The United States Military Academy at West Point has recently developed a mindfulness approach to leadership training that focuses on enhancing mental resilience. The West Point model posits that the world has become increasingly volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous (VUCA). Mental resilience is required in order to navigate a world marked by VUCA, but what is mental resilience and how can one develop it? Mental resilience is that quality which allows a leader to weather adversity, adapt to stressful situations, and recover. Mental resilience is mental toughness. Here are some approaches to increasing your mental resilience:
- Build strong social support networks. As a leader, you will frequently find yourself pulled in many directions. Developing a good network can help mitigate this, but keep in mind that this is a two-way street. Helping others can also have a positive impact on your own well-being as well as providing a strong network for the future.
- Approach crisis situations with both an immediate and long-term view. While you may feel a sense of impending catastrophe in the immediacy of a crisis, if you take a moment to imagine better circumstances in the future, this can help provide perspective.
- Act decisively. Once you have determined what needs to be done, take action. The more you procrastinate the greater the opportunity for problems to spiral out of control.
- Practice self-maintenance. When you are in a leadership position in particular, you will experience high degrees of stress. Using exercise, meditation, and relaxation to help ventilate that stress will allow you to perform better when the next inevitable crisis arrives.