Raising Resilience When Times Get Tough
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Flick through the pages of any self-help book and you’ll see that confidence is a recurring theme – and rightly so. Confidence is the fodder of action; without it we stall, stumble and eventually grind to a halt.
Confidence is comprised of many component parts and one of the most important of those is resilience. However, this is the part we tend to overlook. Why? Because we typically associate confidence with positive outcomes. But getting to a positive outcome often involves things going tits-up time and time (and time) again.
Resilience is our ability to adapt to, and recover from, life’s challenges. It's dealing with the unexpected. It's pivoting when plans change and it's remaining forward focussed rather than lurking in the past.
Confidence gives us the ability to jump into the water, but resilience determines whether we sink, float, or swim once the storm hits. It’s resilience that gives us the courage to carry on and swim to the other side. It's resilience that enables us to get back in the water once the storm has passed.
Last week, I hosted a Q&A on my wonderful community with an amazing guest speaker. She had endured every parent’s worst nightmare when her young son was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition.
However, she had turned that despair and anger into positive action. By switching her state of mind and taking control, she was able to start making choices and to fight for the care her son deserved. She also worked tirelessly to raise the profile of his condition and empower the families who have also received that same devastating news. In short, she developed a resilience that not only enabled her to cope (and indeed thrive), but to help others cope in the toughest of circumstances too.
She highlighted that resilience isn’t something we’re born with, but it’s something that we develop. With the right strategies, we can all become more resilient.
The Confidence Craft's Ten Point Plan for Raising Resilience
1) Accept your situation. It might not be what you hoped for or planned, but that’s okay. Acceptance is the first step to moving on. I regularly hear, ‘but I shouldn’t worry about X as some people have it far worse than me’. The truth is, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you acknowledge and accept the root cause of your situation.
2) Understand that there's no such thing as failure, only feedback. People aren't perfect, plans go awry, situations go tits-up. When things don't go as we hoped, the best thing we can do is learn from it and move on. (A mistake repeated more than once isn't a mistake, it is a decision.)
3) Recognise that you’ve made it through tough times already. Think back to how you survived them. What could you do again? What strengths do you have that you can draw upon? Who did you turn to for support?
4) Build your ‘tower of power’! Resilient people always seek support. As our wonderful guest speaker put it, you need to start building your ‘tower of power’ and call on those people who will listen and help when you need it the most. Your tower may consist of friends, family or professionals, but the old adage that a problem shared is a problem halved exists for a reason. (And there’s a very good reason why fewer women commit suicide than men – women tend to have stronger support networks.)
5) Resist the temptation to look too far back or forwards. Resilience is about living in the here and now. Lamenting the past or ruminating on the future during tough times is rarely productive and can waste valuable mental energy.
6) Take action. The most resilient people know that even within the worst situations, there are always choices to be made. Considering the possibilities and choosing a course of action puts you back in the driving seat and helps you regain a sense of control.
7) Know that you can't control other people.. People can be unpredictable. It's what makes us human. Whilst we can't control those around us, our reaction to those around us is entirely in our control.
8) Be around positive people. Learn to recognise who adds the blocks to your tower of power and who takes them away. Positivity is infectious.
9) Give yourself permission to rest. It’s hard to be resilient when you’re totally knackered or mentally exhausted. Your brain needs rest as much as your body.
10) Know that what doesn’t kill you makes you mentally stronger. You’ll be more resilient in the future and better prepared for life’s knock backs. Sometimes it takes the bad to recognise the good in ourselves and what we’re truly capable of.
P.S. If you’re a career-motivated woman who wants to calmly and powerfully put yourself out there without cringing or worrying what others will think, then I’d love to welcome you in my Facebook group, The Confidence Build for Women.
It’s a friendly, supportive community full of women just like you. It’s jam-packed with no-fluff support, inspiration, expert training and will help you find the motivation to show up and be the you that you deserve to be. I’ll see you there!