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The word “resilience” means so much more than it ever did and the ability to ‘press on’, even when things are challenging, is a skill we all need right now.  Can we potentially even see an opportunity to transform and come out better than before? 

Interestingly, a Harvard University study has shown that there is an actual physical difference in the prefrontal cortex of a more “resilient” person vs someone “less resilient by nature”. As it turns out, while we all experience challenging emotions, some people give themselves the grace to experience emotions and then to step forward powerfully, while others tend to collapse inwards. 

This year the experience of the ‘Corona-coaster’ tested everyone’s resilience on both personal and professional fronts. That said, regardless of the circumstances, improving one’s resilience is a choice – you can choose to grow your resilience, or you can choose not to. 

If you make the choice to grow your resilience, here are a few things you can do that will make a difference:

  1. Notice your EQ and mindset:
    • Be aware of ‘how’ you are – emotionally, physically and mentally.  Be willing to work hard at naming what is going on for you, where you are in the emotional cycle and where you want to get to (whilst watching for how those around you are affected by ‘how’ you are).
  2. Know your vision and identity:
    • Know who you are at your essence:  no matter what changes are happening all around you, you can remain who you are. Your values determine so much about how you behave and influence how resilient you are, and how much energy you’ll be willing to put in to change. If you are clear on what you truly value in life and who you are, then making decisions becomes a lot easier. 
  3. Practice self-care and compassion:
    • This element is crucial for both short and long term resilience. Remember the adage of putting on your mask first before helping others?  Being resilient is far easier if you look after your own needs: sleep, healthy meals, exercise, meditation, spending time with people that lift your energy rather than drain it, staying off social media, engaging in creative expressions among others. 
  4. Take decisive action:
    • Have the courage to act based on the information you have right now. You may not have all the details, but move forward with what you know and make changes at a later stage if more information comes to light. Trust your instinct and know that you are doing the best you can.
  5. Practice relentless tenacity:
    • Keep going. Even small steps make an impact – particularly to mindset. When we’re moving forward (even in a minuscule way!), we feel a sense of momentum, which in turn allows us to feel more resilient. 
  6. Encourage interpersonal support:
    • Know who your tribe is and lean on them when you need help. Asking for the help you need or sharing when you are struggling is a sign of strength, not weakness. You’ll likely find more people who share your struggles than not. 

Personal resilience might feel like a big ask right now as we come to the end of this extraordinary and challenging year. What resilience asks of us, at its core, is to show up with good intention, put one foot in front of the other and do the best we can, with what we have right now. 

Our resilience Masterclass goes into more detail around three key ways to support these core elements of building personal resilience. Connect with us on leadership@lockstep.co.za to set up a conversation.

Lauren Ratcliffe

Lauren Ratcliffe

Lauren Ratcliffe is a Senior Associate at Lockstep. Throughout Lauren’s career, she has always focused strongly on the development of the people in her team and it was through realising this passion and completing a yearlong internationally accredited Executive Leadership Coaching programme in London; that Lauren transitioned from the world of communications to working exclusively in People Development.