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Thursday 1st Oct 2020

Three top tips for building your resilience

If ever a moment called for understanding the concept of resilience, this is it. With daily reminders of what we can and can’t do, plus fundamental changes to the way we work and general uncertainty about the future, it comes as no surprise that you may be feeling exhausted mentally, emotionally and even physically. Resilience is our ability to adapt to adversity or a stressful situation. And we need it now more than ever.

Three top tips for building your resilience

If ever a moment called for understanding the concept of resilience, this is it.

With daily reminders of what we can and can’t do, plus fundamental changes to the way we work and general uncertainty about the future, it comes as no surprise that you may be feeling exhausted mentally, emotionally and even physically.

Resilience is our ability to adapt to adversity or a stressful situation. And we need it now more than ever.

Many of the early theories about resilience stressed the role of genetics. Some people are just born resilient, so the argument went. There’s some truth to that, of course, but empirical evidence today shows that an individual can learn resilience. The reality is that sometimes in life, you don’t realise how much strength you have until you are tested. As the saying goes: cometh the hour, cometh the man.

There are many arguments around what makes one individual more resilient than the next. In my experience it comes down to three things;

#1 A UNIQUE ABILITY TO CONFRONT REALITY HEAD-ON

We all tend to slip into denial as a coping mechanism. Facing reality is gruelling work. It can often be draining and emotionally wrenching. But once you confront your reality, then you have a solid platform on which to build.

Individuals who possess a strong bias and a rich reservoir of personal resilience live their life in a constant state of reality. They don’t bury their head in the sand when faced with challenging times. They don’t go into denial, hoping that a situation or scenario will just sort itself out. And they’re never delusional about the magnitude of opportunities or challenges facing them. They simply have a unique ability to confront reality head-on. They are what I call ‘pragmatic optimists’. They focus on what is within their control.

A sense of optimism and possibility is a powerful tool. But for more significant challenges, a cool, calm, almost pragmatic sense of reality is critical to your success. This is why I see the resilient individual as a pragmatic optimist, where both characteristics work in positive tension to the benefit of each.

#2 AN UNWAVERING BELIEF THAT LIFE IS PURPOSEFUL

Focusing on your purpose – personally and professionally – is the way resilient people build bridges from their current state reality to their future state. It holds them to their North Start during these uncertain times. It is easy to lose focus and purpose when there is so much negative noise and distraction around us which can dilute our purpose. It is at this point when our purpose is challenged, or under threat, resilience will naturally kick in. Knowing your purpose will keep you grounded.

#3 AN UNCANNY ABILITY TO IMPROVISE AND ADAPT

Personal plans you had made might not be playing out as expected. Business plans may be doing a pivot, and you might be spending more time digitally than physically with your loved ones and work colleagues.

I have no doubt you have adapted and improvised to make it work for you. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that we are thinking clearly and are adapting our decision making.

You’re going to take knocks, some days are going to feel like a train crash, and you will go down blind alleys. But if you have an ultimate destination in your mind’s eye, a focused goal and purpose coupled with drive, determination and motivation, then, when you do fall over, you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, improvise, adapt and refocus on your purpose.

That’s personal resilience in action!

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