“Surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti
One of the beauties and challenges of life is its unpredictability. Unexpected occurrences can sweep us off our feet, keep us on our toes or knock us to the ground. While we can anticipate the future, plan for it and worry about it, the truth is, that all we are ever guaranteed is the moment we’re in right now; nothing more, nothing less. For some people that’s an exciting thought but for others it’s more than a little nerve-wracking.
When it comes to finances, some of our best lessons often come from mistakes or poor choices. Far from being something to despair over, mistakes are a necessary part of the journey: many extremely successful people will tell you that they made spectacular mistakes and/or overcame serious obstacles on their journey to the top. What makes the difference, isn’t what we experience but how we react to those experiences. I recently listened to an audiobook by Jim Rohn in which he referred to the “10 traits of emotionally resilient people” and shared some insights as to how we can build our resilience and, consequently, our own success.
Resiliency is a quality that many successful people have in spades. It’s a quality that can dramatically boost your ability to achieve your goals and attain success and so I thought I would share the 10 traits of resilient people and explore how they connect to finance:
1. You Are Not Your Experiences
Understanding that who we are is not defined by our experiences is key to being able to bounce back from adversity. Blaming ourselves for our circumstances tends to lead to guilt, anger and frustration and none of these emotions are at all helpful when it comes to motivating ourselves to get up and move on. This is especially true when it comes to finances because often people’s perceptions of themselves and their self-worth are closely linked to their level of financial success. Resilient people see their experiences as something separate from their core identity and they refuse to be held back by negative experiences. They choose to treat the obstacles they encounter as stepping stones to bigger opportunities rather than as an insurmountable object.
2. Choose Your Network Carefully
It’s said that we’re the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. This makes it critically important to surround ourselves with people who are not only supportive of us and our goals but also people who share the same perspective on life and who are heading in the same direction. As we make changes that will lead to increased financial success, good supporters will help us overcome the challenges that we meet along the way rather than sympathizing while we give in to them or saying “I told you so”.
3. Build Self-Awareness
Being self-aware means understanding your needs and knowing where your limits and boundaries lie. Too often, we let ourselves get overwhelmed and over committed and we resist asking for help when we need it. Resilient people recognize that they can’t do or be everything and that it’s important to take care of yourself if you want to be able to operate at your fullest potential.
4. Practice Acceptance
Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want or expect. Sometime life hurts. However, resilience is about accepting the ups and downs and how they make us feel rather than ignoring, repressing or denying them. Whether it’s a poor financial choice, a tough season in the stock markets or an unexpected twist if our life story, if we can “roll with the punches” rather than resist or ignore them, it will help us recover faster from adversity and get back on track.
5. Willing to be in Silence
We all react differently to stress and trauma but the most resilient people take time to acknowledge, explore and understand how they’re feeling rather than to subdue those feelings with activities designed to ‘take our mind off it’. Mindfulness is one of the purest and most ancient forms of healing and resilience building and, like meditation, many very successful people consider it a key ingredient of a successful life.
6. You Can’t Know it All
Many people fear unknowns. In ancient times, people made up stories to explain the things about the world they didn’t understand and today we still tell ourselves stories and place far too much emphasis on knowing the answers. With many aspects of financial planning we can’t know for certain what lies ahead; we just have to trust our plans and our systems and be ok with the unknown elements, rather than stressing ourselves out trying to find an answer that just doesn’t exist yet.
7. Practice Self-Care
If you don’t take care of yourself who will? If you don’t take care of yourself, how will you care for others? Resilience requires mental, emotional and spiritual strength and to be strong in each area means making time to recharge our batteries and spend time on things that make us happy.
8. Build a Tribe
As incredible as you are, you can’t do it all and sometimes you need to turn to others for support. Having people you know that you can depend on to lend a sympathetic ear or a strong shoulder is an essential component of your resilience ‘toolkit’. From a financial perspective, this means having mentors and advisors who can offer you insights and advice when you need it as well as friends who can support you emotionally.
9. Consider Possibilities
When they’re confronted by obstacles, resilient people are willing to explore a change of perspective or consider altering their course rather than stubbornly sticking to the same path. In the world of finance, things change on a regular basis and plans might need to be altered, refined or abandoned altogether. Being willing to entertain an alternative approach can often affirm that you’re on the right path or shine a light on a new one.
10. Calm Your Brain
Sometimes there are just too many thoughts swirling around in our brain and it becomes impossible to examine them objectively. Transferring our thoughts to paper allows us to alleviate some of the thought chaos and has been proven to relieve anxiety and boost a person’s mood both on a short term and longer term basis. Financial stress can be overwhelming and taking the time to figure out the root of that stress can help you identify what is wrong and then figure out a way to overcome it.
In life, there are many ways to accomplish a goal and many paths that can be taken to the same destination. Some of those paths are straighter and less challenging than others but all have obstacles to throw us off course and all have plenty of distractions and diversions to tempt us off track. No matter where we are on our financial journey, by building resilience, we make it easier to navigate our path successfully and we increase our chances of success.