Throughout his career in law enforcement and his resiliency training with the Wisconsin National Guard, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski has found the truth in someone’s anxiety is somewhere in the middle. Whether it is positive or a negative situation that is on the rise, resiliency teaches you to weigh out the best and worst-case scenarios. From there, Joski recommends people sort out fact from fiction, apply optimism, and use perspective.
Joski says by developing determination that we can all “paint our own portrait” rather than let anxiety take over.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
As we continue to forge ahead during these challenging times, I wanted to continue sharing article as they relate to resiliency. There seem to be so many events which have unfolded in front of us that we feel we have little to no ability of control over. Although we live in unprecedented times, there is always hope but we do have to be able channel our energies so that we do not allow ourselves to get caught up in that we cannot control. The good news is that regardless of the situation, we can control our response and by doing so improve our ability to persevere.
The skill that I am going to discuss today is just for that purpose and is meant to be applied in the moment, or in the immediate time leading up to whatever challenge it is you are about to face. These situations are not always negative, but for a variety of reasons are causing you some level of anxiety. A good example is getting ready to teach a class, or take a test. So many times we allow self doubt to invade our thoughts and create even greater anxiety which can affect us mentally and even physiologically. Just like so many other aspects of our lives we can either control or be controlled and stress is no different.
The first step to apply when insecurity or thoughts of doubt begin to surface is to counter them with facts which prove those negative thoughts as false. A good example is getting ready to run a race. If you start to think that you are not going to be successful, remind yourself that you have trained and prepared and that you will be successful in the run. The next step is to apply optimism. In this example you may have a negative thought about your run, but you counter it with an optimistic thought such as “I may not finish first, but I will finish strong”. The third step is to apply perspective. In this example of doubting your performance in a run, you counter it with a positive thought of perspective such as “Regardless of the outcome there will be other races”.
The purpose of this skill is to build confidence and lower stress so that you are better prepared for the task at hand. It is not meant as a means to minimize our faults or make excuses for poor performance. This skill also allows us to remain undaunted in the face of what others may see as substantial odds against us.
What I like about this skill is its ability to form in each of us a sense of determination. When I look at so many of the men and women who are successful in their lives and the vast diversity and backgrounds which they come from, there is one characteristic which they all share; perseverance. If we look back over our history as a nation we can see so many examples of leaders who faced what seemed like insurmountable odds. From the Revolutionary War to the Great Depression we as a nation have overcome so many challenges. If you were to interview those caught up in the events you would likely see some common traits one of them being perseverance.
As a parent I can think of no other skill I would want to equip my children with than that of resiliency. Whether they use it to prepare for test, or a job interview or facing what they may think at the time is a battle they cannot win, the ability to remain resilient in the moment could make the difference between success and failure. Even more importantly to help them understand that even in failure there is growth and the ability to stay positive will make all the difference in the world. It is important that we take the time to share with our own children the struggles and challenges we have faced in the past both as individuals and as well as a nation and to assure them that “This Too Shall Pass”. As I have said before, long after the headlines have faded and we move forward, what will be remembered is our Virtue and the content of our character. Those character traits define our actions and our actions are the outward portrait of who we are as a person. We each paint our own portrait!