Welcome to Episode #84. This is your host, Kristi Angevine, and today you're going to learn about resourcefulness, and how to cultivate it as an intentional habit. Let’s get started.
Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. And now, here's your host, Physician, and Master Certified Life Coach, Kristi Angevine.
Hello, hello, everyone. If you're one of my longtime listeners, thank you for joining me every week. If you're new, welcome to the podcast. It is so great that you decided to listen. The goal of this podcast is to empower you with information about your habits, as well as practical ways to apply this information in your everyday real life.
As you'll hear me say often, habits are more than just your morning routine or the habit of pressing snooze. Habits are more than just behaviors. Habits are cognitive and emotional responses. They are the default ways you interpret the world. They are the default ways you think about yourself.
Habits are the automatic ways that you feel, and the automatic ways that you respond emotionally in certain situations. This is why it's so important to have a framework for understanding habits. Because when they're unexamined, we don't really know ourselves and we can so easily cruise through life like we are sleepwalking.
So, if you listen, and you like what you hear, please make sure that you follow the podcast. And if you love what you hear, a review would delight me to no end. Following the podcast and giving it a review helps more than you know.
Now, last week in Episode 83, the topic was disappointment. So, this week's a little bit of a cheerier topic, the topic of resourcefulness. In Episode 82, I discussed framing narratives and the important difference between telling yourself “I have to” versus telling yourself “I choose to.” Today's episode continues on with this theme, with a look at what it entails to embody the quality of resourcefulness.
So, what does it mean to be resourceful? Per the Cambridge Dictionary, to be resourceful means to be skilled at solving problems and skilled at making decisions on your own. The Oxford Dictionary says, to be resourceful is having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome challenges.
Resourcefulness is essentially the ability and the skill to find ways to handle problems or challenges, to make decisions, and to overcome difficulties. So, what's the benefit of resourcefulness? Well, let's be real, in life challenges are inevitable. Unexpected events that we don't really love are inevitable. Things going sideways, things being harder than you expected, they're guaranteed.
This is true no matter your socio-economic status. No matter how good your job sounds on paper. No matter if you're on vacation, on a staycation, or at work. No matter how good your relationships are, challenges are baked into life.
In the face of these challenges, we can make it harder on ourselves or easier on ourselves when the inevitable occurs. Resourcefulness makes it easier. I'm going to explain why, and show you the connection between resourcefulness, self-trust, and self-reliance.
Now, the great news is that resourcefulness is something that you already know how to do. You are already extremely resourceful. Think of some of the challenges you’ve faced in your life. How are you resourceful in the face of them? How did you handle them? How were you clever? Even if you need to think back 10 or 20 years ago, that's totally fine. I guarantee you; you have been resourceful, and you already know how to be resourceful.
If you're currently not feeling like you're very resourceful, no worries. It is a quality that you can cultivate. To cultivate it it's useful to know precisely what it looks like when we're not being resourceful, and then compare that with what it looks like to be resourceful. So, let's talk about these two things.
Not being resourceful, what's it look like? Not being resourceful shows up as the following: Meeting difficulty and only complaining about it. Wallowing in self-pity with no end in sight. Habitually giving up at the first sign of something not going perfectly right. Blaming others. Abdicating responsibility and not taking action toward a solution.
Not being resourceful shows up as assuming you have to do things the same way they've always been done, even when you don't like the results. It shows up as avoiding challenges. You also see it in the situation where you see other people's success and you feel threatened or diminished by their success.
These things are simply behaviors to notice as neutral occurrences. And just because you sometimes complain, or something feel self-pity doesn't mean that you can't also be resourceful. It's only when you are only complaining and staying in a permanent state of wallowing that resourcefulness is scarce.
Another important caveat here is, if you're in a terrible situation that you want out of, do not use this concept of resourcefulness to gaslight yourself and say, “Well, if I were just more resourceful, I wouldn't be struggling so much.” There's a time and a place to change your circumstances. So, do not let this turn into another way to use personal development tools and ideas against yourself.
This brings me to, being resourceful hinges on how you interpret challenges. It's really hard to be resourceful when you make challenges means something negative about your worth, about your capability, and about your intelligence. It's super difficult to be resourceful when you think mistakes are a scathing reflection of who you are.
