The Art of Building Resilience

Resilience! Literally the buzz word of this era we are now living in. Everywhere we turn, every presenter and every article you read the theme seems to be centered around this thing called “resilience”.

This pandemic has acted as a temperature gauge for our internal compass of resilience. Identifiable the root cause of overwhelming pain and discomfort both at a personal and an organizational level.

So what is resilience anyway and how does one achieve this important 21st century skill? Your ability to build greater capacity while remaining grounded in light of constantly changing circumstances is when you birth resilience.  Essentially, resilience is your willingness to embrace life’s challenges and changes head on while using these experiences to keep growing and to keep evolving. Being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t encounter feelings of fear; it simply means that you feel afraid and make the decision to do “it” anyway. Whatever “it” may be in the moment.

How Past Experiences Chart The Course

When we allow our conscious mind to empower us to get up and get moving out of our comfort zone, we are practicing the art of being resilient. With each new encounter we overcome we are literally building the muscle of resilience and developing the strength and capacity needed to tackle future challenges. Our past experiences allow us to step forward with less fear and trepidation the next time around, even in times when the adversity being faced looks slightly different.

The reality is that your level of resilience is tied to your level of awareness, open-mindedness and attitude. Adopting a mindset where you embrace the concept  “what doesn’t break you will make you stronger” in the face of adversity really makes a difference to how you approach situations. Your focus on growing through the pain and discomfort while taking moments of quiet reflection really makes a difference to your rate of growth and resilience. The ability to bounce back quickly from difficult situations such as workplace challenges, relationship issues, financial stressors or any other kind of trauma suggests that you possess a high level of resilience.

Building Resilience

“When we learn how to become resilient we better learn how to embrace life and its many experiences.”

The reality is that people with high levels of resilience often project greater confidence. So how exactly can this important skill be acquired? I would argue that it comes down to your personal attitude, having a growth mindset and the people you connect with in your network.

In order to become more resilient your attitude has to be that of an overcomer. You must refuse to give in to the pressures and become more open to exploring creative ways to push through in light of situations faced. Essentially, you must see and embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

Equally, possessing a growth mindset allows us to consistently see challenges, delays and even setbacks as an opportunity to re-assess any situation for a better comeback. These are what I like to refer to as our “defining moments“; the points at which we rise to the occasion, while building character, competence, capacity, tenacity and higher levels of resilience. It is important to highlight that truly resilient people are not afraid to make mistakes. Neither do they see failures as failures. They understand the importance of learning from the key lessons that emerge from the experiences encountered.

Of equal importance is also the people you connect with and rely on for support and guidance – the people that help to influence your decisions. It helps to connect with people that practice high levels of resilience themselves. In a recently published Harvard Business Review entitled “The Secret of Building Resilience”, the authors suggested “that resilience is not purely an individual characteristic, but is also heavily enabled by strong relationships and networks. We can nurture and build our resilience through a wide variety of interactions with people in our personal and professional lives.”

Manoeuvering through the rigours of this crisis for over a year now has evoked a new level of resilience both at a personal level and also for the organisation I lead. Every fiber within me has been tested and continues to be tested due to the ongoing uncertainties before us. My ability to draw on sound judgement and increased collaboration while acknowledging that I don’t have all the answers yet choosing to remain optimistic continues to keep me grounded.

I can truly appreciate that developing the art of resilience can feel frustrating and painstaking in the moment, yet I am confident that the long term reward is a stronger and more dynamic you.

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