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Emotional Resilience: 9 Ways to Be Resilient in Tough Times

How to become more emotionally resilient in the face of uncertainty.

When uncertainty rocks our world, making us wonder which path to take, what decision to make, or whether to respond at all, it can be crippling for some of us if we have not developed emotional resilience.

Not sure if you struggle with resilience? Take this well-being survey. If you do struggle with resilience, how do you move through the challenge? How do you respond effectively to the situation? And how can you become more emotionally resilient in the face of uncertainty? Here are nine ways to develop the emotional resilience that’ll help you in tough times:

1. Try to be flexible.

Often we have difficulty learning to “go with the flow.” Obstinacy, ego, fixed beliefs, expectations, and habits are some of things that lead us to resist change. But when the house you thought you’d live in forever is destroyed in a fire or hurricane, or the job you had trained for has been automated, or perhaps the “love of your life” has married someone else, what do you do?

It can be heartbreaking and crushing all at once. But it is also true that your life is demanding a “course change.” In these situations, it’s wiser to practice acceptance and acknowledge that the situation has changed. You do not control the world; you only control yourself. The only way forward now is to adjust your attitude, shift your thoughts, and create new dreams by being flexible.

2. Practice being OK with discomfort.

When we are navigating a situation in flux, most of us will feel somewhat unsure of ourselves. This is normal. Accepting yourself and your situation is a good place to begin. Calm the inner voices of fear, blame, or resentment, and resist the urge to create drama around the uncertainty. Appraise the situation from a balanced place, realizing that it is OK to feel genuinely uncomfortable at times. You’ll build emotional resilience if you use this time to practice accepting yourself despite the discomfort you feel.

3. Learn from your mistakes and successes.

Do not panic! By allowing discomfort amid uncertain circumstances to reveal something about yourself, you can grow and become more emotionally resilient. Trial and error is how we learn. Once you adapt to being somewhat uncomfortable, you can apply yourself to the challenge at hand, which often triggers a flood of new ideas. Explore the positive thoughts, emotions, and ideas. Perhaps you will learn to speak up for yourself, or you may be forced to apply new approaches to the situation in flux.

This can open up whole new avenues of experience for you that may enhance your coping skills, build resilience, and even expand the range of your resume with newly discovered abilities. Test out some new approaches to see what works in this situation. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because they will make you more emotionally resilient if you are willing to learn from them. By recognizing uncertainty as an opportunity for growth, you can more easily move through it to attain your desired goals. Ultimately, resilience is just getting back up when you fall down.

4. Step back to gain a broader perspective.

Widen your field of vision by reviewing the past and imagining the future. From this perspective, envision various plans, and estimate how they might unfold into the future, until you discover a path that shows promise. Then give it a shot. If that one doesn’t meet your goals, don’t hesitate to try another approach. A shift in perspective can help you see the situation from a new point of view and try out new solutions that make you more emotionally resilient in the future.

resilient

5. Coordinate with others.

Review your options and then enlist helpers. Before moving forward with a plan of action, share your uncertainty, and brainstorm ideas for how to move forward with colleagues and friends. Remain open to suggestions, but defend ideas that you really believe in with fervor. Then move forward, knowing you’ve considered multiple options.

6. When at a loss, imitate someone you respect.

Sometimes the hurdles seem too high, or we are at a loss about how to proceed. In these moments, we don’t feel very emotionally resilient. One trick is to think of someone you respect and imagine what they might do in this situation. For example, you might think about how your friend Jane, the most gracious and balanced person you know, maintains her poise in the face of crisis. If her method is to listen attentively, speak slowly, and establish good eye contact while responding, try that. A shift in the way you act can give you ideas for how to be more emotionally resilient.

7. Practice self-compassion.

In difficult moments, it’s essential to practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself to maintain your self-confidence. It’s OK to take some time to release your disappointment or take a break from your routine. A walk or run in nature may be helpful for processing your thoughts and releasing pent-up emotions. Or eating healthfully can help remind you of the importance of being kind to yourself. Once calm, research several options, and open your mind to all possibilities, so that a new avenue of experience can blossom for you.

