Mental Flexibility & Emotional Resilience

Mental flexibility. What does that even mean?

For us, it has been the willingness to let there be more than one outcome. An opportunity to model this has already been raised with our our new content series, Building Your Best Life. In it we proposed these three steps:

1) Deep and meaningful understanding of where you are.

2) Deep and meaningful understanding of where you want to be.

3) Develop a plan or map to get from #1 to #2.

As we have worked on developing the content series further, we have recognized that it would really work better to reverse #1 and #2, to look like this:

1) Deep and meaningful understanding of where you want to be.

2) Deep and meaningful understanding of where you are.

3) Develop a plan to get from #2 to #1.

Once we recognized this, it made sense to update the content to flow in this manner. Mental flexibility is allowing us to not cling so rigidly to the original plan that we can’t adjust when needed or when it makes more sense. The content made more sense with the change, so we made the change.

There is another part to this – Emotional Resilience. What does that even mean?

Emotional resilience is a counterpart to mental flexibility. It is the feelings and thoughts we contend with as we walk through life. As you work on mental flexibility there is a natural level of discomfort and unease that can occur. Emotional resilience is the practice of being able to sit in this discomfort. We now get the opportunity to model this emotional resilience when considering putting these changes out to you guys.

How do these look in practice?

Mental inflexibility:

“We have already started, so we can’t go back now.”

“Let’s just go with what we have because that is easier than changing it up.”

Emotional Rigidity:

“Now people are going to think we don’t know what we are talking about.”

“Making this change now will mean ____ (fill in whatever catastrophic idea that comes to mind).”

Mental flexibility:

“We can change it any time, especially if this change makes more sense.”

“It is ok to be open to changing the content.”

Emotional Resilience:

“I honor and acknowledge the fear that this raises for me. It is important to acknowledge it but not let it paralyze us.”

“Some people will be critical of the change, and that is ok. At the end of the day, we need to honor what feels right for us, and allow others to have their own thoughts and feelings, too.”

The exercises of practicing mental flexibility and emotional resilience are no doubt uncomfortable. They also become more of the norm (i.e., less uncomfortable) the more they are practiced. They are adopted when practiced in the context of safe and supportive relationships.

Now that we have settled the issue of reworking our content, we can get back to Building Your Best Life. Actually, we are doing that by reworking the content! Be assured that mental flexibility and emotional resilience are touchstones that we will refer back to as we go along in this content series. Next week we will delve into another interesting topic: Imposter Syndrome. Check back to learn more about what it is, and how most people secretly struggle with it.