Resiliency

The Borg Were Right.  Resistance IS Futile!

By Dorothy Tannahill-Moran

I’m recovering today from a late-night flight from Boston preceded by participating in a 3-day research study for Spasmodic Dysphonia (the vocal cord disorder I have).  It was interesting and at the same time, an unusual way to spend three days.

I didn’t come in contact with many people beyond the two research assistants, which did pretty much everything.  The thing I observed with these two very professional women was just how much they had to do to accommodate an ever-changing landscape of conditions.  The bulk of the work done with me was in an MRI, administering various liquids/medications, completion of repetitive forms and a new study approved on Day 1, which they had me also participate in.  Oh, and half of this had to be done in separate buildings in very different parts of the city. While all of that sounds simple enough, it never is.  The research MRI was used by multiple groups creating scheduling challenges and like so much technology had its moments of not behaving as well as it should in addition to other devices.  What I observed was a couple of people who were resilient, flexible and very adaptive to change on the fly as well as highly communicative.  It was like watching a downhill skier change skis without stopping skiing.  It was a thing of beauty and amazement.

Which brings me to the point.  Are you resilient to changes?  I’m talking about all types of change like things massively changing within an hour all the way to changing the course of your life. It can be changes both at work and changes to how you operate your life.

Resiliency and adapting are two survival skills we all need to master.  Life is all about change both large and small spanning small and large time segments.  It is the one constant in life yet many of us treat the change like a shock or surprise when change happens.  The surprise turns into anger and resentment for the less resilient among us.  Our inability to adapt can also be the fuel of self-ridicule when we see change as our failure.

When you can’t bounce back from the changes served up to you each day, it changes who you are.  To quote the Borg from Star Trek: “Resistance is futile.” And it is.

What are your alternatives and how do you improve your resiliency?

Work on it.  If you want to be able to handle change better, take on one of your weaknesses.  Do you lack personal confidence?  If so, look for strategies to improve your confidence.  Do you have a system that you can use to adapt to change?  If the answer is no, create a plan. 

Face facts.  You have to realize that plans for your future will never go as you thought they would.  This doesn’t mean they will all go poorly.  It means that all your plans will change with some going better and others going worse.  We tend to ignore change when change turns out great and react poorly when they don’t. Change = Life.

Always have a Plan B, C & D.  Just like these women, you should always have other options to help you push through to your goal.

Don’t give up. There is your goal and there are your actions.  Don’t give up on your goal simply because your actions toward your goal have been impacted.  There is always another set of actions you can take to keep you moving in the right direction.

Lighten up.  Egads! Lighten up on you, everyone and everything else.  Grow a sense of humor because isn’t that better than being unhappy?

Look at failure differently.  When things don’t turn out as you planned you can choose to look at it as a lesson and not a failure.  If you don’t learn anything from change, you aren’t paying attention.

Ask for help.  For some reason, we tend to think we have to do everything by ourselves and that isn’t how life works.  We are better and more powerful when problems arise, that we face them with another person.  Two heads are greater than the sum of their parts.  You can’t know or think of everything when a change arises but another person broadens perspective and alternatives.

There’s a reason Darwin said the key to survival is the ability to adapt.

May you be resilient and happy!

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Dorothy Tannahill-Moran calls herself the “Introvert Whisper,” helping people to find career success by providing unique, actionable career advice. Dorothy also has had spasmodic dysphonia for about 20 years. She shares her advice, but with a twist.

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