8. Celebrate your successes.

After all the work you have done to wend your way through uncertain times and situations, once you have initiated a plan that is working or picked yourself back up after a tough experience, celebrate your success with those who helped you achieve positive results. Give yourself credit for a “win” that feels affirming, and let joy sweep into your heart. Congratulate yourself and commit to continuing your success. Practice being grateful for who you have been, as well as who you are becoming. Emotional resilience is about more than recovering from challenges — it’s about thriving in the face of those challenges.

9. Learn to love change.

Heraclitus once said: “The only thing that is constant is change.” Besides, doing the same thing over and over can wear us down with its accumulative boredom. Change breeds something different and potentially exciting. New efforts stimulate growth potential through new experiences. It is “our ability to respond to life” that is being put to the test here, and the more we exercise this muscle, the more we will feel invigorated by the variety of life, and therefore the more emotionally resilient we will become.

 
Sep 04, 2018        Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.       Click Here for Happiness
 
About the Author
Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., is a consultant, writer, and expert on well-being technology.
 
In Print:
Happiness Skills Workbook: Activities to develop, grow, and maintain happiness and well-being

 


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Formula for Success

Do you have what it takes to get what you want?

The winners in life know the rules of the game and have a plan. Whether you want to begin a new career, shed pounds or find the love of your life, consider these characteristics which Dr. Phil says are common to people who succeed:

Have a vision.

Champions get what they want because they know what they want. They have a vision that keeps them motivated and efficiently on track. They see it, feel it, and experience it in their minds and hearts. What is success for you? You won’t get there without knowing what it feels and looks like.

Make a strategy.

People who consistently win have a clear and thoughtful strategy. They know what they need to do and when they need to do it. They write it down so they stay on course and avoid any alternative that does not get them closer to the finish line.

Find a passion.

Are you excited to get up in the morning? People with a passion are, and they’re energized about what they are doing. You need to live and breathe what it is that you want, and be passionately invested in both the journey and the goal.

Live the truth.

People who consistently win have no room in their lives for denial, fantasy or fiction. They are self-critical rather than self-deluding, and they hold themselves to high but realistic standards. They deal with the truth, since they recognize that nothing else will make their vision obtainable.

Be flexible.

Life is not a success-only journey. Even the best-laid plans sometimes must be altered and changed. Be open to input and consider any potentially viable alternative. Be willing to be wrong and be willing to start over.

strive-for-progress

Take risks.

People who consistently win are willing to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. Be willing to plunge into the unknown if necessary, and leave behind the safe, unchallenging, and familiar existence in order to have more.

Create a strong nucleus.

Surround yourself with a group of people who want you to succeed. They will move with you toward your goal. Choose and bond with people who have skills, talents and abilities that you do not. Winners give and receive by being part of other people’s nuclear groups.

Take action.

Do it! People who succeed don’t just sit and think about what they want to do. They take meaningful, purposeful, directional action consistently and persistently. Every step they take puts them toward the outcome they’re looking for.

Set priorities.

People who are consistent winners manage their challenges in hierarchical fashion. They commit to managing their time in such a way that does not allow them to keep grinding along on priority number two or three if priority number one needs their attention.

Take care of yourself.

People who consistently win are consciously committed to self-management. They are the most important resource they have in achieving their goals. They actively manage their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

July 13, 2005


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Bend, Not Break: 9 Powerful Traits of Resilient People

The noun resilience stems from the Latin resiliens “to rebound, recoil.” As a character trait, resilience is a person’s mental ability to recover quickly from misfortune, illness or depression.

For most, life eventually throws us a major curve ball. Like millions, I have had my share of adversity. Growing up in Bangladesh, I have seen war, famine, and inhumane poverty. As an entrepreneur, technologist, and author, I have faced many professional and personal failures and rejections. I had to learn the art of resiliency to survive and then thrive.

Resilient people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during adversity, bending like bamboo instead of breaking. They possess a set of powerful traits. I’ve shared some of these traits separately in my previous posts; in this article, I wanted to bring them all together.

They Protect Their Soul

Dusting ourselves off every time we fall requires disciplining our inner energy and drive to protect our soul.

1. They Control Their Destiny. It is difficult to understand how you can control your destiny when the very nature of adversity takes away your control. Destiny results from “intention” — our spiritual will, something that drives us to do what seems impossible.

