What types of resistance do you face at work, in life? And, how do they affect your daily work, and the people that work around you? In the article, 7 Keys to Balancing Strategic Thinking with the Day-to-Day Operations of Your Team, Business, or Organization, persistence is the first key that I talk about. Right now I do believe it is the most important. Why?
Because, as leaders, there are two ways we are confronted with resistance on a regular basis; and, being persistent is the key to continuing to move our teams, businesses, and organizations forward.
Here are those two ways.
- Resistance to the ever-changing realities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Resistance to the current COVID-19 pandemic reality as compared to our previous realities.
Both of these instances of resistance can cause pain and suffering, for ourselves, our teams, businesses, organizations, and all of those that we serve.
What are some strategies that we can use to notice when we are resisting our current reality, regardless of whether it is due to resisting the amount of daily change we are confronted with, or resisting our new reality in comparison to our previous realities?
Here are 4 tips you can use to persist in the face of resistance
1. Notice when you are resisting the current reality
The first step to shifting your attention from resistance to persistence is to know when you are resisting. Sounds simple, yes? It is and isn’t. Noticing when you are resisting the current reality may pose more challenges today, as we are all living and working through so much change.
Combine that amount of change with other environmental stimuli and we have a situation where paying attention to how we are feeling is more challenging.
These are not normal times. Better language. Normal is only relative to what we once knew, and whatever “new normal” we think will show up, it will not be what was. We need to face this reality, get used to it, and learn how to do our work inside of it.
Doing so means learning to notice when we are actively resisting the current reality. How? Practice. Pay attention to how you feel. For me, frustration or agitation are relatively good indicators that I may be resisting the current reality. When I feel frustrated or agitated, I ask myself, why?
What’s the reason for the frustration and agitation?
When the reason is known, and the reason is that you are actively resisting the current reality, you can begin to consider shifting your focus from resistance to persistence through acceptance.
2. Shifting your focus from resistance to persistence through acceptance
Acceptance of the current reality is key to shifting from resistance to persistence. It is a must. When we do not accept the current reality, we are also actively resisting the current reality.
Either by living in denial, disagreement, disapproval, opposition, or complete refusal of the current reality. And, what happens when we are living and working this way?
We cannot create new ways to move ourselves, and our teams, businesses, and organizations forward. Maybe better language is that we are limited in our capacity to move ourselves, and our teams, businesses, and organizations forward. Why?
Because when we resist the current reality, we are limited by that focus. And, resistance is a very limited frame of reference. Whereas, persistence is about continuing to move forward in the face of any and all adversity. A much wider frame of reference.
Movement and this wider frame of reference are key. And, when the movement has stalled, as leaders, we can then create that movement. Creation and persistence go very well together. Creation and resistance? Not so much.
When you’ve moved from noticing your resistance to actively shifting your attention to persistence through acceptance, you can create new possibilities for yourself, and your team, business, and organization.
3. Listen to those around you
Another way we can become more aware of our own resistance is to listen to those around us. When people point to our resistance, it is very helpful. It may not always feel helpful, however, as leaders being open, available, and flexible is important.
When we are open, available, and flexible, we have the ability to take constructive feedback and do something with it. And, doing something with that feedback is important for us, and the teams, businesses, and organizations we lead.
Here is a quick example.
Today I was in conversation with a staff member that was questioning the need for a recurring meeting, as we had recently discussed the need to pause this work for now. Freeing up that staff member to work on the current business needs that are most pressing.
Whereas I was not openly resistant to the idea, upon reflection I noticed that I might have inadvertently been resisting canceling those meetings for various reasons.
However, none of those reasons were more important than the facts. We don’t need that meeting right now. And, that is what the staff member was pointing to. Extremely helpful.
As is the knowledge that sometimes our own resistance of a situation or event may be very subtle; and, not something that we are doing purposefully. An important distinction to be clear on.
You don’t get a demerit for being resistant. You are a human being. We are all resistant at times. Important to remember, as being upset or frustrated with your own resistance will only bring more resistance and frustration. Not helpful.
Listen to the people you have surrounded yourself with.
They are there for a reason. And, that reason may just be to point out your resistance, which is helpful. Knowing this allows you to move from resistance to acceptance and into persistence.
4. Invite your team, business, or organization to do the same
If you are at times resistance, then so are those that you work with, and serve. Important to understand. As you work on your own resistance, you can assist others in working on their resistance. Sometimes it is simply pointing it out. Other times, it may require a deeper conversation.
Either way, that you know about your own resistance and know how to shift to acceptance, means that you can also coach others on moving into acceptance. It is so important to create more flexibility and adaptability today.
The change we’ve all been through and the change that has yet to come are going to require more flexibility and more adaptability. In turn, they will also require acceptance of what is. Acceptance of the current state of reality today. And, the current state of reality tomorrow. However, they show up.
When we can fully accept what is before us, we can begin to create new pathways for ourselves and our teams, businesses, and organizations. And, when we can create these new pathways, whether they are new business models, new engagement systems, or new staffing models, we can serve our clients, customers, and community in more effective ways. Why?
Because we are not resisting the current reality, pretending that normal will come back. Normal is gone. Let it go, and move from resistance to acceptance and into persistence.
Be well and lead well.
You can reach Jeff Flesch at firstname.lastname@example.org