build your resilience

How to build Your Career Confidence & Resilience in a Crisis (part 1)

How has the lock down impacted your career and your resilience?

Are you facing redundancy, being furloughed, taking a pay cut, trying to keep your business afloat, overloaded with work or feeling like your career is on hold? In the current crisis we have no map or plan to guide us through our responses. Geopolitically we’re all used to relative stability and predictability and that certainly for the short term is under threat. Our health, security, finances and social life are all affected, and so are our careers.

As a result you may be experiencing a whole range of emotions including anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, or sadness.

You may also find yourself judging your reactions and evaluating your responses:

  • Am I motivated or not?
  • Do I feel optimistic or not?
  • Am I working hard enough?
  • Is my team working hard enough?
  • Is my career going to be safe or not?

While you may feel out of control and full of fear about the future, there are things you can do to feel more resilient and confident to deal with whatever direction your career takes post crisis. My 4-part blog series will help you navigate the lock down and crisis.

Understand your current confidence and resilience levels

This is my formula for career confidence:

Career confidence = hope + optimism + strengths + resilience

Hope is not blind faith kind of hope it’s more than that. It’s having a goal and a plan to reach that goal. Read more about How Hope Can Boost Your Career. Optimism is feeling positive about a future outcome (which may feel hard to do right now, but we’ll come on to that later). Understanding your strengths and believing that you can perform using those strengths is another facet of career confidence. Believing that you’ve done it once, therefore you can do it again. And resilience – we’re going to explore in more depth because it’s a particularly important right now.

What is Resilience?

Your ability:

  • to bounce back
  • to cope with the unexpected or unplanned events/situations
  • to learn & grow from experiences
  • to care for ourselves

Why is it important now?

We’re having to cope with uncertainty and lack of control. Our brains like to have certainty so will fill in uncertainty with worst case scenarios even if they’re based on flimsy evidence. This then impacts our positivity and optimism so we may feel like we are just surviving rather than thriving. Plus, we feel we’ve little control – the future for our job/career is unclear and we can’t plan for it.

And we’re having to cope with our own job situation. We may be worried about finances, or job loss.

If you’re a manager/business owner then it could also be that you’re coping with your employee’s job situations too and having to make hard decisions about people’s futures.

We need to maintain our optimism and positivity to balance out the overwhelming negativity presented to us daily.

What does this look like in practice?

There are 3 stages we will experience:

Respond                             Manage our emotions & situation. There needs to be a period of adjustment to move from fear to acceptance. Initially we may experience a flight or fight response, but we can’t stay in crisis mode indefinitely. It’s not good for our physical or mental health, as it increases our allostatic load. This is the wear and tear on our bodies from living in a constant stress response. The chemicals our brains release to deal with a stressor can lead to us feeling tired, foggy and unmotivated when they are constantly present.

Recover                              Learn from what we are experiencing so we can emerge stronger. You’re probably already noticing things you want to continue to do post crisis.

Thrive                                 Prepare for the next normal – considering how do we want to be in the near future and what do you want to be different – less commuting, more wfh,

If we don’t learn and change from this experience, then we are not being resilient we are just surviving.

How confident and resilient are your feeling right now?

On a scale of 1- 5 with 5 being very resilient and confident, give yourself a score that represents how you feel either combined for resilience and confidence or a score for each. Or you can take my confidence test here. It’s normal for levels to fluctuate as we need to actively build and protect our confidence and our resilience reserves.

I’m a wobbly 4 – so naturally an optimist and a positive thinker, although married to the complete opposite which has its own challenges! I do have anxieties about our family situation, and I am sensitive to the collective consciousness too, so I know I need to work hard to maintain my resilience.

What depletes your resilience reserves?

It’s important to understand what reduces your resilience so you can attend to it.

  • Poor sleep at least 7-8 hours
  • The news
  • Emotional overload – coping with the yoyoing emotions experienced in the crisis
  • Physical overload – volume of work/ hours/ running a home
  • Stress and worries – brain is wired to look for risk and negativity and this means in our current situation you may feel you are on hyper alert for risk
  • Lack of a support system or having to be a support for others

What can you do to build your resilience?

  • Time to invest in what you find uplifting – meditation/ spirituality / physical/creativity/ what gives you energy
  • Look for the positives and the helpers – need to work harder to see the good because our brain looks for negatives. Notice people who are natural helpers, they’ll be in your community, organization and nationally. Seeing others taking positive action gives you hope.
  • Work out what your “comfort food” is – the things that makes you feel safe and secure.  (people, activities, movies, self-development, music, etc.)
  • Remember you are doing your part. By working from home and social distancing you are contributing to your employer’s survival as well as protecting the health service.
  • Make a list of what you can control. Remind yourself you’re not powerless, you can shift your attention to what you can control in your career.

Now make a plan to boost your resilience. It’ll help to restore your sense of agency and your self-confidence, especially if you scored yourself 3 or below. Create some time to focus on building up your resilience reserves.

In part 2 we’ll look at 3 easy things you can do to boost your career confidence. You can also watch the full webinar on Build your Career Confidence and Resilience in a Crisis

confidence quiz

Join my FREE email challenge to become more confident at work in 5 days

If your inner critic is keeping your stuck, or you feel like an imposter at work, take part in my challenge to boost your confidence and achieve what you know you are capable of in your career!

Photo courtesy of Jon [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *