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Developing Resilience

Deļ¬nition of resilient: capable of regaining its original shape or position after bending, stretching or other deformation: elastic. 2. (or a person) recovering easily and quickly from illness.

Resilience has become an everyday word in organisations. However, few know how to develop it or retain it because it all depends on our starting point. This “starting point” relates to both the role we are in and the way we view ourselves, others and the world.

Carry on as usual

Many people believe that resilience means carrying on as usual, however when we look at the definition (as seen at the top of the page) it really means being able to recover quickly. So it is not to carry on as usual but rather to be able to recover.

How we view what this recovery would be will depend on our role. If we an air traffic controller, it might be to be able to concentrate, whilst for an athlete it may be to have stamina. What is resilience for you?

As I mentioned above resilience also comes from our view of self, others and the world, or life. If you have poor view of yourself and think that you are stupid, that you’ll never make the grade or be able to develop good relationships then when something happens it is likely that this negative view of yourself will be reinforced. This is the doorway to despair and for some it can be difficult to bounce back.

If you have the belief that “These things always happen to me” every knock will be a reinforcing experience interpreted to fit. Without this fundamental belief a knock back would just be a knock back and that is all. You might feel bad for a bit but then get up and move on.

The longer a particular stress or set of stressors continues the harder it is for us to use our usual coping methods to deal with our stress and the sooner our ability to be resilient breaks down and “stretch” may go to snap. The more aware we are of ourselves, our feelings, thoughts and actions the greater our ability to take supportive action before the “snap”occurs. It is necessary to use all resources available, such as getting support other from a coach, therapist, spiritual guide, medic. etc Further, we need to do the things we value and that nourish us. They make take more of an effort to do but we need to do them anyway. This may include walking in the woods, seeing friends, having a massage.

However, it is far better to be nourishing our spirit, being with others and valuing ourselves, others and the world before any difficulties which may stress us. Waiting for a crisis is too late, or at least makes it more difficult, as we won’t have the safety net there to hold us.

Find out what your beliefs about self, others and the world are and if these are nourishing, supportive and promote resilience then that’s great. However, if you tend to interpret situations to fit a more defensive, attacking or victim position then its time to change.

  • When stressed what are your coping mechanisms?
  • What are your beliefs about self, others and life or the world?
  • When did you develop these beliefs?
  • Are they helpful now?
  • If they are not helpful what will you do the change?
  • Who will you get support from?
  • What nourishing things do you have in your life that hold you already that can become part of your future safety net?


Contact us now for information on coaching, consultancy and training. Take a look at our website. Call us for an informal conversation about how we can support you and your organisation.


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