Resilience – Because You Weren’t Built To Break

So, resilience has been on my mind the last few days.

I have a second interview next week for a rather fabulous job and given that it is quite a challenging role they want to discuss my ability to be resilient … well, now there is something I can definitely do!

And so a blog was born!

What does the dictionary have to say about Resilience?

  • It is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
  • The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Anyone can deal with that which we see coming, for which we have time to prepare.

Resilience, to me, is something different.

It is about dealing with the completely unforeseen, recovering and moving on from the shock of the unexpected.

Resilience is about a strength of character, a mind-set, an attitude, an essence, a toughness of spirit – a RELENTLESS and optimistic unwillingness to ever give up whatever the obstacles.

It seems like an eminently relevant word for the world today in general, but without doubt it is relevant to the world of small business entrepreneurship.

I am quite looking forward to my internet wanderings today ….

Harvard Business Review – How Resilience Works

HBR – rarely a bad place to start!

A great article on the question we all want answered – why do some people crumble into quivering wrecks in the face of adversity when others have the seemingly indestructible ability to rise up again and again not matter what life throws at them?

This reporter, Diane Coutu, sees it as an important study in times that seem to be hell bent on trying humanity to the limits of it’s endurance – physically, mentally and spiritually.

“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”

Inside Of Ourselves – The Essence Of Resilience

My husband is oft to be heard bemoaning my tendency to veer into the pessimistic side of any situation – I ignore him, quite frequently actually 🙂 Personally I think it is more about being a problem solver … starting from an unflinchingly realistic position and moving ahead from there.

In all seriousness, it is necessary to acknowledge the practicalities and worst case scenarios in any situation but you can’t stay stuck in that mind frame.

To move through any problem or change you need to make a conscious decision to switch to the positive, weigh the alternatives, see things from a different angle …. REFRAME!

By reframing experiences or aspects of ourselves we don’t like we can compost them and let them lift us towards a future we desire rather than one we feel we need to ‘settle for’.

By asking more of ourselves, lifting our sights to a ‘higher’ place it becomes possible to see things differently. The key is to learn to look at ourselves and our circumstances in ways that assist our growth and evolution rather than inhibiting it.

You may well have seen this very famous picture before but it is a great way to demonstrate the brains innate capacity to switch thinking and reframe – do you see a horrible old hag or a beautiful young lady?

For Our Careers – 10 Ways To Boost Your Work Resilience

The key here is that resilience is NOT a passive quality, but an active process. Not a character trait you are born with but a learned skill.

How we approach life, and everything it can throw at us, has a massive impact on our experiences. Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life.

The dictionary definition above says it all for me – it is the ability to bounce back, and to do it in such a way as to learn and grow in the process.

At work, resilient people are better able to deal with the demands placed upon them, especially where those demands might require them to be dealing with constantly changing priorities and a heavy workload.

My role as an EA is a place of constant change – having jobs thrown at me at a moments notice, having 3 things on my desk that really could have done with being submitted YESTERDAY, an inbox that is the very vision of one step forward and three back, people coming up to my desk several times an hour looking sheepish and saying ‘Julie, is there any chance you could just…’.

I love it. I love being the person who everyone comes to when they need anything and absolutely everything. I love the pressure. I love the variety. I love being a font of all knowledge. I love solving problems on the run. I love the fact that I learn something new everyday. I love being needed.

BUT it does make for a hectic life and takes considerable resilience. It is the very foundation of what I do. To keep calm when everyone around you is throwing their hands in the air and getting into a state.

My systematic thoughts in such a situation …

Is anyone going to die?

No?

Then CALM DOWN

Flapping is only slowing you down

Take one step at a time!

And as to why this is one of the top five skills every single one of my previous bosses would immediately mention if asked?

It isn’t a consciously learned skill but one I have gained through experience over the years – perhaps having a baby in my second year of university? Completing my final year with a part time job and a two year old in tow? Being private secretary to an MP in the middle of a financial crash?

