How To Use Psychological Hardiness For Your Success

Psychological hardiness, also known as “stress hardiness,” is a concept developed by Dr. Suzanne Kobasa. This concept refers to the mindset that is resistant to the negative impacts of stressful circumstances.

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The more stress-hardy executives had three distinguishing characteristics. I’ve adapted the three Cs of Kobasa [and added a fourth] to the issue of career examination as follows:

1. Commitment: People with a strong sense of commitment to themselves, their families, their work, or a personal cause. They believe in their self-worth. They want either to feel better about their current field of professional engagement or find other outlets that will suit them better.

2. Challenge: People who see life as a challenge welcome considering new career options and seeing opportunities, not obstacles.

3. Control: People who feel a sense of control over their lives and pay attention to the power they have, rather than feeling at the mercy of external influences.

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4. Confidence: Confidence is both the byproduct of commitment, control, and challenge and serves via feedback to engender yet more of those qualities.

Every successful professional has these personal characteristics in abundance. Marshaling them now in your own self-interest is within your capability and will help keep you focused on your career assessment.

Withstanding Critics

For all their independence, professional experts are often sensitive to the reaction of others. I think it’s a product of spending our formative years being judged by others. Is he good enough to be in our school? Do we want her in our program? Compliance with rules, both spoken and unspoken, and the prevailing orthodoxy is wise during our education, and as a young staff professional, it can be almost as hard to stand outside the status quo.

Fear of criticism, including the self-critical nature that is a frequent component of the professional person, holds many back from bold decision-making. Often, fear shows you where to go.

To restore balance, consider the following quotations from critics of the critics:

1. The playwright Arthur Miller said critics were: “People who can’t sing or dance.”
2. Picasso, no stranger to criticism of his art and his personal life, said: “Every critic is a priest of a dogma, of a system, and condemns implacably what he finds to be out of his faith, a faith not reasoned but imposed.”

There are critics who are thoughtful and attuned to their own biases. Unfortunately, much of what passes for criticism is dull-edged, hewing to the status quo. Mind who you listen to and what their underlying agenda is, and pay more attention to what angel investors could mean for you and your endeavors.

Stress And Time Efficiency

Over the past few years, business publications have harped constantly on the need for “improved productivity.” A significant portion of the improving US economy has been attributed to greater productivity, resulting in better corporate profits but (predictably enough) no improvement in real wages for the man in the street. Professionals have also come under the gun to boost productivity. Behavioral theories for learning were getting more attention. Here are the tips for time efficiency.

1. We must work more with support teams. Too many professionals have a need to control. In the long run, we’d gain more by letting go and insisting on fair reimbursement for the work of these support staff.

2. We must team better with our colleagues. We come together when economic self-interest is the motive. We could achieve this in the long term if we approached it from the standpoint of optimum patient care at the outset and insisted on sufficient time to make our patient exchanges meaningful.

3. We must enlist the support of our clients. It takes time, time to treat, time to educate, time to prevent, and time to collect the measurements, which shows that this is a vastly more cost-effective model of care in the first place.

4. We must increase our focus on what is common and routine and less on novel therapies and techniques.

Our time is one of the most precious possessions – completely free in one sense – and entirely at our disposal if we choose to empower ourselves. Lack of time and attention undermines numerous valuable relationships in our lives.

Constraining time has many toxic byproducts. We owe it to our own desire for professional satisfaction and the well-being of our patients to insist on getting some of that time back.