Laurence Gonzales, author of SURVIVING SURVIVAL: The Art and Science of Resilience, in an article writes:

Julian Rotter, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, developed the concept of what he calls “locus of control.” Some people, he says, view themselves as essentially in control of the good and bad things they experience — i.e., they have an internal locus of control.

This internal locus allows us to create options and scenarios based on instinct, the situation, and foresight. It allows us to create alternative plans in anticipation or in the midst of adversity.

2. They Accept Their Battle. As humans, our instincts are to fight bitterly against adversity. The most resilient among us will often find a way to fight it by embracing it.

On my desk is a copy of “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. Very few have talked about embracing adversity like him. A professor at Carnegie Mellon and a husband and father of three, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live. He gave his Last Lecture on Sept. 18, 2007. His story, and particularly this final lecture, are a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit.

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you. — Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Randy decided to accept his situation and live out the days he had remaining by making a difference. He died on July 25, 2008, and now he lives on not only through his family but also through the millions he inspired. I am certainly one of them.

If you haven’t seen the “Last Lecture“ or read the book, then you must.

Once we accept our situation and let go of the outcome, it allows us to adapt and even thrive in the face of adversity.

3. They Use Adversity As Their Compass.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable. — Helen Keller

Sometimes, if we pay close attention, we see that adversity can come into our life to guide us to our true destiny. It certainly did for Helen Keller.

Helen Keller fell ill, lost her sight, her hearing and fell mute while she was a child. Today, her name is known around the world as a symbol of courage, strength and determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Through the tutelage of her teacher, Ms. Annie Sullivan, and other great supporters, she used her adversity to find her vision, her voice, and a calling for herself that led to great benefits to others.

resilliance

They Learn to Suffer Well

Adversity inherently invokes pain, suffering, and disappointments. Accepting and growing through our pain is part of our personal growth. This is hardly easy. Like any other skill, learning to suffer well requires conscious practice and learning.

4. They Practice Patience. The realization of the power of patience was most obvious to me during my visit to the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan. There, I stood in front of a famous Japanese calligraphy, a quote by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868.

It says: “The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience.”

Over time, I have found that the practice of patience begins with:

  • Compassion — The Dalai Lama says, “a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” It is perhaps one of the hardest things to practice, yet there’s no substitute for compassion.
  • Gratitude — When life turns upside down, staying in an attitude of genuine thankfulness helps us realize what we have.

5. They Let Go. Fear is a protective emotion signaling danger and helps us to prepare for and cope with it. Fear perhaps is the key fundamental emotion that holds us back — fear of failure, losing people, success, the unknown, and fear of moving forward or making a change. Emotional pain is another key factor that often holds us back. Although others can cause pain for us, our pain can also be caused by our own actions, including our inability to achieve a desired aspiration.

The physical reaction to fear and pain is called the “fight or flight” response. Letting go is the inner action that stops resisting fear and pain, allowing us to restore our ability to see clearly. Letting go comes from having a “nonjudgmental” outlook toward life and people. It allows us to forgive others and ourselves equally for mistakes and incompatibility. We must be willing to let go of fear, pain, anger, and people. It is the ability to let go that drives a constant process of change — it is what makes us flexible and adaptable. This is hardly easy, takes a conscious effort, and is something I know I struggle with every day.

6. They Live in the Moment. Being truly in the moment allows us to escape from adversity and conserve our inner energy. Living in the moment doesn’t mean we don’t care about the past or future. It means that when we make a choice to do something, we focus on solely doing it, rather than letting our mind wander into the future (or the past).

It’s been said that the only two jobs of a Zen monk are sitting zazen (meditation) and sweeping. Cleaning is one of the most important daily rituals of a Zen monk. They sweep or rake, and they try to do nothing else in that moment. The next time you’re doing housework, try concentrating on the housework — on the dust, the motion, the sensation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as boring chores, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness — something I ritualistically try to do at least once or twice a week. Sounds simple — but it’s actually pretty hard.

They Lead From Within

Despite our darkest moments, it is our duty to stay connected to our core intention. Resilient people reach their highest potential by taking risks that are consistent with their ethos and purpose. They lead themselves by constantly standing on an uncomfortable ledge.


