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The Five Keys of Workplace Resilience

Compassion is a wonderful key to have in your life in general, but most people don't think of it as being that useful in their jobs. Compassion for others is important, yes, but also remember to be compassionate with yourself.

Sunday evening anxiety and Monday morning dread could only mean one thing. Work dread, we have all been there.

How often have you felt like just quitting? very quietly walking out of the annoying revolving door, never to be seen again - well your certainly not alone.

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Let's take the USA as an example: in 2011, a study by Accenture found that more than 2 million Americans quit their jobs every month - and this was during a time of relative financial crisis. The U.S Department of Labour and Statistics quite succinctly names this category "Quits." The reason? It was a more or less equal split between four factors: not getting on with their boss, feeling a lack of empowerment, dealing with internal politics, and a lack of recognition in their work. Sound familiar?

These are things that many people have to face on a daily basis, increasing your resilience at work allows you to be more in control of whether you stay at or quit your job. By finding the key - or, the five keys, to be more exact - you can learn how to be more resilient at work.

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First Key: Compassion

Compassion is a wonderful key to have in your life in general, but most people don't think of it as being that useful in their jobs. Compassion for others is important, yes, but also remember to be compassionate with yourself. When we don't feel like we can cope with a particular situation at work, or make a mistake, it is far too easy to take things out on ourselves, criticising the fact that we're not strong enough, or not clever enough, or not assertive enough to overcome the obstacles.

In fact, my question to you is this - would you talk to a loved one in the same way as you talk to yourself? Probably not. Be kinder to yourself, especially around mistakes. The intense feelings of shame around mistakes will keep you stuck in that mistake. If you have made an error, acknowledge it and forgive yourself, then do what you have to do to learn from that mistake in a kinder way. In other words, put that stick down you keep bashing yourself with.

Second Key: Control

Most of us feel like we have no control at work - things are either thrown at us when we're not ready to handle them or slip in unnoticed, adding to our workload when we least expect it. Focusing on what is outside of your control will reduce your everyday resilience to that, but concentrating on what you can control is a much better option. You may not be able to control the work, the changes or the deadline, for example, but you can control your thoughts, your behaviour, and your attitude to the challenge.

You can't, however, control how others deal with it, so do your best to focus on yourself and what you can do to overcome the challenge. Setting workplace boundaries are always within your control. Yes, they can be difficult to set, yet they are crucial in the workplace. Make sure you also control the boundaries you set for others around you, so they know what you can and can't take on in terms of targets and deadlines. You can have more control at work than you think.

Third Key: Choice

Choice is a tough one, as most people find it hard to take psychological responsibility for the choices they make at work, especially if you don't like the choices you make. In order to overcome certain types of adversity, taking psychological responsibility is essential. One example of this would be a large office where there are rumours of redundancy. For many, this would immediately feel like something that is out of your control, but you can make certain choices that will help you deal with situations like these.

Make the choice to find out as much information as you can, make the choice to start looking for other jobs or other opportunities, and make the choice to be proactive instead of just waiting for it to happen. If you choose to think differently about your problems, even though it can be very difficult and demanding, you will improve your resilience at work.

Fourth Key: Curiosity

Curiosity is at the heart of workplace resilience. When experiencing challenges, it can be tempting to run away from them, sweeping them under the rug to be dealt with another day. This may alleviate your anxiety temporarily, but the anxiety will come back with a vengeance. Questions are the currency to help adapt to the adversity, so start asking some!

The more you know about the problem, the easier you will find it to overcome, so talking about it with your colleagues or your boss, researching it, and really focusing on the solution rather than the problem will often help you feel and be more in control. Hiding from it won't help; get curious about the problem and solution and become more resilient in the process.

Fifth Key: Consistency

The final key is consistency, and this is more important than you may think, as it can make a big difference to your everyday resilience at work. Consistency in your behaviours - both towards yourself and others - leads to trust, something which is just as important in your work life as in your personal life. After all, it takes up a lot of psychological energy to try and second guess someone's reactions all the time - with people ending up walking on eggshells - but if you're consistent, you'll soon find you get trusted much more.

Breaks are also important to take, and the more consistent you become in taking them, the more productive you will be and the less anxious you will feel. When you become more consistent and less chaotic in your thinking, everything around you calms down. Consistency is crucial to building up your resilience, and soon you'll feel ready to take on anything.

Unlock Your Resilience

Learning how to use these keys will help you deal with the everyday challenges in your job, and could turn your Monday morning dread into an eagerness to get stuck into the week ahead.

End your battle against Mondays, unlock your own resilience, and show your work who's boss!