Every so often life throws us a plot twist that can send us reeling. Whether it’s a work challenge, a relationship obstacle, or unexpected financial difficulties, when things don’t go the way we planned, or when we’re thrown off balance by the unexpected, it’s often the case that we start to doubt ourselves. It’s at these moments we’re most at risk of anxiety, stress and even depression.
I know first hand that life doesn’t always go to plan – in fact, no one I know has ever had everything work out exactly the way they imagined or planned, so resilience is very much a skill that everyone needs to develop and nurture.
So, what is resilience?
It means different things to different people, but the way I think of it is the ablity to bounce back from adversity and to remain strong and grounded even when the going gets tough.
When we foster resilience we are preparing ourselves to be able to survive anything and the good thing is, we’re already much, much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. Just look at all the ways we had to adapt in 2020 when the pandemic took hold. On a personal level, I’ve had to face career challenges and career changes, the stress of setting up my own business with two little ones at home and going through a divorce. Life is always full of surprises and sometimes those surprises are challenging. How we approach them changes everything.
Is a plot twist an opportunity to despair? Or a chance to pivot and try something different?
When we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, that is when we achieve the most growth.
Understand your basic needs
Society can make us think that we need certain things to be happy or to survive and it’s very easy to get swept up in a social code that convinces us we need to have a certain salary or title, turnover or relationship status to be able to be at peace with ourselves, but the reality is we need very little and can manage with less.
Support systems matter
A support network is an essential part of a happy life. I firmly believe this. Whether your network is far flung across the world or all in your local vicinity, what matters is that you have the right people around you who can provide fresh insight, perspective and care when a plot twist threatens your sense of security.
A support network can bolster your resilience by making you feel less alone and can give you other ways of approaching a problem. Resilience doesn’t always have to be found alone – you can cultivate it with a little help from your friends – that’s what they’re there for!
Get behind the wheel
When you shift your mindset to understanding the things which you can and can’t control, you’re automatically enhancing your natural resilience. So much energy can be wasted on stress and insecurity and fear and catastrophizing – which are very easy to do when life seems to come unstuck. However, if you can remember and accept that you have never been able to control the things that happen and the world around you and have only ever been able to control your responses to things and your behaviour and actions, then this is a way of tapping into your inner resilience. When you adopt a take charge approach you’re not just building your resilience, you’re putting it into practice. So get behind the driving wheel of your life – and start that ignition!
When you can reflect you can help manage your perspective, even when things are difficult. Ask yourself if the problems you’ve encountered because of this change of circumstances are manageable, surmountable or impossible. Ask yourself what you have already overcome and look back at challenges you have risen to in the past. When you look back you’ll start to realise that you’ve already survived 100% of your darkest days, so you already have proof behind you that you can and will get through this.
Know your strengths
Fight back against adversity using your talents. Know where your strengths lie and how to use them and know when to ask for outside help or support. Part of being resilient is being resourceful and self aware. Use what you’ve got – it’s served you well so far.
To yourself. Tenderness is hard to put into practice with ourselves, but when a plot twist has uprooted you, it’s absolutely the moment to get serious about self care. You have to find ways to prioritise yourself and your feelings and find ways to live with them. Emotions can’t be turned off during a crisis but we can choose how we behave in relation to our feelings. If you’re overcome with despair or feel sad or angry what is going to help on a small practical level in that moment? Can you take a walk? Call a friend? Go for a run? Have a bath? Allow yourself to feel things and try not to make things worse with negative self talk. Everyone faces difficulties and remember that you are doing your best. It’s all anyone can do.
Resilience is a topic that comes up frequently in my coaching practice – it’s a quality everyone needs whether they’re a business owner or entrepreneur or CEO. If you’re interested to find out more about how to build resilience and bouncebackability then get in touch below to arrange a free consultation call. I’d love to hear from you.
Shereen Hoban is an executive business coach and entrepreneurial coach. Find out more about her coaching services and programmes here: www.shereenhobancoaching.com