7. They Develop Flexibility. Lao Tzu said, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: What is soft is strong.”

Our ability to effectively survive, thrive and lead comes from flexibly riding out our ups and downs. An authentic journey does not always come from blasting through rocks and impediments, rather from having the faith, resilience and adaptability to cope with harsh realities of life.

8. They Find the Right Traveling Partners. The people we surround ourselves with make the difference between failure and success. It’s not only whom we surround ourselves with that matters, but also how we interact with them that make the difference. It is important to avoid people who bring us down, waste our time, take us backward, and have no interest in our suffering. While we cannot always avoid them, at a minimum we can choose to not allow them to weaken us. And sometimes the right companion shows up through chance encounters.

In life’s journey there are many encounters. Some are planned; some are by accident; and some by divine intervention. I have had many amazing “Chance Encounters,” where it seems the universe rallied to come to my aid when I needed the help most. They have occurred when least expected — and many of the people I’ve encountered have become friends and family. And whenever those encounters initially left me with a “negative” experience, they turned out to be much-needed lessons for me.

9. They Take the Next Step Forward. The ability to visualize our dreams creates a mindset that makes our ambitions possible. Understanding exactly what we want is the foundation for our success. But executing that success requires taking the next step, every day, no matter how hard it may be.

Author Joseph Marshall III shares Native American wisdom on taking the step in his book Keep Going.

It means letting the tears flow through the grief; it means to keep looking for the answer though the darkness of despair is all around. Each step takes you closer to the top of the hill, closer to the light of the next sunrise, and the promise of a new day.

Faisal Hoque    02/06/2014 
 
Entrepreneur, Author | Founder of SHADOKA and other companies.
Author of “Everything Connects”, “Survive to Thrive”, and Others.
Serial entrepreneur and author Faisal Hoque is the founder of SHADOKA and other companies.
Author of several books, his newest book is “Everything Connects – How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability“
(McGraw Hill, Spring 2014). Copyright (c) 2014 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.
 
Follow Faisal Hoque on Twitter: www.twitter.com/faisal_hoque

 


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5 Things That Happen In Honest Relationships

HERE ARE 5 THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU’RE IN AN HONEST RELATIONSHIP:

1. YOU GROW SPIRITUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY.
When you are in an honest relationship, you learn things about yourself through your counterpart. You grow together in many aspects. You enrich each other. No one is pushing anyone. You are both gently expanding and changing to the best parts of yourself. An honest union enhances each other to grow. They support one another in careers, parenthood, spirituality, health, sexuality, and other facets of life. As individuals you thrive, and together you are a team.

2. YOU ARE VULNERABLE, AND IT’S FREEING.
Trust is underrated in relationships. It’s that one component that binds partnerships. Once that’s gone, it’s difficult to get it back. Vulnerability is perhaps the glue that holds an honest union together. It takes courage and strength to be raw. By exposing all to one another, you are set free of expectations, assumptions, and disappointments. There are no guessing games. There is no hidden agenda. You can show the strong and weak parts and still be loved by your partner.

In an honest relationship, there is no criticism because you are both open to whatever happens. This becomes part of the attraction. It’s not based on co-dependency, but rather the admiration of strength and courage. At times, life is a journey of challenges and difficult circumstances, but together you make it through.

3. YOU FORGIVE EASILY.
There are no perfect relationships, because we are imperfect humans. We will make mistakes. We will have bad days. You will argue and disagree on many things, however you don’t hold grudges. You get past it and move to the next issue. You learn that holding anger is destructive, so you move away from it by letting things go. Forgiveness solidifies the partnership. You learn the art of agreeing to disagree while still supporting the other. As Martin Luther King Jr. quoted, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

4. YOUR SELF-WORTH IS IN A HEALTHY PLACE.
You can both admit your weaknesses and still love one another without judgment. Dr. Dovid Lieberman, speaker and author has dedicated his research on self-esteem in his book, Real Power, in which he shares, “When a person has very low self-esteem, it does not matter how accomplished he appears; such a person is dependent upon everyone and everything to feed his ego…. A healthy sense of self-esteem endows us with the ability to give. To the degree that we do not like ourselves, we cannot receive, we can only take. The more self-esteem we have, the more we are whole, as receiving is a natural consequence of giving.”

