In finance a paper gain is a gain that has not been realized yet. If a stock we own rises we only realize the gain if we sell and lock in the profit. The same premise is at work in our personal development. We must “lock in” our gains. Selling a stock is a decisive act. We need to act in the same decisive manner and make sure ours gains were not just of the short-term variety.
Grit and resilience are part of the story, but not everything. Being able to snap back from adversity is an essential characteristic. But often what people are snapping back from are potentially new levels of performance or achievement. This would be more accurately described as resistance. People are like rubber bands. When we start a new change, potential is applied and we start to stretch. The choice is to snap forward or snap back.
The Navy SEALs have a belief that under stress a person does not rise to the occasion, but that they sink to their level of training. I would add that we sink (or snap back) to our comfort level.
Keys to realizing your gains:
Be scrupulous about old patterns, paradigms and assumptions. If a key issue for you was trusting others, be careful of slipping back into a pattern of suspicion. A train will never reach a new destination staying on an old track.
Don’t coddle yourself. Of course be nice to yourself, but just like with kids, tough love really is love. If “that’s not you anymore” then don’t do back. There’s a reason the prom dress and tux don’t fit or flatter anymore. You really have outgrown them and not just in the physical sense.
Be explicit about your new standards. Be clear about what the new normal is for you now. If your goal was to get more initiative from your team, then your new standard may be “I put attention on what (outcomes, objectives, and accountabilities) and less on how.” Moses came down from the mountain with explicit instructions. What would you carve in your tablets?
In the 70s a catchy tune came out by the Detroit Spinners called Rubberband Man. Do be that person who can be resilient. Don’t be that person that never realizes their potential by snapping back.