My one opportunity at life is far too short for needless drama, and I learnt through experience and age that most things that stress us out really are just passing storms.

Optimism is the Key – Sometimes it is necessary to switch reality off

And I don’t mean it in a ‘head in the sand’ ostrich kind of a way. For the record, that NEVER helps – by all means have a few hours with your head under the pillow refusing to acknowledge the world but you really should get up sooner rather than later.

No, what I mean by this is social media, tv, newspapers (especially the rags) etc etc etc.

The last few weeks have been tough here in the UK – the horribly abusive EU referendum campaign, the murder of an MP, the terrible result (well for 48% of us), the crashing economic situation and now the blood bath that is evident on both sides of the House of Commons.

It is all fascinating but at the same time you should also be conscious of how these things are making you feel. I can be in a perfectly great mood and then find myself falling into a slump of feeling increasingly hopeless about the future/ economy/ state of the environment having being sucked into some trending hashtag on Twitter!

To be resilient you need to be conscious of your own feelings and moods, what triggers them and how to snap yourself out of it.

Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter will attest to the fact that I am a sucker for a good inspirational quote, I have ridiculous numbers of positivity books (such as ‘7 habits’ or the totally fabulous ‘Go-Giver’) and shelves full of great mood enhancing DVD’s.

Being in a rut is something you have complete influence over … take control, know how to make yourself feel better and move on with your life.

We discovered that people who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local, and changeable. (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”) That suggested how we might immunize people against learned helplessness, against depression and anxiety, and against giving up after failure: by teaching them to think like optimists.

Inside Our Children – How People Learn To Become Resilient

Well, if like me you have some event to stress about at the moment (for me it is a considerable and completely incorrect tax bill from the Revenue – arghh!) the story about the boy with the ‘bread sandwich’ will certainly start to pull you up short.

I find it is never a bad thing to seek out the things that will put any first world situation into some serious perspective.

An interesting read on where the strength for resilience comes from!

Human kind has a natural tendency to err on the side of the negative and dramatic, but the good news is that we also have the power to overcome that instinct with a conscious change to your thinking.

“If I had said, ‘Do you have kids in this school who seem to be troubled?,’ there wouldn’t have been a moment’s delay. But to be asked about children who were adaptive and good citizens in the school and making it even though they had come out of very disturbed backgrounds—that was a new sort of inquiry. That’s the way we began.”

For The Planet – Get Resilient In An Unstable World

So as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a bit of a workaholic. I absolutely love what I do and when I have finished my employed working day I come home and start on my other passion – OurOtherOffice.

Anyway, the point of telling you that was to lead up to saying that my full time job is as EA to the Chief Financial Officer of a really rather fabulous renewable energy company – and I can sometimes be a bit evangelical about their wonderful and indescribably important mission.

A renewable and sustainable future is essential to secure the future of our species – not the world, US! The planet is resilient, much more so than humanity. I’ve never come across ‘Get Resilient’ before but it has some great stuff in it, the following animation is well worth a watch!

Surfing the Waves of Change is an animation exploring the idea of community resilience using the metaphor of a surfer to explain how communities can make themselves more resilient in these changing times.

Harvard Business Review – How Resilience Works

A great article on the question we all want answered – why do some people crumble into quivering wrecks in the face of adversity when others have the seemingly indestructible ability to rise up again and again not matter what life throws at them?

This reporter, Diane Coutu, sees it as an important study in times that seem to be hell bent on trying humanity to the limits of it’s endurance – physically, mentally and spiritually.

“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”

For All Of Us – Just because I think we should all do a bit more of this!

What do you do for a living, for fun, for the betterment of your fellow man? Are you proud enough of it?

The folk tale goes like this, one day a visitor came to the space station and asked a cleaner who was sweeping up what job they did there. The cleaner replied ‘I help put men on the moon

Do You Spend Enough Time Reaching For The Stars???

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