Resilience

Being in HR, in a leadership role and “putting myself out there” – my resilience is tested fairly frequently. I have needed to strengthen and develop my resilience reserves to face the many and varied challenges that come my way.

It’s tricky being a female in senior positions in business, especially if you are working in male dominated industries. You are expected to either be a motherly figure or adopt masculine behaviour. When you don’t fit into either of these expectations it’s difficult to fit in and for people to understand you. So for a long time I’ve put defences and barriers up, which disconnected me from others and dampened my sparkle, losing my sense of self.

As I’ve learnt and grown from the storms I have weathered, I’ve recognised it is important to be resilient in a way that keeps me true to my values and doesn’t harden/hide me from the world – vulnerability is good, but that’s one for another day!

Over the last 6 months we have all needed to ‘up’ our resilience to keep going through the challenges this pandemic has brought, which have felt at times relentless.

As we recover from the pandemic we will need resilience even more to pick ourselves back up and emerge even stronger than before.

So, with this in mind I thought I would share with you what I’ve been doing to bolster my resilience to keep going – just in case it helps you in strengthening yours…

Growth Mindset and Reflective Practice – being open to learning from the lessons that life is teaching, is my first go to. Taking time to reflect on situations, to consider what has gone well and what could have been done even better is my first step. Then looking at how I’m feeling and exploring why I am feeling the way I am, helps to deepen my reflections. By taking time to do this, it helps me to learn from my experiences, change my mind sometimes and improve to be better.

Existentialism – it’s not the situation that is hurting me, it’s the way I am thinking about it that is causing the pain. Checking in with thoughts and reframing these is a key exercise. So to is recognising that I have a choice over my thoughts and I have agency to take action over the things within my control and I need to let go of the things that I can’t.

Values – I learnt this from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, if you are operating from a place of good intent and in accordance with your values this provides a map for your actions so you can review and sensecheck that what you are doing is in accordance with them.

Feelings – when resilience is low a wave of emotions hits which can feel overwhelming. It helps to recognise that feelings are temporary, they move through us. So reminding myself that how I am feeling is temporary and that it will pass is helpful. I have also recently learnt about Brackett’s RULER model to help with processing emotions so I can recognise, understand, label, express and regulate my feelings so I can move on and keep going!

Ikigai – ‘you have to accept the world, like the people who live within it, is imperfect but it is still full of opportunities for growth and achievement’ Garcia and Miralles. Life is random and no one is perfect. Recognising that I’m not perfect and I will make mistakes, like everyone else, is important to gain perspective. Having Ikigai, my reason for being and my purpose at the forefront is important to keep resilience high to overcome and find ways around difficult and challenging situations, to not give up!

Compassion – having empathy and compassion for others, even if their viewpoint is different or negative towards you is really important to me. Feeling compassion and empathy for others is much more healthy for learning and growth than negative thoughts that sap energy, consume vital brain space and create a toxic mindset. “Walking in others shoes” is a brilliant exercise to help understand others viewpoints and create compassion for how others are seeing and feeling about a situation or person.

Mindfulness – my mantra is ‘in this moment I am fine’. Staying in the moment rather than worrying about future ‘ifs, buts and maybes’ is key to managing the anxiety and panic that can start to bubble within me in challenging situations. Bringing myself back into the moment and using breathing techniques can really help to quiet the mind so I can focus on positive action to take me forward rather than wasting time in panic and inaction.

Gratitude – having an attitude of gratitude. Counting my blessings, focussing on the good things and saying out loud all the things I am grateful for helps put things into perspective. We all, me especially, have a tendency to focus on the negative and practicing gratitude helps to gain perspective and focus on the positive. Someone said (can’t remember who) that it’s proven in neuroscience that a positive brain is more creative and is better placed to solve problems, which is what you need when facing challenges that require resilience.

Drama triangle – this is my absolute favourite ‘go to’ model. Checking that I’m not in the drama triangle helps to snap me out of taking up unhelpful positions on things. Nobody does anything positive when in the drama triangle space, so getting myself out of victim, persecutor or rescuer mode is essential to engaging the logical part of my brain to move me forward.

Find your tribe – it’s sad, but true… not everyone is gonna like us, our style, approach and practice, it is not going to be for everyone. This means finding and surrounding yourself with people who love what you do and think you are awesome. Your tribe will be an invaluable support when resilience is running low. They will help you get back on your feet and running with more vim and vigour than you’ve ever had before! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and reach out for support.

Coaching – having a safe space to talk about the challenges I am facing and dedicating time to work through them is an instant power boost for my resilience. I’ve found being coached in times where I need resilience invaluable. It is so powerful and has enabled me take action from a position of confidence and rational thought.

The most important thing to remember is we bend, we don’t break and on that note I’ll leave the final words of wisdom to Queen Bey…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Doing good in the world can also help with resilience, as such this is a shameless plug for GLC Resilience Coaching (http://www.gemmalouisecoaching.com). Gemma is a Resilience Coach and her mission is to help people overcome their difficulties and come back stronger by reconnecting with themselves in a whole new way and using that knowledge to rebuild a life and future that they can look forward to.

Gemma has launched an amazing campaign where she is aiming to sell 5000 Resilience Bands in order to raise money for three charities in the UK. You can purchase a Resilience Band at https://escbracelets.com/product/the-resilience-band/

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