Last week I had the privilege of facilitating a strategic planning advance (my word for retreat!) at Auburn University. Some of my research for that and the insights provided has me still pondering. The Department head wanted some of the discussion to include resilience and renewal, since the faculty had just finished a very busy year, leaving some with feelings of overwork and needing to renew their spirit. (I certainly appreciate the Department Head recognizing the need for this, and making it a part of the session.) I could identify, not as much from a personal experience in my own work, but from many discussions with clients in the past few months. As I did my mental work for the session as well as research, I found some of the reasons for people feeling overworked and overwhelmed, and some solutions. My research included some information from my notes of a session I attended almost a year ago at a leadership session of the Outdoor Industry. The term VUCA was mentioned as the new normal. VUCA is an acronym for-Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Just think about that. It rings true to others when I say it, and probably to you as well. And at the same time that there is ever increasing complexity, there is an aversion to complexity, with many feeling the need to simplify. That is probably the reason for the major success of the book, The Japanese art of Tidying Up. We are living in a global world, with an increase in global consciousness, and can no longer escape the political and economic unrest that is present on many levels worldwide.
In the US, confidence in public institutions including schools, churches and banks is at an all time low. As a result of all of the VUCA, there is an epidemic of fatigue. People are looking for solutions in many places. Many people are on a spiritual quest, for when the system doesn’t work, people look for higher authority.
Whereas spirituality is one way that some people manage VUCA, how people cope in general during times like this varies. Some people cope with significant stress with external means such as alcohol and medications (prescription or otherwise.) If one is clinically depressed or has other mental health conditions, medication is often needed and should be used. In the event of a major loss or other life changing event, such as the death of a loved one, medication (and hopefully talk therapy) may be needed for a period of time. For the rest of us dealing with daily challenges, the following are better ways to manage those.
13 Ways to Build Resilience
- Have good, supportive relationships
- Reframe – see problems as surmountable
- Accept that change is a part of living
- Have goals and move toward them
- Take decisive action
- Have self awareness, self regulation, and self efficacy
- Be confident
- Develop perspective
- Be optimistic
- Practice self care-good nutrition, enough quality sleep, exercise, etc.
- Accept that failure and loss are a part of life
- Do not look for your self worth in your job
- Have a sense of purpose
Many people today are focusing on happiness, and finding that happiness does not come from external things. It never has. Current happiness research is even more telling about this. *Happiness facts: 40% of our happiness comes from our daily life and the choices we make. Our actions make a difference. Only about 10% of our happiness comes from our circumstances (income, environment, etc.) 50% of the variation in our personal happiness comes from our genes.”
To manage VUCA effectively and all of its consequences remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”