Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Face uncomfortable situations, part of Building Resilience.
- The journey of raising your resilience threshold is about becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. What do I mean by that? Comfort is something we all seek in our lives. We get set in our routines, we build our strengths, and we stay relatively close to what is familiar to us, avoiding the unknown, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. One of the strategies for improving your resilience is to begin facing uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations.
Let me give you an example of one of my colleagues. He's born and raised in the Midwest, he's well-educated, credible, an award-winning faculty member. He's extremely proficient in his field of study, but he's noticed that the landscape of his industry is changing. It has become more international, requiring academics like himself to stretch his research outside of the United States, and perhaps even teach overseas. In the past few years, he has taken action that reminds me of this resilience strategy for you.
He picked a country he was interested in, he studied the implication of his field in that country, and he prepared himself to visit and aimed for a grant that would allow him to travel. He spent over a month there, networking, creating connections that resulted in a short-term teaching assignment. This rich experience of this assignment provided him with an array of cross-cultural examples and overall international exposure. This was not an easy task. We discussed the level of energy that it took for him to adapt to a different culture, become attuned to the people, and get the most out of the experience.
He told me that he felt that he grew so much from this experience. He became motivated by the challenge, and he drew from the most challenging parts of the experience. Asking for a stretch assignment, getting you on a committee where you have a low profile, or exploring a new field that pushes you outside of your expertise, are all examples of challenging situations. Like the strategy of facing rejection, or learning a new skill, you can start with something small. For example, ride your bicycle up a steep hill, where you're not sure you can make it.
Join an activity you've not always been proficient in, or sign up for a class you know doesn't play to your strengths. Facing challenging situations helps you get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and resilience is all about discomfort. I'm not asking you to make yourself miserable, but I'm asking you to stretch yourself, and be prepared for stressful events in the future.