Updated: Mar 18
This decade started with a year of great challenge and change for all of us, 2020.
Across the globe, everyone had to step up and show tremendous care for our families, friends, communities and one another. It was clear we all needed to rethink what type of commitment was required to support our personal circles whilst maintaining our professional delivery.
Dealing with the new and different challenges can be overwhelming and we have witnessed some very good operators succumb under the pressure whilst others seem to have taken on board each new layer of change as they waved in successively.
What makes some thrive and some struggle in changing times?
One word: Resilience.
Depending on your socio-cultural background, Resilience has many close cousins - grit, courage, hope, positivity, inner power.
Resilience is often spoken about in terms of navigating or simply getting through challenges. But the key part of resilience is not just about bouncing back, but also bouncing forward. Whether it is a requirement to work from a noisy home, or deliver on new client demands knowing budgets have drastically reduced, there are many factors that can very quickly trigger stress, panic, prioritisation failures and output failure, which in turn, feed a chaotic spiral.
Do some people just have it better? Or are they just born with wonderful attributes that make them better?
Resilience is NOT a static attribute, but a process triggered by a mindset.
The Resilient mindset turns adversity from a blocker to a catalyst for betterment and becoming stronger. Thus resilience is a process, not a static attribute. It is something we can continue to use and develop as we raise the bar to start 2021
Why Is Resilience an Important Process?
The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress is probably one of the greatest tools of this decade. Resilience builds this process from two angles, one of limiting any damage caused by rapid changes or unforeseen disparaging situations, then bouncing back with renewed conviction despite not knowing a definite outcome.
How can we boost our Resilience?
Luckily, there are some easy ways to build the resilience process and ultimately a resilient mindset. We can simply start by acknowledging some truths about what resilience is and is not.
Resilience is not about ignoring emotions and soldiering on. On the contrary, if we avoid facing the more difficult emotions, this may erode our capacity for resilience over time.
Resilience is about experiencing all of life's emotions, and dealing with them one by one firstly by acknowledging the stressors that triggered the emotions within us, and acknowledging these emotions are perfectly valid for anyone facing the same circumstances, however strong they are.
Resilience is also about acknowledging that whilst the emotions may have been triggered by outside factors, the inner circular conversations within our minds are what cause the feeling of hopelessness, being overwhelmed and completely overpowered.
Have or Have Not is Irrelevant
Resilience is not an attribute one either has or doesn't have, nor is it a trait. Resilience is a process. Like any process, we can all begin to design and implement resilience in our everyday personal and professional lives.
If you have had the chance to work on a chaotic project where a resilient colleague seemed to just have the magical ability of never getting stressed, it may indeed seem like it is more of a gift. They are no different other than having a process which they implemented. They developed healthy coping strategies to get them through stressful times.
Fear of Failing
Failure is inevitable for any professional at some stage or the other. Resilient people learn and grow from their failures rather than beating themselves up constantly. They learn to respect the adversity in a situation, look at what went wrong, they are not afraid to acknowledge where they are not coping and ask for help. They team up with people to look for the best solutions given the circumstances.
Resilient people are more likely to seek help when they need it. They try to be self-aware of their surroundings, their stressors, their strengths and weaknesses. Then they reach out to supplement with help before the need arises, in as much of a planned way as possible.
Being resilient will not guarantee success at every step, nor will it make all problems go away, however, it will give the ability to deal with situations in a healthy way for most parties involved, and move on more quickly where needed.
When we look at resilience and mental health, resilience can help protect us from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as stress.
However sometimes the challenges we face mean that we may need other forms of support and help from your own health practitioner and local support.