Building resilience 2: Move away from “victim” mindset

Stuff happens. All the time. 

When asked what would most likely blow his government off course, Prime Minister Harold MacMillan replied “Events, dear boy. Events.”

When you’re trying to lead (from wherever you are in your organisation) you will feel the winds of events more powerfully than those around you. 

You’ve planned your approach. You know you need this much time to get this really important thing done. And then… the key person on your team becomes unwell and is off for two weeks. Or your boss changes her mind and throws a curveball new priority into the mix that needs to be done right now. 

It would be really easy to throw up your hands and throw in the towel. Or at least say something like…

“Why does this always happen to me?”

But do you see the “victim-think”? It sounds like your success is governed by external things you can’t control and when they move against you, you’re bound to lose. 

Two things. 

First… This is completely utterly true. If your business is selling scampdoodles and the government suddenly bans scampdoodles… You’re in trouble. 

But. Second. You have a choice how you react to that situation. You can throw up your hands. Or you can get your head in the game and work out what to do next. 

I’ve talked about asking better questions before. Using John Miller’s QBQ idea to switch from “why does this always happen to me?” to “what am I going to DO about it?”

If you get into the habit of reframing situations in this way, you move away from seeing events as buffeting you unfairly, to seeing them as a normal part of the landscape you’re navigating. You move from seeing yourself as a victim of circumstance, to the realisation that you’re responsible for charting a course through the circumstance.

In other words, you’re taking big steps to building…

the capacity to recognise the majority of difficulties as normal, and the possession of a mindset and collection of approaches to handle complexity and challenge positively and pro-actively.

I think that’s a strong resilience mindset.

Click here for Part 3 of this series: Managing your mental wellbeing where I talk about a sickness-wellness-fitness continuum, judging where you are and modifying your approach accordingly.

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