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Resilience … bouncing back after setbacks

resilienceResilience, like mindfulness, is becoming more talked about in the spheres of business and is fast becoming an essential skill. From my experiences with clients and sports, resilience has long been talked about. Athletes sometimes experience poor performances or setbacks like injury or not performing as they expected to and need to develop strategies to bounce back, reframe the situation and carry on.

Last Friday, Mind Tools, an internet-based company providing leadership, management and personal effectiveness resources, hosted their bi-weekly twitter chat, #MTtalk, on the topic of resilience. Some of you may be aware that I have worked with Mind Tools for over 10 years as one of the online community facilitators with colleagues in South Africa and Canada. Here is the link to the Storify summary of the chat.

Most of the participants referred to resilience as the ability to become stronger and better in times of adversity, the ability to carry on despite the challenges or obstacles that one faces and attitude to frame things in a positive manner and carry on. In a nutshell, resilience as an attitude/mindset and a skill.

It was interesting to hear that many agreed that the characteristics of a highly-resilient person were a positive attitude and an ability to stay calm and gain perspective on a situation. When we are in the ‘emotion’ of a stressful situation, it is difficult to see things clearly. It is therefore important to take a step back and gain a better, more positive, perspective on things. Additionally, many participants mentioned that highly-resilient people take care of themselves through exercise, eating healthily, meditation, yoga and having a support network.

The ‘Serenity Prayer’ was mentioned several times about … ‘accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.’ When we do not have influence or control in a situation, we can change our attitude! Also mentioned was gratitude whereby when people are consciously grateful for what they have in their lives; the challenges then seem more manageable. Mindfulness also comes into play with resilience. When we stay present in the day (and in the moment), we have a better ability to deal with things. The past is done and dusted so we can’t change it and the future has not happened yet; we can only influence what is happening right now.

Resilience is a skill and like any other skill, can be learned, developed and strengthened. I really loved what one of our regular participants suggested to develop resilience. They suggested to “smile lots, laugh often, make some Animal puns and jokes to make people smile, dance frequently and continue to breath”. What a great attitude and approach, particularly the dancing bit!!

Point to Ponder: What can you do today to strengthen your resiliency skills? What needs to happen for you to be able to re-frame a challenge or tough situation into something more positive and make it more manageable?

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