By Roshelle Weir
Being resilient is the ability to quickly get back up when life knocks you down – to be better and stronger than you were before. Recently, in conjunction with the Professional Development Network, I was privileged to host a discussion with someone that has demonstrated resilience time and time again. Psychologist and world champion powerlifter Katrina Robertson. As someone who overcame a devastating injury that should have prevented her from walking, let alone going on to dominate the weight lifting world, Katrina has a lot of personal experience to draw on in the resilience department.
With everything going on in the world at the moment we know that resilience is a critical skill, but in our discussion, we also discussed how emotional and mental resilience is also a critical skill for the future of work. As the way we live, learn and work changes, we have to adapt or be left at a disadvantage. So, what can you do to be more resilient and to help your colleagues and students through these challenging times?
1. Lead and live with empathy
When you demonstrate and role model the ability to understand and share feelings with others you immediately build rapport and trust. It is the strength of meaningful connections and relationships, walking alongside people rather than judging them, that helps us to share the burden. You are not alone, we are all in it together.
2. Take care of your body
It’s a cliché but it’s true. Healthy food, exercise, and sleep are integral for mental health and resilience. If you don’t give your body the fuel it needs, how do you expect to keep up the good fight.
3. Take care of your mind
Your brain has limited energy available to consciously think, plan and be rational. So not surprisingly in this chaotic stressful world, with an overabundance of information and distractions, it’s easy to deplete this invaluable resource. Intentionally creating space for mindfulness, peace, and quiet, (in addition to getting enough sleep) is vital for resilience.
4. Build emotional intelligence
As Louisa May Alcott famously said, “We are all hopelessly flawed.” We all have areas that we can improve on. We have all experienced traumatic events that create irrational emotive responses to triggers. It is our ability to know what we are feeling, how to articulate it, and then how to manage it appropriately that makes us emotionally intelligent. When we can stop reacting to emotional triggers and be more responsive, we can stop our emotions from controlling our behaviour and start making better decisions.
5. Choose your intent
Being aware of the things you value, the things that truly matter to you, and the things you want to achieve in your life help you to keep perspective in the face of adversity. Consider; What are your physical and mental health goals? What are your financial and career goals? What are your professional and personal relationship goals? If you have these documented, it’s a resource you can reference to keep yourself on track and remind you when you are tired of being knocked down, what it’s all about and why it matters to keep getting back up.
6. Just do it.
Be vulnerable enough to ask dumb questions, challenge yourself to “have a crack” and give something a go to see what it means for you. It may not work out, but sometimes knowing what you don’t want is just as powerful as knowing what you do want. Who knows, maybe you are a world champion like Katrina, and you just haven’t given yourself permission to try something new.