Week 19- Bouncing back from disaster

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Following on from my “preventing disaster” blog last week, I thought it would be helpful to talk about the aftermath of the disastrous project on how I feel. Knowing that the outcome is poor and there are many fixes and lots of rework to get it to an acceptable state feels exhausting. Knowing that the team environment was aggressive, distrusting and unpleasant to be part of is depressing.

I am left feeling tired and moving through a range of negative emotions: anger; sadness; fatigued; demotivated.

How can I turn this negativity into something positive? My approach is to focus on building my resilience because even though I have been involved in a negative experience, I can use it to develop my ability to bounce back and keep going.

This is my step-by-step guide for a quick personal resilience programme:

1. Acknowledge I am tired – by calling this out explicitly, it enables me to be kinder to myself.

In practice this means:

  • Finish work on time or early as many days as possible for the next couple of weeks
  • Be tough on my prioritisation and strip out all those things that are not both urgent and important
  • Don’t volunteer for extra work (a temporary situation because my natural response is always to help people, but I cannot be much help if I don’t recover)
2. Get the support of others

At this point, my friends are a really important element of my recovery. Spending time listening to what is happening in others lives gives me a rest from thinking through how I feel. I don’t want to fall into the trap of boring my friends with all the bad things that have been happening to me, because that just makes me re-live them, and embed them further in my thinking. Instead I want to hear all about what they are up to, as this is interesting, different and gives my brain a rest.

3. Find things that I can achieve

Do small things that I can get finished, so that I have the satisfaction and enjoyment of knowing I have reduced my workload

4. Do my favourite work

We all have things we enjoy, sometimes because we are naturally good at them, sometimes because they are a style of activity we really enjoy.

5. Reframe negatives to positives

Essentially, apply all the advice from every one of these blog posts.

Hopefully by the next time you hear from me I will have bounced back and be feeling positive, energised and totally motivated for all the challenges and exciting projects I am involved in.

In the meantime, here is a paper on emotional resilience– let me know what you think!