International Keynote Speaker Duncan Stevens

Building Resilience

How To Build Resilience

To achieve your goals, overcome adversity and build resilience, it’s essential to push beyond your fears.

As children, many of us had big dreams: becoming athletes, musicians, astronauts, or even a president or prime minister. But, as time passes, most settle for more ordinary jobs. Fear is the main reason people abandon their early aspirations. The loftier the dream, the greater the fear of making the necessary leap to achieve it.

Take aspiring to be a prime minister or president, for instance. It involves stepping into politics, which demands comfort with public speaking, securing votes, and the daunting task of addressing congress or parliament. This requires extensive preparation and a deep understanding of current societal issues.

Thinking about the commitment and effort needed can be overwhelming. What if you freeze up at the podium, or worse, make a misstep in your speech? The potential for things to go wrong can seem endless.

You Have 2 Choices

There are two choices: surrender to fear or confront it. Often, the easier path is to give up.

Many wish to attain their dream without facing fear, but that’s not feasible. Overcoming fear is crucial to achieving greatness.

To begin, try this visualization technique:

Suppose you dream of being a novelist. Visualize the steps to achieve this, acknowledging the fear that arises. Instead of avoiding it, embrace and work through it. Imagine yourself writing your book and finally typing “The End.”

Envisioning the completion of your goal will energize you, fueling your journey. The mix of fear and excitement provides the adrenaline needed to embrace the challenges ahead.

True passion is vital for realizing dreams. Dreams like becoming a Navy SEAL or a CIA agent come with inherent dangers. For such dreams, you must be ready to face any risk.

However, this level of commitment is necessary even for less perilous dreams.

Realizing a dream involves overcoming hurdles and enduring rejection and criticism. At these low points, your passion must be unyielding.

If your commitment is half-hearted or merely a trial, it’s unlikely to sustain you through challenges.

The first step is ensuring your dream genuinely ignites your passion.

Here are some tips:

Fighting for justice and equality is a powerful dream. The satisfaction of helping others can keep your dream alive during tough times.

Your dream doesn’t need to be altruistic. It could be setting a new record in exploration or extreme sports, or starting a profitable business. Whatever it is, it must be something you deeply care about, as you will face rejection. Your passion is your driving force.

The Number One Secret To Achieving Your Dreams

Persistence is key to achieving your dreams.

Rejection can be demoralizing, but it’s a normal part of the process.

Feeling singled out by rejection is common, but the reality is, everyone faces it. Whether it’s publishing a book, securing a record deal, or launching a start-up, rejection is widespread.

Resilience in the face of rejection is what differentiates dreamers from achievers.

Consider Stephen King’s “Carrie,” rejected multiple times, or William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies,” which faced numerous rejections. They didn’t see rejection as failure but as a step in their journey.

To progress towards your dreams, you must conquer your fears and continually challenge yourself.

If you fear sharks, avoiding the ocean seems logical. However, if overcoming this fear is your goal, diving into shark-infested waters might be the answer.

Desensitization is an effective method for overcoming fear.

Psychologists advocate desensitization, where repeated exposure to the fear source gradually reduces its impact. This approach is vital for pursuing your dream, especially if your dream triggers your fear, like acting with stage fright. With repeated exposure, the fear diminishes, making your dream more attainable.

Desensitization means practicing and being brave enough to face challenges head-on. The more you do this, the fewer fears and barriers stand between you and your dreams.

Start by listing everything you’d want to do in life if nothing held you back. Then, do the visualization exercise again, picturing yourself starting towards these goals and facing rejection – but also imagine success in a couple of your dreams. If even just two out of ten dreams come true, the other eight rejections are worth it, right?

With this healthier view, you’re ready to chase your dreams. When you apply for opportunities that scare you and receive a rejection letter, take it as a sign you’re on the right track.

How To Deal With Criticism

Next, let’s talk about dealing with criticism, which is closely linked to rejection.

To improve self-critique, it’s helpful to detach from your work and view it from a fresh angle. Ever ditched a dream or hobby thinking you lacked talent?

We’re often too critical of ourselves, but constructive criticism is beneficial. To do this effectively, take a step back and view your work anew.

Leonardo da Vinci used this method. He’d use a mirror to see his paintings in reverse, gaining an objective view and judging them as if seeing them for the first time.

Even stepping back to view your work from a distance can offer fresh insights, applicable beyond painting.

Athletes and performers review video and audio recordings to identify unnoticed weaknesses.

Taking a break from your work is another way to gain perspective.

Pause your work for a while. When you return, you’ll judge it more accurately.

Many writers, like Maya Angelou, separate writing and editing phases. Angelou wrote for six hours during the day and edited in the evening, keeping only the best parts.

A fresh perspective is key to effective self-criticism.

Now, think about success. What does the word evoke for you?

Understanding your views on success is crucial, as it influences how you pursue your dreams.

Success is often seen in three ways, but only one is positive.

Some view success as superficial and unethical, focusing on wealth but also greed and corruption.

Others see success as unattainable, like a mountain peak beyond reach – a demotivating viewpoint.

The healthy view of success is achieving something meaningful, whether it’s inspiring art, inventing something revolutionary, or empowering others. This perspective keeps you on the right track towards your dreams.

If you’ve got negative thoughts about success, it’s high time to switch them up.

The writer, once a young idealist and budding poet, viewed corporations as the bad guys. Growing up, he realised he had to be business-savvy to make it as a freelancer.

He found inspiration in Shakespeare, a brilliant writer and shrewd businessman. This helped him see that business and creativity aren’t enemies. Understanding this made things much simpler.

Next, let’s clear up some myths about success. Then, you’re all set to chase your dreams!

Anyone can follow their dreams, just start experimenting to boost your confidence.

If you’ve ever doubted you’re smart or brave enough to chase your dreams, it’s time for a rethink.

The key to pursuing dreams? Simply being willing to work hard.

There’s a myth that you need certain traits for specific jobs. For example, people think all politicians or actors are extroverts. But actually, you don’t need tons of confidence to start.

When you broaden your thinking about what’s achievable, your confidence grows. Start experimenting.

Write down things you’d love to do but think you can’t, along with the reasons why. Lack empathy, courage, smarts, or strength? Put it on paper.

Now, begin the experiment.

Say you think you could never be an Olympic biker. Why not start by fixing that old bike? Small steps build confidence and inch you closer to your dream.

Time to move past fear of rejection and criticism and embrace life’s adventures!

Resilience isn’t exclusive to a few; it’s a skill you develop by not giving up, no matter the rejection or criticism.

More About Duncan Stevens

Duncan Stevens is one of the worlds leading high-performance coaches and keynote speakers. He helps teams and leaders cultivate a mindset for success using his background on behavioural psychology and over a decade in helping teams and leaders positively impact their bottom line. He is a best-selling author, successful entrepreneur and has spoken around the world in over 40 different countries. 

To learn more about Duncan, check his availability or to explore his speaking topics and how he can add value to your event with his inspiring, educational and entertaining approach to his keynotes then get in touch with Duncan or a member of his team below.