Resilience - we've all got it, how do we get more of it?
Resilience is our inner rubber ball - it’s what keeps us bouncing back
Having the power to be able to go again, to get back up, to take another step forward, to carry on, that’s what resilience is. It’s not always the hard slog to the top of the mountain either, mostly it’s our daily attitude to the challenges we face in our lives.
I recently watched the fab Zendays on a Facebook live with Ultra-runner James Stewart discussing this very topic. It got me to thinking, if Ultra-running is where you commit fully, try your best and do it consistently every day then maybe we all could aim to be Ultra-living?
What I found really intriguing in the FB live was the combination of Nicky @Zendays, someone I think of as calm and serene and James as an ultra-runner, someone I tend to think of as high energy and a bigger, better, faster more spirit. But then I realised that resilience is a trait that we all require every single day and it is this trait that made the combination really work.
What is resilience?
Not all resilience is about the big moments in life. That’s when we tend to notice it, but it’s there every single day. It’s what allows us to get up again at 3am for our crying baby, it’s what keeps us smiling when we’re getting the ‘I told you so’ from our friend, or it’s the moment you get yourself out of bed when you just feel like rolling over and going back to sleep.
Trusting in your ability and being flexible were two major themes for James. Trusting that you will find a solution (grounded optimism if you like) and being flexible to think around situations (creative thinking) allow us to feel that we have a way out. This in turn supports our sense of personal freedom, our right to choose, our ability to do something. That gives us a feeling of power - that is what resilience is.
“Knowing when to stop is a powerful trait” James Stewart
Sometimes resilience is also about not taking direct action. Sometimes resilience is knowing when to do ‘nothing’. I had a situation recently where I felt I should rush in and try to resolve it, sitting back and not solving it was driving me mad.
My husband said to me “You know, not doing anything is doing something”. And he was right. It was exactly the right thing to do. It gave me the space I needed to come back to the situation and move it forward later on. That was being flexible and trusting in my own ability - resilience!
How can we be more resilient?
I see people showing great resilience and what links them is finding a sense of meaning in their situation. Being motivated by true belief and desire is the place we all need to start. If we think we are being resilient getting up every day and going to that crappy job that’s eating our soul alive, maybe we’ve missed the mark? Maybe that’s not resilience but something else. Fear holding us back? Apathy of accepting the routine? Instead, get yourself centered in the true meaning and purpose of your situation.
Once we know we are motivated by our life situation these are great resilient behaviors we can nurture:
Just start. Take a step, make a change, no matter how small.
Be flexible. Think creatively and be open to new ways of doing things.
Trust yourself. Believe in your ability and know, really know, you’ve got this.
Be brave. Have heart and overcome your fears.
Be optimistic. Trust that this will be resolved, that the situation will change, that today will be good.
Look after yourself. You can’t be resilient if you have an empty tank. Look after yourself mentally, physically and emotionally and your resilience will flow.
Nourish your resilience and it will be a foundation stone for the happiness, freedom and joy you wish for and deserve in your life.
Kelly Herrick is a coach & collaborator who helps people access more freedom & joy. She is also the strategic lead in an international design agency, a painter and mum of two boys.