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Resilience: What's your strategy?

Updated: Oct 16, 2020

What is your version of resilience?

This morning I gave a talk to a group of independents on the topic of resilience. I invited people to think about their resilience strategies. Their version of resilience, exploring opportunities to adapt, change tactic and enhance well-being.

I invite you to do the same too.

I start this blog a little bleak. Life can be a struggle.

2020 has thrown us plenty of needs for “resilience”

The definition of resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and toughness…. The ability to spring back, to demonstrate elasticity. “

Our own definitions might look different and the people around us have different definitions too.

It is a myth to believe that resilience is just simply to keep on going when times are hard.

Whilst that might be the making for some. It can also be the straw that broke the camels back. If you haven’t created strategies to keep you recharged, you capabilities and mindset might be depleted from the start.

It's common that some of the strategies we think are helpful may actually be counter-productive when it comes to enhancing resilience.

Which of these strategies do you currently?

  • Are you sticking your head in the sand, hoping the challenge will pass you by?

  • Do you leap off the precipice into the abyss without checking if the bungee cord is still attached?

  • Are you armouring up and soldiering on in the face of challenges and unexpected change?

  • Or are you on the plight to be the superhero figure saving everyone else before you save yourself.

  • Perhaps you are at the bottom of the scrum while your team, clients, or family scramble around on top.

  • Or do you simply put it off, procrastinating the actions you need to take to build resilience, hurtling into a ball of panic at the last minute.

We might need to call upon resilience in some of the following situations:

  • Change and the unexpected

  • First times and new experiences where we still have things to learn/process

  • Leading others – particularly where the others are less resourced in resilience themselves

  • Facing adversity: like loss, physical or mental health or emotional distress.

  • Lacking resources either internally or externally to reach a desired outcome.

When it comes to seeing the signs that your battery of resilience is low you may recognise:

  • · Confusion, anger, or frustration

  • · Over thinking

  • Anxiety and worry

  • Guilt/shame or remorse

  • ·Sleepless nights

  • Changes in appetite

  • Feeling out of your depth

  • Ineffective communication in which you are misunderstood or the words in your head are not the same as the words you articulate.

When building resilience ask yourself the question. Is this part of my every day? Am I resilient enough to face resilience? What can I do now to recharge, to bank skills, knowledge, energy, or resources to make the tough times a little easier or more quickly resolved?

Begin with 4 steps.

  • Press Pause – resilience can be about stopping too.

  • Check for vital signs – are you breathing (calmly), thirsty, hungry, tired, comfortable?

  • Take stock or stock take – have you got enough internal and external resources to move through this?

  • Change perspective/ Change Tactic – how else can you look at the challenge, where can you change feelings or thoughts, what can you do differently?

Whilst it might be easy ( and even exciting at first) to get into a reactive fight or flight reaction in the face of unknown challenges. Resilience can be strengthened with a calm mind and body that keeps the logical part of the brain open to function and problem solving and helps you endure longer term challenges.

I really like this diagram below to expand those ideas of being resilient.

  • · Focus on your self-esteem when it comes to being resilient believing and practicing habits that show you deserve the mechanisms to bounce back with ease

  • · Create flexibility – not too rigid, not too flimsy!

  • · Build strong and rewarding relationships that enhance your capacity for resilience.

  • · Have the freedom to express – whether screaming into a pillow or dancing in your kitchen. Let out the negative vibes and embrace your version of building resilience.

  • · Learn positive coping strategies - that wine at night, might just be masking the need to up the resources in the face of challenges in life or business.

  • · Understand your emotions, check in, know what you are feeling and change it up with action if it is getting in the way.

  • · Be present – dwelling in the past or fearing the future takes away from the capacity to just be as effective in focusing and moving through.

  • · Avoid judgment – judging others only creates a negative state within. Evaluate, reflect, learn instead of casting aspersions.

So, I return to the 4 steps

  1. Press pause

  2. Check for vitals

  3. Take stock/stock take

  4. Change perspective.

Know that you have the freedom to change your strategies and build in resilience, using your behaviours, thoughts, and feelings wisely as a resource. How can they transform?

  • Head in the sand, turns in to considering what unhelpful information & distractions can you filter out of your day.

  • That bungee is so much safer when you have checked the systems & knowledge are in place to take the snag

  • Instead of armouring up consider how you protect and are kind to yourself through regular self-care.

  • Be your own superhero, celebrating the things you learn, the courage you demonstrate and the adversity you move through.

  • Be part of a team or network of strong relationships that knuckles in together and pulls each other up at the end.

  • Prioritise instead of procrastinating, turn time into your friend not your enemy. Take the uncomfortable tasks and seek the benefit of their completion and the learning you gain from the mishaps on the way.

Resilience is responding not reacting, it is rational not animal.

Find your flow, the one that works for you. When it stops working because the world around you has changed. Embrace the freedom of creating new ways to feel recharged.

For more ways to build emotional resilience into your life, talk to JK about the weird and wonderful world of coaching (indoors/online or out in nature) Email:

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