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In these pressured times how to get more done and enjoy it more seems like a tall order, but it is entirely possible. I know because I have done it.

It’s been a continuous learning process and there is no single thing that makes it happen, it is more a series of small, incremental changes that lead to new habits and increased performance.

I am talking about personal resilience. Resilience is the ability to adapt and function well in the face of adversity. In the workplace this normally means stress a – broad category in itself – but it also includes personal events like trauma, loss, and tragedy, such as relationship breakdown, family problems, serious health problems, or money worries.

Resilience is our ability to ‘bounce back’ from difficult experiences. To ‘get back of the horse’ after a setback, to wake in the morning with enthusiasm for the day, whatever else is going on in our lives.

This doesn’t mean that resilient people don’t have distress or unhappiness in their lives, but it means that they automatically respond in a more resourceful way by being more… well, resilient.

Resilience is about habits of thinking and behaving that can be summarised under three headings; aspiration, attitude, and approach.

This is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It can be learned and developed, and what is more, small daily shifts and changes are all that is required to get things going.

Most people have surprised themselves at one time or another, by coping with something tough better than they would have expected. We see constant examples in the media of when individuals or groups rise to an unexpected challenge rather than being flattened by it. We are all more or less resilient; it is a common trait belonging to ordinary, not extraordinary, people.

A good starting point to becoming more resilient is to understand your personal strengths. Five questions to ask are:

  1. When have I surprised myself by coping well in a difficult situation?
  2. How did I manage to do that?
  3. What worked for me in that situation?
  4. How can I do more of whatever it was that helped?
  5. How will I feel when I am having more of that kind of success in my life?

Over the past few years I have been asked to do a lot of training in resilience, and I shall also be adding more items to my online store in the coming months. As a taster, here’s my crib sheet, Resilience – key ideas.

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