"We live in a time when science is validating what humans have known throughout the ages: that compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our well-being, resilience, and survival." Joan Halifax
It's been a while since the last Wise Words message (it was actually January) and that's not because I haven't wanted to write a message or been too busy but rather I haven't felt inspired or able to find the creativity to write. It's been a struggle from the beginning of 2018 and the issues have seemed relentless at times with no end in sight; being a father, husband, brother, son, friend, mentor, coach, consultant and carer takes its toll.
So what changed?
Acceptance. I realised that I cannot always operate from my comfort zone and only write when I feel inspired, that it's better to share the blogs even when feeling less than inspired, than not sharing at all. As long as I feel there is something of value to share with you.
What do you call someone that in spite of the odds stacked against them, they always seem to find a way through?
At the moment 'resilience' is a buzz word used in the personal and organisational development world and seen as one of the necessary resources to survive the now and prepare for the future, in the work place and life in general. Being resilient helps us to deal with the obstacles and challenges in our lives like relationship issues, redundancy, illness, financial problems and the list goes on......
But how do we go about building 'resilience' to those moments of adversity?
"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before." Elizabeth Edwards
Here are some of the key qualities I have observed in the that the most resilient people I have known:
1. Being comfortable with uncertainty - It's often said that the only constant in life is change and if we accept that truth then uncertainty is something we have to live with whether we like it or not. However, not everyone is comfortable with not knowing what is going to happen in their life which can be a significant source of stress and anxiety. Practicing being present and letting go of specific future outcomes allows us to navigate what is happening in front of us in the "here and now" and working toward and responding to real-time information.
2. Responsibility vs Control - Leading on from point 1. whether it's Brexit, having to leave a job, loss of a relationship or an unforeseen change in the weather, once change happens there is no point being in denial or fighting it. Accepting that external circumstances and outcomes are outside our control we can focus on the things that we can actually take responsibility for. How we respond to the external circumstances is what can help us to focus on what is within our control and navigate challenging times.
3. Purpose vs status - There are those times that we have to dig really deep, beyond ourselves, by tapping into something bigger. This is when having a purpose can help us rise above our own limiting beliefs and negative thoughts that may be holding us back. Our status as a parent, manager, president or queen may seem like we are in charge but it's a personal status and always subject to change but our sense of purpose is a guiding force that can be inspirational not only for us but our tribe and future generations.
4. Rituals vs habits - This was the subject of mylast blog and to summarise; Rituals are any intended activities that are consciously performed for tangible outcomes.Usually a routine and or a sequence of things you may do for a particular outcome (note that rituals can be regular or irregular)
Habits are any activities that are done regularly which you may or may not be aware of the intention, purpose or even that you're doing it/them.
5. Connecting to the Tribe - No man or woman is an Island and we all need support from time to time and that is where your tribe is of real value. When going through difficult times those that don't really understand us find it difficult to relate and are more likely to sympathise with us. Where we are connected to a group that understands us they are able to really empathise, not only giving us the reassurance we want but sometimes a necessary reality check.
"Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela
Over the years my perception of what being resilient looks like has changed, from believing it's someone with the strength to remain steadfast in any situation like "an immovable object", instead I have learnt that in fact it is the ability to adapt to changing environments and circumstances while remaining authentic to a vision/purpose, like an 'unstoppable force of nature' seeking the next opportunity to express itself although the circumstances may appear unfavourable.
How do you overcome adversity and increase your resilience? Happy to hear your insights and if you're interested in learning more you can attend our retreat in September.