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When we are in an honest relationship, we feel good about ourselves. We can transform and transcend love for ourselves because we are being emotionally sustained.

5. YOU LEARN TO COOPERATE, COMPROMISE AND COMMUNICATE.
In this new era of self-promotion, it seems that communication is not always available. Most people put themselves out there in social media without any regard to their partner’s feelings. But, healthy-loving relationships understand and accommodate each other. They affirm one another to meet their needs. Compromising is healthy, but it can also lead to unhealthy boundaries where one partner is constantly taking and the other is always giving. Cooperation is a unit and you learn to faithfully support one another. But without communication, there is nothing.

The key to an honest relationship consists of the 3C’s: cooperation, compromising, and communication. Honest relationships don’t take the other person for granted. They don’t bulldoze one another. They know that in order to succeed in their partnership, there is equal parts of giving and receiving. There are times that they will need one to help pull the other up. Communication allows them to freely share without feeling used or abused.

Honest and loving relationships learn from each other. They learn new perspectives, share goals, and succeed because they are a team. They grow through the changes. They compromise, share, support and most of all, provide a safe haven for their souls to transcend. There is nothing more beautiful than the authenticity from your partner who is also your best friend.

Writer Paulo Coelho has an incredible line in the book, The Alchemist, that reads: “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” When you are in an honest relationship, your heart feels the priceless treasures. From the time we are children, we are exposed to fairy tales. Little girls begin believing in hopeless love. Little boys play games about knights and saving others. What entails a loving and honest relationship? You might have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your “One,” but when you do, you will know it.


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10 Truths That Will Help You Through Any Challenge

BY JEN NICOMEDES STONE    FEBRUARY 27, 2014 
I recently took a trip to the Florida Keys, when I often sat on the porch along the beach, mostly alone, next to the ocean. Sometimes I read, sometimes I practiced yoga; I napped, sipped peppermint tea, wrote, soaked up the sun, and relaxed. But mostly, I gazed out into the ocean.That’s where I found an incredible source of healing.The grandness of the water created a quiet, yet visually stimulating space for my meditation. Next to the ocean, I nestled into an easy place to silence the chatter noise of the external world and my inner voices.That first day, gazing at the blue, I dug much deeper within myself than I have ever done before.

In feng shui, elementally speaking, the Water Element symbolizes spirituality and wisdom. It helps us foster a deeper sense of self. It is a vehicle that helps us navigate and seek our inner truth and purpose. And it also teaches us to go with the flow of life.

While nature has its many gifts, the ocean, in particular, has taught me a few new things worth sharing, and they are:

1. Life is not always how you plan it, no matter how much you force or try to control it.

2. Change is inevitable, so you might as well welcome and embrace it.

3. Letting go is the scariest and most liberating thing you can do for yourself. It’s a gift in disguise.

4. It’s totally OK to be by yourself, alone; because sometimes, growth is a solo journey.

5. Learning to be more flexible affords you the ability to adapt. By adapting, you become more understanding, compassionate, and patient, especially when things get a little tough.

6. Clinging to the conviction of certain ideals and thoughts can sometimes destroy you. Once in a while, it’s best to bend the rules.

7. Never underestimate the power of idle silence. Some of the most profound insights come from the quietest of places.

8. Your inner strength manifests when you’re ready to confront your struggles. You are stronger than you think.

9. Make room for less talking, less exchanging. Just be.

10. Embrace all of your human tendencies — the good and bad — because those qualities already make you beautiful and real.


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How One Trait Can Make You a Fabulous Leader

Dr. Neala Peake, selected from AllThingsHealing.com      May 4, 2014

I recently learned that the leadership-training curriculum at Google places a heavy emphasis on self-awareness building.

The thinking, of course, is that managers can only become effective influencers of others once they’re fully mindful of their own strengths and limitations.

Google’s objective is to produce leaders who have profound self-knowledge along with the clear and humble understanding that whatever motivates their performance won’t always match up to the styles and inclinations of every employee. Self-discovery, therefore, leads to a greater appreciation for people -– and a compassion for all their varying personalities, behaviors and approaches to work.

