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At my high-intensity training this morning Steve the trainer gave his inspirational speech to encourage me to keep working at the German Sit Ups we did today. Part of the talk included a demonstration of a ‘Superman Push-Up’. You may wonder what this has to do with resilience? Steve explained that building physical strength is a process of 1 step at a time. You break down the complex push up into its component parts and keep working at each part until you discover you can do the impossible.

From both my research and my personal experience, Resilience is a composite quality. If you keep working at the component parts, when you really need resilience you find it’s there within you.

A few years ago Nick Clark helped me create a resilience workshop which proved to be very popular with our clients. We created the RDL Resilience model which you will see is made up of 7 component parts, each building on the ingredients of the one before. If the core is self-insight, to build resilience you need to know yourself and use this insight to draw on your strengths (whatever they are) and challenge yourself to go beyond what you see as your second component. Build and develop daily habits to be your best self and move beyond what doesn’t come naturally, all your time taking small steps.

This takes us to the third inner component- Self-belief. As David Haliday likes to remind me ‘you can’t outperform your own self-image’. So if you don’t believe in yourself you probably won’t believe you can… Given resilience is the ability to work through and bounce back from a setback we need to keep to keep faith with ourselves that we can succeed against the odds, and we can keep going when everything around us is working against us.

‘Don’t underestimate the power of self-talk’

Energy comes next. Energy comes from what we, eat and how we look after our body. It is about physical activity, rest, and recovery and good diet. We all know this- do we practice it daily so that we nurture our strength and build the capacity to keep going when our challenge calls for more stamina, tenacity, and persistence.

The remaining 3 components include having a clear direction or end goal to focus on. In my own personal resilience test I hold onto my goal- to not go bankrupt. This goal sustained me and gave me the will to achieve what at the time felt impossible. However, will power alone is not sufficient. We need to flex, adapt and change course without losing sight of the end goal- this is about being agile, open to experience and willingness to adapt and try different things. Finally, none of us can succeed without the support, encouragement, practical help and guidance of our colleagues, family, and friends. I learned the importance of investing time, energy and goodwill into my support network. When I really needed the help and support of others it came from all directions- and I’d never have got through my toughest challenge without the network I have around me.

I believe resilience is a quality we can all develop, provided we keep ourselves in good repair. I’d love to hear your resilience stories and find out from you what enabled you to bounce back.

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