Late last year, I was having one of the most awesome weeks – clients were getting back to me, meetings were happening, I was back at training hitting levels no one was expecting, my family was happy, and my parents had offered to look after our daughter for the weekend. And it was shaping up to be an all-round awesome weekend as well. #crushinglife
And then it happened. In a random, unexpected, quite uninteresting and trivial way, my husband sustained an injury to his left eye and it threw the next four days out completely. We spent the next 24 hours in and out of optometrists and hospitals, every hour having to administer treatment to his eye (including every hour throughout the night). His vision was completely gone so I played not only nurse but chauffeur as well. When our daughter arrived home after her fun-filled weekend at Granny & Pop’s, within 24 hours she had picked up a nasty cough and I ended up on my hands and knees catching her vomit as she was violently ill at 2:00 am in the morning.
The following day, I was presenting to a group of clients like nothing had happened and the world was working exactly how it should be. They were none the wiser about the action-packed weekend I had experienced.
What does any of this have to do with high performance?
Well, a lot really. While I wouldn’t recommend it, events like this happen all the time. You’ll be powering along, crushing life when something comes at you left of centre and throws your whole vibe completely out. And it’s often not as dramatic as my above example. It could be a simple rejection to a sales pitch you weren’t expecting, a drop in the markets, a resignation from a key team member or even a 4-year old’s tantrum over not being able to wear her favourite sparkly pink high heels to preschool. Any one of these examples can put you completely off course and change the outcomes of your day.
For me, I could have fallen in a heap. I could have used it as an excuse not to achieve what needed to be done that weekend, week, month etc. I could have complained to everyone about my weekend. I could have focused my energy on all the things I missed out on doing because of our changed focus. I could have let the events of Friday afternoon affect my mood and approach to everything.
Instead, I focused on the positives, on what we could control and create. In the grand scheme of things, my husband was fine – he was alive and the injury would heal to 100% (over a number of months with regular treatment). I maintained my nutrition to ensure I had enough fuel to keep me going for whatever he needed while unable to function properly himself. I got in as much sleep as possible to make sure I had energy to keep me going not only throughout the weekend but also through the following week. I practiced my positive mindset and looked for the opportunities I was being presented with (one being the fact I got a new blog topic out of it!).
Building your resilience to stress
No matter what your strengths, a weakness in mindset is a detractor on performance. We’ve spoken in the past about the stress curve and what stress does to our mind and body. A quick recap…when we push ourselves into a state of overwhelm, we allow our amygdala to take control which hijacks our pre-frontal cortex and cuts off our executive function. This is our rational thinking and emotion control function. And so, at a time when we need the most composure and rational thought, we have none. It’s an annoying little design flaw. This is when we’ll probably start barking orders at people, rushing through things or focusing our energy on the wrong activities. If we don’t get this in check, we can cause more harm than good.
Building your resilience to stress is how we respond to these situations, and enables you to build your stress muscle up. This level of strength is what differentiates individuals in different scenarios. You’ll look at some people and think, “Really? You’re stressed? About that? Ok!”. And then you’ll look at other people and go, “How are they not having a nervous breakdown? And they seem to be completely fine!”. It is simply different levels of resilience to stress.
We are experts at helping you to build your resilience and resistance to stress so that things don’t feel so bad for your individual stress levels. It’s better to train for this rather than have to wait for the event to happen and test your resilience at an inopportune time. If you’d like to learn more about how to increase your resilience levels, get in contact with us today.
If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.