I can spot genius when I see it, and Google’s insight is profound. I’ve known for years that my greatest leaps in leadership effectiveness came after I’d discovered some belief, practice or peccadillo that had unwittingly limited my success. Too often, and to my regret, these epiphanies occurred only after I’d blown an assignment or an interaction with a colleague.

If your organization hasn’t yet devoted itself to helping you identify the components of your greatness, or the behaviors that might one day derail you, I urge you to find every way possible of discovering them on your own. In this regard, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that may help you:

The Law Of Requisite Variety

Early in my career, I was introduced to what’s known as the “Law of Requisite Variety.” Also called “Ashby’s Law,” it essentially means that the most flexible and adaptable person in any situation is inherently the most influential. Keeping leadership in mind, this means that the more versatile your own skill-set and world-view, the greater value you’ll bring to your team and organization.

Years ago, my brother gave me a book called Soar With Your Strengths which made the seemingly compelling argument that we should spend far less time worrying about our weaknesses and devote ourselves instead to maximizing our natural talents.

What I’ve since discovered, however, is that some weaknesses can greatly hinder a leader’s effectiveness and even stall a career. Tied to my understanding of the “Law Of Requisite Variety,” I‘ve devoted myself to finding every means possible to minimize my limitations and even turn some into strengths.

Ask The People You Work With And Manage To Tell You What Needs Fixing

People who see you in action every day come to understand you in the most intimate way. Tapping into that collective insight, and then taking real action against their list of needed repairs, is the fastest road toward leadership excellence.

The way I’ve accomplished this in the past is to solicit (in person) one thing that each person believes I do well. From there, I’ve given people permission to hit me with their best shot and describe one behavior they perceive is holding me back.

Long ago, I filled out a diagnostic tool (“DISC,” if you’re familiar) that helped identify my dominant behavioral style. After the workshop was over, I went up to the facilitator – someone who knew me very well – and asked him to review my profile and tell me one weakness I should be most concerned with.

I owe the guy a debt of gratitude for his incisiveness. “Based upon what I see here,” he said, “you have more than one gap that will do you in if you don’t fix them. First, you need to become far better organized, and you also need to learn to communicate in a much more direct manner.”

The first rule of soliciting feedback like this is to not shoot the messenger. I knew what my friend had just told me was entirely accurate and, in that very moment, committed myself to a life-long self-improvement process. I can tell you proudly that I’ve not only become a highly detailed and plan-oriented person, I know how to be direct when I need to be.

Learn To Embrace And Emulate People’s Differences

As Susan Cain points out in her new book Quiet, people more consistently chosen for leadership roles tend to be extroverted and charismatic. According to her impressive research, this only has been true since the early 20th Century.

Extroverts, of course, have many admirable qualities that match up well to the responsibilities of management. They’re generally good communicators – often inspiring. They have a tendency to get things accomplished quickly and to be very disciplined in achieving goals.

Introversion, on the other hand, is a “second class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology,” Cain writes. Or is it?

While I’ve recently confirmed that I have a slight tendency toward introversion (you can determine your own proclivity here), in the days I believed myself to be an extrovert, I recall feeling slightly dismissive about the introverts I worked with and their more quiet and methodical ways.

Turns out extroverts also can be condescending and ego driven.

Over the next several years, while I managed large teams of people, I gradually (slow learner) came to better understand that my own unique way of operating in the world wasn’t the only way of succeeding. More to the point, I realized that the introverts on my teams had a profound influence in shaping my understanding of circumstances and altering decisions I would have made all on my own.

This is because introverts listen far more than they speak, tend to ask a lot of questions – and actually wait for the answers. While introverts are not necessarily smarter than extroverts, they more often think more carefully and, as Einstein said, “stay with problems longer.” This might explain why they tend to perform better on exams like the SAT’s and earn more post-graduate degrees.

What I’ve come to believe with conviction is that leaders are best suited by being more “ambi-verted,” a balance between being disproportionately extroverted or introverted.

In any given day, leaders need to take action and to be reflective. They need to move with great speed and with great caution. Before giving firm direction, they’re wise to solicit the informed guidance from others.

My best advice: Step back from your own preferences and see what the world looks like from everyone else’s. Over time, this will transform you.

by Mark C. Crowley, Contributor to Meditation on AllThingsHealing.com