Struggles happen. Challenges happen. Setbacks happen. Mistakes are made. Tramautic events happen all the time to all sorts of people. While almost everyone will experience some traumatic event in their lifetime, what happens after is what matters. While listening to the Global Leadership Conference interview with Sheryl Sandberg, she introduced me to the idea of bouncing forward, an idea she expands upon in her book, Option B.
Bouncing forward, or Post Traumatic Growth, according to the Psychology Department at UNC Charlotte, is “positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event”. Essentially, when traumatic events happen, you have three possible outcomes- you can get stuck in it, you can bounce back, or you can bounce forward.
Angela Duckworth has been someone I have followed for a long time. She appears fairly regularly on a favorite podcast of mine, Freakonomics. Her book, Grit, takes a deep dive into what grit is, why it is important, how it is so powerful, and how to build it. While I intend on taking a deeper look into Grit here soon, I felt that all the talk about the challenges that leaders can face, how so many people are unhappy at work, about the importance of happiness in the workplace, and how being happy requires effort, it was important to look at how to build that mental toughness when it comes to your happiness.
We already know that leaders are faced with many challenges. Lee Cockrell mentioned in his interview that we covered in the last post about how leaders need to be prepared to handle disappointment and be able to push on. But one thing we know is that many people struggle to push on and that disappointment hits people really hard. What can we do to fight through?
I recently was watching a fairly guilty pleasure of mine- Tomorrowland. While the movie was generally not well loved by critics and it didn’t meet Disney’s expectations (it supposedly lost north of $100 million), I enjoy it and have found a number of great takeaways from the film. I’ll likely end up covering more of these in this blog but the first one I want to share with you is the parable of the wolf.
There are two wolves that are always fighting.
One is darkness and despair.
One is light and hope.
Which one wins?
I recently took a class where a central theme of the class was the idea of entropy. Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics which helps explain how things like pans cool down and how companies die. Energy disperses throughout the proverbial system as time goes on.
Think of DNA. The DNA in your body is being copied over and over. Mistakes are made from time to time so, over time, the quality of the copy deteriorates. Think of a hot pan fresh off the stove. The heat is generated from the vibrations of the atoms. That vibrating is not perfectly transferred to other atoms through so eventually, the vibrating dies down and the pan slowly cools.
Leadership is a term that means so many things to so many people. It is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. How to lead, however, is challenging. Most everyone has had a bad leader or manager. From leaders who are unable to admit when they are wrong or don’t know the answer, struggle to effectively communicate, have unrealistic expectations, or cannot adjust when market conditions change.
Photo by Mathias Jensen on Unsplash
Leaders are made, not born so this blog is about becoming a better leader. Inspiration and lessons about becoming a better leader can come from anywhere. However, as a society, we have a naturalness bias. Continue reading