What to do when resilience isn't enough

What to do when resilience isn't enough

Posted: Fri 22nd Oct 2021

Resilience has been a business buzzword for several years now. Indeed, ensuring your business is resilient enough to weather the slings and arrows of economic misfortune has long been a priority for any CEO.

But in the wake of the pandemic, businesses are surrounded by more fear, fog and stasis uncertainty (FFS) than ever before. In fact, according to one study, 50% of CEOs cited uncertainty as the greatest threat to their business. And the majority agreed the most important factor in outperforming their peers was their tolerance to uncertainty (UT).

But these days we need more than resilience, we need to develop the skills to fight back. By understanding the true role uncertainty plays in all decision-making, and learning new ways to think - we can all turn uncertainty into success. But how?

1. Reframe your fear

Fear has the power to stop you in your tracks. But if you compare your short term fear with the long term regret of missing out - uncertainty doesn’t look so scary after all.

When we put this to the test, 80% of our audience said their greatest fear was failure; yet 85% said the regret they most wanted to avoid was missed opportunity.

Once they’d reframed their fears against the risk of regret, by the end of the show, 90% said they wanted to embrace uncertainty.

Ask yourself: What are the costs of giving in to fear, what missed opportunities might those fears lead to? Write it down if it helps and when you weigh them up, what’s really worse - fear or regret?

2. Adversities become superpowers

What do all superheroes have in common? Well it’s not a cape, it’s an origin story and the same is true of us. Based on our experiences, our brains update the way they predict the world.

But if you can find the benefits in the adversities you’ve overcome, your brain will learn to embrace challenges and see them as lessons. If we reframe our attitude to tough times, then whatever doesn’t kill us, really can make us stronger.

Ask yourself: What are the greatest adversities that you’re proudest to have overcome? What are the best lessons (or powers) you’ve gained from the times you thought you’d enjoyed the least?

3. Recognise your negativity bias

Our brains love to be negative, always worrying about worst case scenarios, and these thoughts can be overwhelming. Of our 60,000 thoughts a day, 85% are negative and yet less than 3% of our worries ever come true - many of which we often handle better than expected.

Ask yourself: Rather than dwell on the negatives, can you focus on possible positive outcomes and silver linings? This helps calm your anxiety and over time builds your confidence.

4. Broaden your circle

Being with other people reduces anxiety avoiding behaviours, much like chocolate and wine. Human connection triggers oxytocin which makes us happier.

But if you want to level up and push anxiety down, widen your circle to include different world views. Your brain absorbs other people’s experiences, widening your perspective and increasing your patience.

Ask yourself: Are you at your best on your own, or with others? And how do you go about making friends with people you might enjoy disagreeing with?

5. Own your anxiety

According to ONS data, over half the UK is experiencing anxiety. However, science shows that sharing your anxiety will give you more control over it - any feelings of shame will be reduced by the acknowledgement you’ll find in others.

Ask yourself: What are you comfortable sharing about your anxieties? Try it out, even on social media. The next time anxiety knocks, don’t keep it to yourself.

Uncertainty is the biggest driver of anxiety, and of creativity! We can’t control uncertainty, but we can train our brain to increase its response to it.

Like a muscle, small regular exercises or experiences in uncertainty will lead to greater mental adaptiveness, and less likelihood to be thrown off course by the world's ever-changing events.

Rip up your routine, order something you never try, take a route home you never have. If you can surprise yourself regularly, you will develop your mental strength.

Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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