Building Resilience: A Way to Future Proof Your Life
In 2017 I was working a cushy job for a big telecom company. I was in charge of their e-commerce clients, and I was happy because digital marketing was a great passion of mine. Between a good pay and a fun work environment, I had nothing to complain. Then, all of a sudden, the company hired a new CEO, and I, along with 2500 other employees, got let go. I still remember that day. When I got the news, I felt lost. I had no idea what to do. Sure, my online business was making decent money, but not enough to support my lifestyle.
I needed to find a solution, and I needed to find it quickly. My fight or flight mode was on. I started doubling down on my business, and I also decided to look for another full-time job. This time I didn't want to work in e-commerce. I needed a job that could give me more flexibility. The first days at home felt almost surreal. I had a full-time job since the first week after graduating from university. But after a week or so, I started seeing many new opportunities.
Within 60 days, I had a much better job than my old one, my business was growing, and I had a new goal: I wanted to become a digital nomad, travel the world, work my laptop and live life to the fullest. In retrospect, the only reason why I am here writing this blog and about to record my podcast is that I got let go. Yes, it was painful. Yes, I felt betrayed and offended. Yes, I was scared for a bit, but it was 100% worth it.
There are only a few things in life that are certain, and one of them is the fact that you will face adversity at some point. Misfortunes come in several shapes and sizes. It could be heartbreak or the loss of someone close to you; you may get let go from a job you love, or your business could fail.
I could write a much longer list and get very grim, but you get the point. Sooner or later you will have to face a difficult situation head-on, so the better you prepare for it, the less you will suffer.
There is no standard way to cope with distress, but all the circumstances I mentioned have one thing in common: change.
Change is the only constant in our life, but most people seem to resist it as if it was some horrible enemy that's trying to take over our static, reliable world. Change can be scary at times, but what makes it more frightening is the attitude toward it. We resist change because of the unknown, but we often don't realize that with every change, comes a whole new set of opportunities.
The secret to resilience is embracing change. When you are forced to move on, you have two choices. You can hold on to the past and feel dreadful, or make the best of what lies in front of you. All you need to do is reframe your current situation.
If you get laid off, you could mope around for weeks on end, reminiscing the "good old days" at the office, or you could see it as an opportunity to get a better job. Or better yet, you could take some courses and embark a new and exciting journey in a new field.
Looking back, the most significant moves I made in my life spawned from what people would define as misfortunes. Sure, in the beginning, you will find it hard. The act of non-resistance toward a disappointment will feel like you are in actuality resisting your feelings of sadness. But as time passes, you will realize that recurring negative emotions have no use in your life.
The root of resilience is reframing your current situation. Make a promise to yourself today. When you face a difficult situation, reframe the issue and re-write your own story. Just like a romance, you can face adversities, but you can write a new happy ending. After all, you are the author of your own story! As long as you accept the fact that life is not easy, you can do whatever you want.
Like Steve Jobs said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." Trust the process and keep on pushing! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.