In essence, resourcefulness is really difficult when you have a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is essentially a belief that your personal strengths, your talents, your intelligence, your personality, is innate, unchangeable, and fixed. It's the idea that you're born with certain qualities that cannot grow or improve. So, from this paradigm of a fixed mindset, whenever you encounter difficulty it's because of a fixed limit that cannot be changed or improved.
In contrast with a growth mindset, where strengths, talents, intelligence, personality, they are seen as changeable. One's capabilities are not fixed, but one can learn and grow and improve. So, from this paradigm, difficulties, they're not indictments but they’re opportunities to be creative and scrappy, and learn and grow.
With this in mind, let's contrast not being resourceful with being resourceful. The way I like to think about this is, there are four main elements that make up what I call a “narrative of resourcefulness.” These four elements are: A willingness to experiment, self-trust, commitment, and a habit of acknowledging progress. So, let's take them one at a time.
Number one, a willingness to experiment. Experimentation in the face of a challenge means brainstorming options, deciding what you're going to do, and going and doing it. It is active, not passive. it is eyes wide open. Knowing that it's possible what you choose to do might not go well. It might fail, you might fail. Things may not go as planned, and that's okay.
A willingness to experiment is a willingness to collect data on the path of learning. It's deliberately employing trial and error towards obstacles and challenges. It sounds like, “You know what? Let's see if this works. Oh, well, that didn't work, bummer. No biggie. What's here for me to learn? What am I going to try next time? What might I do differently?”
All right, element number two. Resourcefulness goes hand in hand with self-trust. This sounds like, “I trust myself to figure it out.” Take a minute right now: How do you feel when you think that to yourself? “I trust myself to figure it out. I'm going to figure it out.” My guess is you likely feel something like encouraged or settled or confident. From emotional states like this, it is so much easier to face challenges with an eye for overcoming them and getting through them.
The third main characteristic of resourcefulness is a sense of commitment. With commitment there's a perseverance in the face of difficulty and failure. Commitment sounds like, “I'm going to figure this out, no matter what. I'm unwilling to let this be a stop sign.” Commitment invokes determination, scrappiness, and kind of that ‘eye of the tiger’ focus on doing something even if it feels like it's uphill. On doing something even if it feels like it's tricky.
Lastly, the fourth characteristic of resourcefulness is acknowledging progress and celebrating it. Now, this is especially important. If you're listening to me say this, and as soon as I say, ‘acknowledging progress and celebrating it,’ you want to roll your eyes. This is particularly important for you.
The habit of perfectionism shows up as minimizing and dismissing things that are excellent but perhaps not exactly as you fantasized they should be. So, acknowledging progress and explicitly celebrating it makes it easier to enjoy the journey of learning, and cultivates the belief that more progress is possible going forward. This is quintessential for resourcefulness.
How can you start cultivating these four aspects of resourcefulness? I want you to just pick one; either a willingness to experiment, self-trust, commitment, or acknowledging and celebrating progress; and then look to your past.
Ask yourself: How was I resourceful by being willing to experiment in the past? How was I resourceful by trusting myself to figure things out in the past? How was I resourceful by being really committed to moving forward in my past? How was I resourceful at acknowledging and celebrating my wins and progress in my past?
Then look at your present, and in a similar way, ask: How am I resourceful in this way right now? Then pick one aspect of resourcefulness that you want to work on in the future and go seek ways that you can do it. Don't seek ways that you can do it next month or next week or next year. I want you to pick ways that you can work on cultivating one of these aspects of resourcefulness today and tomorrow.
Ask yourself: What ways can I bring resourcefulness into my day to make my day easier, more fun, more enjoyable, today? So, in summary, resourcefulness is a quality and a skill of figuring out how to creatively, cleverly handle and overcome challenges and difficulties. It's a growth-oriented process of learning, and it relies on self-trust, commitment, experimentation, and acknowledging progress.
Resourcefulness is so much easier when you don't interpret challenges as indictments. The beautiful thing is, resourcefulness is a skill that you already have, and one that you can amplify in really concrete ways starting today. So, what are you going to do with this information?
Thank you so much for listening, and I will see you next week.
Would you like to start exploring your own thought patterns and your own beliefs about yourself in the world? Are you at a point in your life where you're really ready to be deliberate with your approach to life and deliberate with your habits? If so, I would love to connect.
I would love to help you with the exploration and the application of the concepts that I teach. I keep a small private practice panel. If you're interested in private one-on-one coaching, you can learn more about if we're a match by going to HabitsOnPurpose.com/private.
Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit HabitsOnPurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.