Resilience—Bouncing Back from Setbacks

Being back in Joplin, my hometown and site of the deadliest tornado in recent American memory that hit last May 22, 2011, is both heartbreaking and uplifting.  When we were in Joplin one year ago, only days after the EF-5 twister hit, it was a scene of devastation that one only sees in movies or in your worst nightmares.

When in Joplin helping my family and when reading about the efforts to dig out, regroup, and rebuild, it was awe-inspiring to see and read about the resilience of the human spirit in the 50,000 citizens of Joplin and the unselfish giving of the some 80,000 volunteers who came from all over the country to do what they could to help total strangers.

Resilient is the word most used to describe the citizens of Joplin who, in spite of everything they’ve been through and everything they have yet to face, have been determined to work tirelessly to build back and do much more than just survive!

While in Joplin writing this article, it strikes me that resilient is also the word we use to describe performers who are able to face mistakes, setbacks, or undesirable performances and as a result or in spite of their circumstance—can learn, regroup, and come back stronger than ever.   Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, resilient performers find a way to bounce back quickly with strength and purpose.

In the performers’ case—experiencing performances that you are unhappy with, setbacks, or even failures—resilience is an essential part of a growth mindset and a quality necessary for individuals to bounce back from setbacks and adversity.

The qualities resilient performers possess to cope with adversity include having belief in themselves and their abilities, a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.  Many people, performers included, develop resilience as a natural part of the development of the growth mindset described by Carol S. Dweck in her book, Mindset.  Others, however, can learn to cultivate resilient behaviors in order to learn from their setbacks and bounce back from disappointment.  If you are a performer who needs to become more resilient, look at the following behaviors:

 1. Build Positive Beliefs—Confidence—in Your Abilities

Developing, practicing, and maintaining high and stable confidence will help performers cope with stress and recover from mistakes, setbacks, and disappointments quickly.  Regularly reminding yourself of the reasons you have to strongly believe in your abilities and skills is an important part of being a confident and resilient performer.  Becoming more confident about your own ability to respond and deal with setbacks and disappointment is a great way to build resilience for the future.  CLICK HERE to read about writing your own Confidence Resume!

 2. Identify Your Long- and Short-Term Goals

Identifying both long- and short-term goals and committing to work toward these goals can play an important role in your motivation level as well as attitude when you experience a setback or disappointment.  Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way, and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.

Remember to write your goals down and to review them often.  Just because you’ve written them down does not mean they are set in stone.  Goals, like you, will change and grow.  Make sure you update your goals as you continue to grow.

3. Develop a Strong Support Network

Having caring, supportive people around you can help you stay strong and resilient in the face of adversity.  While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one will not make troubles go away, but it allows you to share your feelings, gain support, receive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your challenges or problems.

4. Embrace Change

Flexibility is an essential part of resilient performing.  By accepting and learning from mistakes and failure and be open to change and possible discomfort that change can cause, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with the next setback.  Resilient performers utilize failures or less-than-desirable performances as opportunities to learn and ways to seek valuable feedback.  While some performers may try to avoid unfamiliar situations, discomfort, or change, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

Log in again next time to read Resilience—Bouncing Back, Pt. 2 and read about four more behaviors performers can incorporate in order to cultivate resilience.  I would love to hear about your experiences of bouncing back from setbacks and adversity in your performing.

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