Recently, I was asked to write a short piece for a clients start of year newsletter. They wanted something that focused on building resilience, especially given the two turbulent years the world has gone through and its impact on their organisation. I thought it would be good to share this article in my own blog post as this is the time of year people take stock on life.
What is resilience?
When we talk about ‘resilience’ it is usually in the sense of bounce-back ability in the face of difficulty or challenges. However, resilience is also the ability to adapt and grow following adversity. As a consequence of COVID-19 many people have recently found it difficult either to bounce back or to adapt. The start of a New Year is quite a good time to reflect on life and if we have sufficient resilience to continue to cope with inevitable future challenges.
The 5 building blocks of resilience
If we feel that we need to develop our personal resilience, how do we do this? One way is to consider the building blocks of resilience. This is not a new idea and if you do a literature search or Google this concept you will find various different definitions of what these ‘blocks’ should be. From a coaching perspective the five building blocks that are most useful (and practical) are as follows:
Purposefulness – this is the drive & direction that helps us persist and achieve in the face of setbacks. This is really about our vision for ourselves and what we are trying to accomplish in life. People with strong vision, will often find this fuels their motivation to get over any challenges that they encounter. Put another way:
if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there
…except you are highly likely to dislike where you end up.
Adaptability – concerns how we are able to adapt to change which is beyond our control and to keep things in perspective.
Networks – where we have built supportive relationships that can help us overcome adverse situations. This might mean having a strong team, organisation or group of individuals around at work and/or at home us who can support us.
Self belief – having sufficient confidence and self-esteem to believe that we can achieve and overcome adversity.
Taking care of ourselves – this is often one of the most important and one of the most overlooked elements. This is about ensuring that we finding enough time in busy lives for ourselves in terms of both physical and mental health.
Look at these five ‘blocks’, do you need to pay attention to any of them?
Whilst some of them may take time to develop, there are some good resources available that can help. For example, Cross, Dillon and Greenberg (2021) writing in HBR ( The Secret to Building Resilience (hbr.org)) share more detailed insight into what a good network looks like from a resilience perspective. In terms of adaptability, Steven Covey’s Circles of Control is a useful tool to help us focus on what we can control and influence rather than what we can’t. Coaching can also help with confidence and self-esteem and finally, what we do to look after ourselves can be really impactful. Such as ensuring we have good nutrition and that we get sufficient exercise and sleep.
One last question which is often helpful – ask yourself “am I spending enough time on the right things?”. This is about your life priorities and if you are doing enough to progress them. Resilience most often suffers when we feel that we are not getting what we need out of life.
If you feel that you need to develop some of the areas above or organise your time to focus more on your own career or life priorities, the final challenge is “what are you going to do about it?”. Words without actions don’t generally get you anywhere…
Isn’t it time to #startsomething or #changesomething? If you need some help to figure out a path to realising your ambitions in life, why not get in touch?