How building resilience can help you respond to setbacks and adversity?
This posting was inspired by watching my home town rugby league team, Wigan Warriors overcome a serious setback during the match last night. After 57 minutes of the match (which lasts for 80 minutes), they were losing by 28 points to 14 to Warrington Wolves. In the 57th minute, Ben Flower, one of the Wigan players was sent off for foul play. This left the Wigan team with only 12 players for the remainder of the match against a Warrington team that at that stage were on top and seemed destined to win.
In the next 23 minutes, Wigan scored 21 points and went onto win the match by 35 points to 28 and celebrate a historic victory against the odds. So what lessons can we learn from this Wigan victory which will help us achieve greater levels of personal and business success.
1. Determination – to be successful, you have to be determined. You have to be prepared to do the things that others won’t do. There are times when everything seems to be against you. It could be that you perceive that your competitors are better, that your products and services aren’t as good. You may just think that achieving success is too much like hard work. When you are facing adversity and setbacks, you have to be able to dig deep inside you and be determined to succeed, even when the odds seemed stacked against you. It is about taking small steps towards success. This is what Wigan did last night, they dug deep and set out to score one try which would cast doubt into the minds of the opposition. Doubt creates opportunity. When you want to be determined, you must have no doubt in your ability to succeed. It also requires persistence.
2. Belief – this is linked to determination. You have to believe that you can do something even when circumstances seem against you. I have dealt with many sales managers and sales people who are behind their sales targets. It is as if they are defeated before they get out of bed in the morning and they lack the self-belief to do anything about their current situation. You have to have belief, otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. Belief can be impacted by your mindset. You can create belief in your ability to achieve your personal and business goals by achieving smaller successes along the journey to ultimate success. This is what happened during last night’s match. When Ben Flower was sent off, the remaining Wigan players still had belief in their ability. There were small but significant things which began to happen during the remaining 23 minutes of the match which contributed to the famous comeback. This started with a strong run by the centre of the pitch by forward, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. So what small but significant step can you take today to make progress to improving your belief and your own success.
3. Resilience – you become resilient through having experienced setbacks before and having taken the opportunity to learn from those setbacks. Most of the Wigan players last night will have faced situations where they seem to be in a losing position but have had the personal and team resilience to dig deep. The important point is that when they didn’t win a match, they take a step back and analyse in depth why the match didn’t go according to plan and what they can learn from it. So if you are in sales for example, and you don’t win that large account you were expecting to win, do you actually take the time to learn from what happened or do you quickly move on. When a meeting with a prospect doesn’t going according to plan and you start to lose control, do you just give up. Great sales people have great personal outlook and are very resilient. They use previous experiences to help them become resilient.
I was once asked can you learn resilience. My response was that you can only learn how to become more resilient by facing and overcoming setbacks. Life and business is full of knocks. So embrace the setbacks and see them as part of your opportunity to learn and grow. If you listen to great sports coaches after a match that their team has lost, they will often talk about how the team will take away the lessons they have learned from the experience.
4. Desire – this is one of the key factors that you find in successful people, whether they are sales people, sales managers, leaders or successful sports people and sports teams. Without the right level of desire, you are not going to succeed. You have to create your own personal culture of desire. Desire comes from your own inner motivation. Achieving a personal or business goal has to mean something to you at a deeper level. If achieving a goal doesn’t mean something to you, then you are less likely to be motivated to achieve it. Desire is fuelled by your passion to do something. There are so many people who appear to be going through the motions and this comes across in how they show up at work and in meetings. Those people who have created their own personal culture of desire, have a reference point. This reference point helps them to keep their desire level centered and keep them focused when facing setbacks. Leaders in business and support are responsible for creating a culture where personal desire can flourish and impacts on the ultimate success of the team.
So coming back to last night’s match, the Wigan players demonstrated their own personal levels of desire which enabled them to go on and win the match. This desire created commitment, passion and a willingness to do the things necessary to win the match.
So the next time you face a setback or you need to get back on track to hit your personal or business targets, take personal responsibility for your actions. Show determination, belief, resilience, and desire. Then see what different outcomes you will achieve.
Finally remember that when you do overcome setbacks and adversity use it as a reference point and learn from why you faced the adversity in the first place.