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PERSONAL GROWTH by Kristin Harper T his year has brought more than its fair share of trauma. Many of us might fear we’ll never bounce back from the resulting challenges and hard times, especially women entrepreneurs who are facing more than their share of challenges personally and professionally. Contrary to popular belief, after a period of emotional turmoil, most survivors of trauma eventually bounce back, recover and return to their lives. And in some cases, they do much more. They bounce forward and experience post-traumatic growth. I’ve written about these and other crucial tools for helping leaders build resilience, deal with disappointment, and improve relationships in my new book, The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career. Following are ten strategies for building the resilience to move from trauma to triumph. 1 Practice mindfulness. Become keenly aware of the circumstances, how you feel, what you think, and what your options are. When you pause to observe the experience from a neutral standpoint, and then to try to solve the problem, you pivot attention from the neural network in your brain to the more observational parts of the brain. Becoming detached from the raw emotions empowers you to approach the future with high intent and low attachment. 2 Breathe slowly and deeply. Being stressed keeps your immune system from working at full capacity. Over time, chronic stress, even from seemingly minor inconveniences can cause you to develop anxiety or depression. Diaphragmatic breathing is beneficial in high-stress situations and as a daily practice to stay grounded and in greater control of your response to life’s inevitable curveballs. 3 Build a robust emotional vocabulary. The purpose of expressing emotions is to help you reach a resolution to what’s bothering you. This can’t be done if your feelings are bottled up or unexpressed. Research shows that translating feelings into even just one or two words literally calms the part of our brain that controls emotions, which greatly reduces our emotions’ influence over us. 4 Reflect. As you process the situation, it’s healthy to reflect but not to ruminate. Churning over the “if-only” about the past or being anxious over the “what-ifs” of the future is futile. As you reflect, take responsibility for any words, actions, and behaviors that may have affected the situation. Articulate what you have learned to become stronger and wiser in the future. Identify concerns quickly and courageously, and don’t let them fester. Explore the possibilities and consider the potential upsides of this unforeseen trauma or situation. 5 Reframe your mindset. Research has found that super-resilient people are six times more likely to do one thing: force themselves to have an internal locus of control. In other words, the more you believe that you have control over the outcomes of your life (and that you can cope with less than optimal outcomes), the more resilient you are. 6 Search for meaning. Resist the impulse to view yourself as a victim and to lament, “Why me?” Instead, 10 Steps for Building Resilience to Move from Trauma to Triumph Finding meaning is the way resilient people build bridges from present-day hardships to a fuller life and better-constructed future. Bradley Dennien / Shutterstock.com 48 enterprising Women

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