Webinar “Resilience” with Aleksey Schavelev

Who can talk better about resilience and awareness than a professional kickboxing fighter who mastered meditation practices in Tibetan monastery, yoga in India, and Qigong in China?

That's why the Stockholm School of Economics in Russia invited Alexey Schavelev, Consulting Trainer, Head of the Quality of Life Management Practice (© GK Institute of Training - ARB Pro), to the webinar dedicated to "Resilience" held on June 4.

Alexey is a specialist in stress management, improving vitality and preventing professional burnout. These topics are always relevant for managers. But can we discuss them online? At the preparation stage, we asked Alexey about it, and his answer astonished us: "Have you seen a man meditating with his eyes open?"

At the webinar, we talked about what can help the manager. "Everyday stress resistance," says Alexey, "is the ability to recover energy after a working day, to manage emotions and vitality, that is, operational self-regulation". But there is a broader concept - resilience. This is a personal resource that allows you to resist the conditions of the "perfect storm", a situation where all the possible problems and difficulties come together at once. Resilience is closely related to awareness, will, and philosophy of life.

Everyone agrees that now we live under the conditions of extremely high uncertainty and instability of the VUCA world. The direct consequence of this is the impossibility to use previously accumulated experience to solve new problems. That's why the most highly valued quality of a leader is Resilence, that is:

  1. The ability to roll with the punches, to achieve goals while maintaining internal balance,
  2. to make life choices under the conditions of risk and uncertainty,
  3. use the pressure of circumstances as a source of growth and development,
  4. to control the vitality, stress, emotions without burning out.

Resilience is especially necessary if you have:

  • Meaningful losses.
  • Existential crisis, loss of meaning.
  • Ambitious targets with internal and external obstacles ahead
  • Changes, qualitative alterations, complex adaptation to new conditions of existence.

Resilient behavior is impossible without awareness: the ability to manage your attention, to be aware of what is happening.

"To avoid an unexpected punch", - Alexey comments, - "the leader needs to focus his attention on the weak signals of irreversible change, which the world around sends.” In addition, awareness is attention to yourself (thoughts, feelings, motives for making decisions).

The antipode of awareness is "autopilot", the energy-saving mode of the mentality, one form of which is poor concentration and sporadic attention. Modern electronic and digital technologies distract our attention. Experiments show that the average person randomly keeps attention on an object for no more than 30-40 seconds. Awareness should be trained, otherwise the autopilot condition can lead to reactivity of behavior, dependence on the environmental factors, patterns of behavior and managerial decisions at the points of strategic choice, loss of taste for life.

Another leader's competence and a resource for resilience - flexibility of behavior and thinking - is directly related to awareness. Flexibility determines the adaptive person's potential in many ways; it can be intellectual, emotional, behavioral and ideological. When a leader pays attention to the signals of the external environment and understands his own motives for making decisions, he discovers the opportunity to expand the field of finding new, even more effective solutions, which previously didn’t seem obvious.

No brilliant creative idea can be realized without the will of the responsible leader. And what is will? Alexey answers this question in this way: "Will is concentrated in the ability to overcome external and internal difficulties when it is necessary to start doing something, stop doing it or continue doing something". Human will, as conscious self-regulation, is powered by the authentic goals and values. There are five qualities of will that systematically form it: autonomy of will, determination, self-control, patience and purposefulness.

Behind the will of a person is their philosophy of life, under which we understand attitudes that they may not even realize. Life philosophy determines the vision of reality and the reaction to events. Three personal attitudes correlate with resilient behavior: involvement in life (the meaning driver that powers a person with life energy), control and risk acceptance in the absence of guarantees.

And finally, without energy it is impossible to reach any goal, to roll with the punches and keep the inner balance. Leadership energy is not only a physical state. Alexey shows several meditative practices that can be used in everyday life. He finishes his webinar saying: "It's not common around here to quote Nietzsche, but perhaps no one described what I wanted to convey to you better than him. He said: "He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW".

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Aleksey Schavelev
Aleksey Schavelev