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How Sheryl Sandberg Learned About The Power Of Resiliency and You Can Too

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Whether you just graduated college or are well into your career, there's no amount of Ted Talks, lectures, and nights spent Googling that can prepare you for life in the "real world." What people don't realize is that the difference between college and adulthood isn't taxes, showing up for work on time, or standing out at work. It's learning the power of resiliency.

Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook's chief operating officer – is unquestionably the master of leaning in, but her journey through learning about the power of resiliency is something that anyone can learn from. Even if you aren't striving to conquer Silicon Valley.

The Power of Resiliency As Told By Sandberg

Sandberg has had a dynamic career, serving as Facebook's COO and become the first woman to serve on Facebook's board. She made her impact amongst millennial women when she released her first book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in 2013. This novel sparked the Lean In movement, which tackles issues of business development, the lack of women in government and business leadership positions, as well as feminism. It encourages women to stand up in the workplace.

Sandberg made her mark as Ms. Lean In, but it wasn't until her husband died that she was able to share her experiences of life after death. According to Sandberg's UC Berkeley 2016 Commencement Speech, “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process, you will figure out who you really are—and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

Sandberg makes it known that the power of resiliency shouldn't just be flexed when dealing with the death of a loved one. It can be something as small as not crushing your interview or getting through a rough day at work.

That's the beauty of finding yourself through adulting. You may have dealt with struggles in college, but life post-grad is genuinely about finding your footing and dealing with the adversity that comes your way. So how do you do that? It's easy to throw around a powerful word like resiliency, but how do you become resilient? According to Sandberg, you have to learn how to address the three P's: Personalization, Pervasiveness, and Permanence.

Personalization, Pervasiveness, Permanence

According to Sandberg “the seeds of resilience are planted in the way we process the negative events in our lives...” This isn't something that Sandberg pulled from her personal bag of mindfulness; she learned this through the work of psychologist Martin Seligman. By identifying the three "Ps," he was able to get to the core of how people explain and overcome the things that happen to them in life.

Personalization is “the belief that we are at fault.” Think back to various events in your life, like when you received a bad review, you were yelled at in a meeting, or felt overwhelmed and afraid that you couldn't reach your deadlines. In most cases, our first reaction as humans is to blame ourselves, which is completely different from taking responsibility. But to be a resilient person, one cannot wallow in the "woe is me" mentality. This notion leads to pervasiveness.

When something bad happens, it feels like our world is ending. Pervasiveness is the belief that an event will affect all areas of one’s life. Learning how to separate occurrences is essential. When you have a bad day at work, that doesn't mean your whole day is ruined. It can be something as small as a barista getting your order wrong, or an accident delaying your commute, but to be resilient, you can't let one event permeate your whole existence. Something can impact your life, but you need to grow from that. This ultimately leads to permanence.

Permanence is the feeling that a circumstance or feeling is everlasting, but bad moments don't last forever. One's first reaction may be the "my life is over feeling" but it's who you are when the going gets tough that shows how you will bounce back or not. That's the key to building resilience. Knowing that you have the utmost ability to get through absolutely anything.

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About the Author

Allanah Dykes has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Politics from Fairfield University. She started her freelance career in 2016 and has written about how to land a job post-college, internships, and the interviewing process. She has pieces featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, and Popsugar.