Fri 22 May 2020
Susie Ramroop is a mindset coach, international speaker, and author of Be The Leader You Want To See. She privately coaches women in business online and in small groups at her transformational forest retreats. In the article below, Susie explores the concept of 'Resilience'; what it is, and how to foster it in ourselves and in others. You can also hear Susie speaking on Resilience as part of our online agenda for Mental Health Awareness Week here.
What is resilience?
The dictionary definition of resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties” or to “spring back”. For me, this defnition is loaded with a number of unhelpful and undesirable implications. It suggests that the primary objective here is speed, which infers that you might want to push down whatever emotion you are experiencing and move on, as quickly as possible.
Resilience is often referred to as mental toughness, particularly in sport, but this again suggests to me that resilience is about not letting anything affect you mentally. In my experience, what comes up emotionally needs to be expressed. Putting on a guise of toughness is just going to create a delay in feeling this emotion, until it eventually comes pouring out. At that stage, it could look a lot uglier than if it was expressed safely in real time.
'Springing back' promotes coping, to my mind. When something doesn’t go to plan, our instinct is often to cling on to what was and to will ourselves to return to that state as quickly as possible. What if the reaction that is being interpreted as a need for resilience is actually repulsion from the current state of affairs? What if reflection on how such an approach is working for you and a subsequent redesign is actually what is required?
Resilience is often a throw-away response to a call for help when you are stressed. “What you need is more resilience” – I have heard this when I was taking a stand for something, I didn’t believe was right in my corporate career. I heard it again when I started my own business. I didn’t want to bounce back at those times; I wanted to grow. I now know that what I needed wasn’t resilience, as such; it was perspective.
Perspective is not such a loaded term. It has the benefit of suggesting that there is more than one way to look at a situation. Perhaps nothing major needs to change, other than acquiring a fresh set of lenses through which to observe the situation.
Perspective enables us to ask ourselves what worked and what didn’t:
- Do we still want what we have been working towards?
- Is this a viable way to achieve my goals?
- Is there another way that is easier? More graceful?
Perspective is the ability to move on rather than move back, whilst avoiding pushing down or anaesthetising feelings. Perspective enables a forward-looking motion, and involves using whatever prompted this need for a new viewpoint and the information it generated to propel you towards your goals.
How do you develop it?
Resilience is not automatically developed at the point at which it is required. By then, it is actually too late. Perspective, the crucial ingredient, comes from having a full tank. This is the only way to think clearly. If you are depleted, you are going to be in survival mode, where the best you can hope for is coping. Your decision making could well be flawed because you will see fewer choices before you.
Being aware of your needs and being brave enough to have them met is what will make the biggest contribution in this context. When you do this repeatedly, you are storing up perspective for the future.
Once your core needs are met, choose a focus and make every action you take count towards it. That means that you can make sense of rejection or perceived failure by deducing how this challenge will make a contribution to your life's path.
How do you encourage its development in others?
Only when your own tank is full should you be concerned with others. Many people, particularly women, appear motivated by helping others. However, you cannot help othes adequately if your own tank isn’t full; it will leave you feeling resentful and martyr-like, which I’m sure is not your intention. Instead, go back to the previous step and trust that the more resilience you develop for yourself, the better you will show up for others.
When people come to you, needing help to keep going, let them be heard. Once they have off-loaded what is bothering them, ask them what their goal is. Perhaps keeping-going isn’t the right strategy; maybe what they need instead is to slow down and change tactics.
When we need resilience, it is quite often because we are in a stressed and overwhelmed state. From this place, it is virtually impossible to see progress. Narrow your companion's focus by encouraging them to address one thing which will move them towards their desired goal. This is a sure way to feel better and grow one’s confidence. Such action reduces the need for resilience, due to an increased awareness that making a contribution lies well within one's own control.
We are delighted to be hosting a 'Be the Leader You Want to See' Speed Mentoring Session with Susie Ramroop at 11am on Monday, 1st June. For further details, please click here.
If you would like to reach out to Susie for support, you can connect with her here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susie-ramroop-mindset-coach/. Booking for her September retreat is open now.
View all news