Can you remember a time when you got the wind knocked out of you? You were going strong only to be derailed by something totally unexpected. How did you react? Did you get up, dust yourself off, and keep going? It’s moments like these that test us. They give us the opportunity to show us what we’re really made of.
For me, when I think of the word, “resilient”, I think about perseverance. It’s being able to measure how much you really want something and what you are willing and able to do to get it. Life can treat us just like a rubber band. It pulls us and stretches us in so many different directions until we’re either completely out of shape, snap or we bounce back. Some people are wired with a lot of resiliency, others have to work on it. Whether you’re on the court or building a business, it’s a skill you have to continue to refine in order to win. Here are some ways I found that can help you continue to build resilience.
- Know Yourself
No one knows you better than you. When you’re faced with challenges how do you normally react? Do you jump at the chance to solve a problem or do you give up after the first try? The trick is to know your limitations and to take an honest assessment of your skills and experiences. Leaders who are resilient know what they are lacking. They acknowledge their shortcomings and don’t try to hide it, but they find a way to get the assistance they need to keep their eyes on the prize.
- Create Measurable Goals
We all need something to work towards or else we’re just flying blindly through life. Here’s the thing: You were created for a reason and you have a purpose. The challenge is discovering it. Creating goals can help. It’s like having a map. It’s going to give you direction and help you be intentional about the things you want to accomplish. Write them down. Make them specific. Make them measurable, relevant and time-sensitive. When you start having intentional goals you become focused on the road ahead so when life’s little detours occur, your resiliency kicks in and you can still keep your internal GPS en route to your destination.
- Curb Unrealistic Expectations
When my second injury occurred, that was tough. I had worked so hard to come back only to be derailed- again! This was my test of resilience. After 11+ years of playing basketball, what would be my next chapter? God had a plan for me for making an impact beyond just basketball. No one knows what the future holds, but having unrealistic expectations of ourselves can damage long-term goals, steer you off course, and just be unhealthy. Building resilience means acknowledging that we may not have the answers, but we continue to move forward in faith.
- Don’t Be Negative
It’s hard when life knocks you down not to be negative and it’s OK to be upset or discouraged in that moment, but a lot of times people will use that negativity to just accept that’s just how it is or how it’s going to be. Don’t! Cut off those negative sources that are feeding you information, accept that there are things that can and can’t control. Work on maintaining a positive view of yourself and you can start to train the negativity out of you with some practice and self-awareness. Oh, and smile. You’ll be amazed at its power and effect it has on others!
- Build Solid Relationships
I’m reminded of the verse from Proverbs that says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I’ve always believed that you should surround yourself with people that can challenge you. They will push you to strive for excellence and that applies to everything from sports to business, to your spiritual life. Building resiliency doesn’t just come from improving yourself from the inside out, it also comes from cultivating relationships with trusted friends and peers that will motivate you to be a better person, a well-rounded leader, and an encourager for others.
- Take Care of Yourself
If you’re like me, there are days when you can push yourself to your limit. We’re not meant to survive on endless amounts of coffee and there’s no way you can be your best self if you’re running on fumes. It’s important to take care of your body with regular exercise, the right amount of sleep, and proper nutrition. Remember to set aside that time in the day, whether it’s in the morning or before you go to bed, to reflect, pray, and just have time for you! As the saying goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
- Reward the Small Wins
You did it! When you take the time to celebrate your small victories you’re rewarding yourself for each milestone along the way and that’s a good thing. It’s a great motivator and the high five you just might need to get yourself over the next hurdle to keep moving forward. Building resilience doesn’t happen overnight, so make sure you’re building up your confidence by acknowledging your achievements.
- Practice Mental Toughness
This is a big one, especially as an athlete. When the spotlight is on you and you’re required to give the best of your abilities in a pressure cooker, it’s game on! It’s about preparing yourself for the next challenge. It’s about visualizing what is coming and projecting a positive outcome. This goes for whatever you want to do, whether it’s prepping for an interview, walking into a boardroom for a presentation, or trying to win the game. Picture the outcome in your head. Get rid of the negative thoughts and take the shot!
- Accept Criticism
I took a break from social media because I wanted to clear my head and have time to focus on the things I wanted to do post, NBA. I started a podcast because I wanted to inspire people with stories from folks that I admired who bet on themselves and found success. But I’m learning as I go. If you want to build up resilience, you have to be able to accept that you can’t do everything right. You learn how to take constructive criticism and use it to your advantage and not take it personally. Remember, that good leaders are always learning.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Anytime you’re trying something new there’s always a bit of reluctance. You can self-sabotage yourself into procrastination, anxiety, or fear of the unknown. Resilient people know how to work past this and they aren’t afraid to fail, they’re afraid of not trying! You don’t have to be perfect at everything. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skill! Resilient people stumble and fall. They learn from their failures. Then they brush themselves off and they try again and again and course correct. Failure might be an option, but it doesn’t have to define your outcome or success.
When hardships come (and they’re going to come), the more you’ve been able to work on building up your resilience, the more equipped you’ll be to handle those unexpected twists and turns on the road of life. I ask my guests on the podcast what it means to them to “bet on yourself” and the answers I get are always fascinating. Betting on Yourself means having a high amount of resilience. It means not just having the courage to step out in faith, but knowing enough about yourself to have the confidence that you can bounce back and keep moving forward, no matter what.
Listen to the latest episode of my podcast, Betting on Yourself. Make sure you subscribe to my email list to stay connected with me and never miss an update!