The world needs resilience right now. But what exactly does being resilient look like in practice? We’ve asked Olympic diver turned serial entrepreneur and Engel & Völkers broker Christopher Kalec for his take on the topic. Kalec has learned a thing or two about resilience while training for the Olympics and going through several career pivots. He describes it as “the ability to take a loss and get over it.”
“As a super competitive person, it’s not always easy to get over failure. But I’ve failed in my life, and often. In the moment, failure can seem like a horrible, death-dealing scenario but as you get used to it and older, you realize it never is as bad as it seems and good news is often around the corner,” he says.
That’s a comforting thought when facing the sense of loss and uncertainty brought by the Coronavirus pandemic. But can resilience be developed if you’re not an Olympian or have never thought of yourself as a highly resilient person? Absolutely. Highly resilient people are not special, they simply have a unique set of habits. “Even though I may be mentally resilient, like most people, I do have many moments of fear and doubt. My habits are ingrained in who I am,”says Kalec.
Ready to adopt the habits of highly resilient people and take your inner strength to the next level? Practice the six concepts below.
They stay focused
When the going gets tough, highly resilient people focus on the task at hand. They put one foot in front of the other and know that effort is the one variable they can control. “I believe that hard work is the means to the end, and if you put your focus into the work required to get results, they will come,” says Kalec.
“COVID-19 can be a major, life-changing distraction and derailment or simply a time to refocus, rebudget, retrend and rebuild. To stick to a sports analogy, COVID-19 is like an injury that happens at the worst time. You either do the work to recover and come back strong, or watch the other athletes pass you by.”
They embrace experiences
Resilience is the product of experience. “You develop mental strength by failing. It is through trials and real experiences that we often dig deep to realize what is needed to get the job done,” says Kalec.
Highly resilient people know that their worst fears are often more daunting when they anticipate them rather than when they face them. They keep trying different things and showing up because they’ve realized time and time again they can handle a lot more than they initially thought.
They have a long-term vision
Don’t sweat the small stuff. “The more successful, and subsequently resilient, you become, the more the big picture and end goal is the primary target. It’s never that one dive or game that makes the difference — it’s the whole tournament,” says Kalec.
Regardless of their occupation, highly resilient people get through temporary setbacks and obstacles by keeping things in perspective and thinking of the bigger picture. “This too shall pass” is their motto.
They write down their wins
While being future-oriented and thinking long-term helps in terms of resilience, Kalec also stresses the importance of taking the time to look back and acknowledge wins. He recommends regularly writing down your successes to build yourself up.
“Visually acknowledging success helps in times of failure or challenges. We often dwell on that one crappy event or result and forget all the wins we’ve racked up,” he says.
They lean on others
Highly resilient people know that leaning on others is a strength, not a weakness. From relying on coaches and mentors to surrounding themselves with people they trust, they are aware that having a support system is key to being resilient.
“I doubt that most strong leaders are alone. They often have more than one mentor and a great circle of influence that keeps them motivated,” says Kalec, who also cherishes the presence of his friends and family when he needs a boost or pep talk. “Reach out to friends and family that can help you realize your journey and recent successes.”
They cultivate a positive mindset
Consuming positive content is a small daily habit that can make a huge difference in your mindset and ability to deal with challenges. “I like to watch shows that are inspirational in nature and I find they speak to me on a very deep level and unconsciously can encourage me to keep at it,” says Kalec.
You can also cultivate a positive mindset by paying attention to the strength and beauty that can already be found around you. “Something new to me has been being a father. Watching my son relentlessly try over and over to achieve something as simple as stacking blocks is super inspirational. It’s a reminder that resilience is in our human nature!”