or project.

Understanding the two brain networks

There are two major networks in the brain – the Default Mode Network and the Central Executive Network – and when we wake up at the weekend and, perhaps, don’t have a particular plan in mind our brain goes in to Default Mode. This mode is about connecting with other people and making relationships. When we are left without something to specifically focus upon, in this mode, we can latch on to things we haven’t done and things we shouldn’t have done. Quite often these thoughts are negative in nature.

By contrast, the Central Executive Network kicks in when we have a task to do or a project. The brain can only be in one mode or the other, so when we’re in task-focussed mode the brain switches over and altogether that’s a more positive, goal-seeking and rewarding network.

So, what can we learn from this to make us more resilient?

If you find yourself engaged in negative thoughts, the chances are your brain is in Default Mode – so the trick to stopping this is to consciously focus on a project or objective. Make a plan. Write a list. This way there will be a positive switch and it’ll put you in a much better mood.

Hitting an obstacle

Now, let’s think about what happens when you encounter an obstacle. Perhaps, you receive some bad news or you are told you can not progress as planned. Perhaps, you are asked to do a piece of work again or you realise that an idea you had is not possible.

I recently had a set back with some building work we had hoped to get planning for. My first reaction was to catastrophise and think “oh my goodness, this is all so terrible!”.

However, then I remembered some advice I once heard.

If you have a narrow field of focus and you hit an obstacle, it will completely block you.

Therefore, it is really important to take a longer term, more holistic perspective. When you do this, the blockage simply disappears.

You can see a way over, round or under it! It becomes a temporary set which won’t really affect your ultimate future.

So, think about any obstacles you are facing at the moment – can you take a wider perspective? Can you take a more longer-term view? If so, what possibilities open up to you then?

Resilience training and one-to-one guidance

As organisations navigate their way through the effects of the pandemic and disruption of global supply chains, it can be easy for leadership teams to see only barriers and obstacles and become overwhelmed with negativity.

If you’d like to switch mindsets and start looking for ways around perceived blockages, so that you can reach your long-terms goals and fulfil your ambitions, speak to me about my Executive Coaching today – email tom.flatau@team-working.com or call me on +44 (0)7785 906 744 .

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