Look at this article featured in the Entrepreneur, and particularly it’s title: The Top Stressor for Workers Is Not What You Think.
This snappy article, where 42% of workers admit that their number 1 stress is unclear goals, triggers an instant reaction. Of course, unclear goals! Without clear goals why muster all of your resiliency so you can ‘do battle’? Where is the battleground? What’s the purpose? Why would you get motivated to expend a whole lot of effort when you don’t know the point of it all. Why indeed.
That speaks directly to personal resilience. The Resilience Engine research findings, 10 years on, shows turning your meaning into day to day activities, contributes around one third of your resilience. In teams, it’s a bigger proportion. Meaning gives you a direction of travel; goals gives you the steps along the way. In the end, it’s what Simon Sinek calls ’Why’.
And so if you don’t have your ‘why’ clear, things can be muddled, draining, dissatisfying. And your healthy boundaries are at risk. You could say yes in order to please the boss or others around you. You could miss getting the satisfaction of success which in turn leads to an energy drain. You may become rigid in the face of the task, determined to just get it off the pile of things to-do, but not paying heed to the different perspectives and issues associated – and therefore you deliver a mediocre piece of work.
Clear goals are important. So it must be all the bosses fault right?
Well hang on there.
The issue with this article is exactly that – it implies a singular point of failure, the boss. But goals often cannot be clear for organisations. We live in the VUCA (1) world, where there is complexity, confusion and ambiguity. So how can there be super clear goals? Searching for these is in itself pointless!
Here is where resilience is absolutely necessary. Resilience is your ability to adapt to change. And it implies flexibility and persistence towards something meaningful. Meaning. Now that’s the key – being clear on your ‘Why’, is absolutely critical. Knowing also that you can try out your What and How, and then adapt confidently and resourcefully, that’s resilience. And the good news from the Resilience Engine research, resilience is learnable. By anyone.
Maybe all the workers, and all the bosses need a good dose of resilience! That way the headline might read :
‘Stress is eliminated in workers. Find out how resilience is a buffer to stress.’
Think of that!
Notes: (1) VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous.