Do you have resilience?

Do you have resilience?

It is to our credit that we are now far more open minded about personal growth than when I was first starting out in the world of work some thirty years ago.  The personal development sections of bookshops were relegated to dark corners and to be seen flicking through a copy of Susan Jeffers (who is a remarkably good author and psychologist and famous for Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway which I recommend) was as good as saying “I am a completely bonkers person and quite possibly a bit of a no-hoper as well.”  People were not open about mental illness and would make up other excuses for their absence from daily life for a while.  When I first came across Coach U (now part of the Coaching Academy) in 1995 I was keen to sign up to their diploma.  But I didn’t have the money and trying to explain to anybody what a coach did was like swimming in treacle.  Instead I built up a fairly impressive library and, went to as many conferences and events as I could afford.  One of those events was lead by a wonderful Glaswegian called Jack Black.  The weekend beforehand I mentioned it in passing to some friends who took me aside and warned me that he muddled with people’s brains and was I really sure I ought to go?  This is the man who now counts IBM, BP, NatWest, John Lewis and Cadburys amongst his clients.  I  have been using Jack’s methods for almost 20 years now and regularly go back for updates.  If my brain has been muddled with I don’t think it shows 🙂

We spend ages learning how to acquire and improve our skills, whether for work or pleasure.  We spend thousands of pounds on sports equipment or photographic equipment.  Yet improving our inner selves has only in the past decade been something that the man or woman on the  street is happy to admit to.  I am glad that is the case.  But still many of us either dismiss it as not important enough to fit into their busy schedule or relegate it to a very minor element.

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Thinking differently in Melbourne.  Why not try something new?  Try a new way of looking at life?

I think this is a shame.  We can all get stuck in a mental rut.  We have held an opinion for so long that we haven’t checked it out against current facts for maybe even a decade.  We have always had a particular method of dealing with a difficult client that more or less works so we haven’t considered an alternative approach that might involve changing our own way of thinking.  Yet the possibilities for growth are there, we just don’t try any of them out for size.

What is the point in trying to turn your thinking around? Why bother if life is okay in trying to change it. If those are the questions you are asking yourself then the chances are you are a pretty resilient person. I don’t mean somebody who bounces back after a knock, but somebody who has resilience can go with the flow when the flow is pretty awful. Somebody who is able to adapt and accommodate changes in plans whether they are as small as what you are going to do during the holidays or as major as whereabouts in the world you are going to live and the lifestyle that goes along with that change.

The problem with being resilient is that after a while other people notice, not necessarily consciously, but they become aware that you aren’t likely to cave in under pressure. You become the turn to person, you become the person who is expected to accommodate change and disruption because you do it so well and with minimum fuss and even more, you don’t seem to mind you just get on with it.

However, the more you get on with accommodating other people’s expectations, desires and dreams the less resources you have left to develop your own. In time yours become subsumed into everyone else’s. You no longer have your own dreams, your expectations and plans belong to other people.   At some point most of us will turn around and yell “No More!”  The edifice around us is crumbled and we have to start all over from scratch.  Yet if we had kept on top of the housekeeping and included some development and new build we could have had a beautiful building and not a pile of rocks.