Bouncing Back from a Set-back

March 6th, 2014 by Maryanne Honeycutt

failure success

Brooks and Grayson both get cut from the team. Grayson accepts that he is not a good player and gives up baseball, but Brooks doubles down and plays harder, convinced that his next tryout will be more successful.

Terry and Jack’s performance was a disappointment, and their report was judged a failure. Jack sees the painful feedback as a needed lesson, determined to improve the next time. Terry decides that in the future she will not attempt a project so complex and high-profile.

John and Chris’s ten year relationship has come to a bitter end. John is convinced that if this relationship could not work, then love and companionship are simply not in his future. Chris, however, believes that the painful lessons of this relationship will help make future relationships more fulfilling.

Why do some people bounce back from disappointment and failure while others take on and store up the negativity from set-backs and get crushed beneath their weight? What makes people resilient? From the board room to the classroom and from the playground to the battlefield, we all seem to be yearning for a formula for resilience. How do we spot it, hire it, measure it, develop and teach it?

Emotional Intelligence are those skills and behaviors that allow you to know, motivate and manage yourself and your own emotions and reactions while also relate to, interact with and motivate others. Having high EQ means you tend to bring varied socio-emotional skills together in your dealings with the world around you.  If you are emotionally intelligent, you tend to bring both self-awareness and interpersonal sensitivity to life’s problems, stressors and set-backs—and by so-doing, bounce back from disappointment.

So the key to resilience is EQ.

MHS’s EQ-i2.0 model details 15 components of emotional intelligence, and while each one of these elements plays a role in our resilience, there are six of these elements that stand out as key to our emotional ability to endure and recover from set-backs.

  • Self-Regard: Resilience is built on your ability to see yourself clearly—both your positive and negative qualities—and believe yourself to be a good and likeable persona.
  • Self-Actualization: This engine of resilience is your ability and tendency to set goals and strive toward their completion—to want to be the best that you can be.
  • Emotional Self-Awareness: Before you can act on and manage your emotions, you must first realize what they are and why you are feeling them. To manage stress, shoulder it and drive on, you must first understand your stress triggers and why you feel the way you do. Resilience starts with Emotional Self-Awareness.
  • Flexibility: Your ability to take in new data and change your mind or course of action is key to bouncing back.
  • Stress Tolerance: While there are hundreds of ways you can mitigate stress or blow off steam, having a set of tools or approaches that reduce your stress levels allows you to stay engaged with life and the people and problems that demand your attention.
  • Optimism: Of course, your ability to hope and to see the future as a place of promise is the very fuel of resilience. You hang in there because it could work out and have a happy ending.

Resilience is a tough EQ challenge:  three of the six above EQ elements (Self-Regard, Self-Actualization and Optimism) also happen to be the three hardest elements to develop.

What’s more, these three challenging elements also correlate highly to one another. My ability to set and strive towards goals (Self-Actualization) is dependent on my ability to see the future as a positive place (Optimism)—otherwise, why bother with the goal? And I will not expend much effort at all on goal completion if I don’t believe myself to be worthy of the effort (Self-Regard).

These three EQ elements comprise the holy trinity of the EQ-i—foundational to the model, highly inter-related and dependent upon each other. They are essential to resilience and very challenging to teach or develop. However, no one can show resilience without them.

© OKA, Hile Rutledge

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