Resilience is something we all have but most of us don’t use it to its full potential. And, as far as I’m concerned, resilience is a powerful kind of practical magic that you’d be mad not to tap into. I’ve based my coaching practice around it because it is connected to so many parts of living fully and well as a human being. Let me explain..
From surviving to thriving
Resilience has been adopted as a bit of a branding tool in recent years, most often used alongside images of people on mountains or doing Tough Mudders. There is no doubt that being more resilient means you’re able to tolerate distress and recover from difficult things – which I’d venture is the definition of resilience most of us are familiar with. It’s the survival aspect. Which is really just one part of what resilience is all about. Because when you’re more resilient you don’t only have the tools in you to get past hard things – to experience them and recover – but to take your life to a whole other level of thriving too.
And what does that look like? Well, like this, for a start:
- The courage to be open hearted in relationships. It’s a sign of resilience to be able to simply be who you are with those you value. No shaping yourself into what you think they want you to be or hiding your flaws.
- Self awareness and feeling comfortable in your own skin. This is all about self-acceptance, taking the time to connect with yourself and know yourself as much as others.
- Believing in yourself, your goals and dreams. From the inner critic to a lack of external support there are lots of things that stop us from getting behind our own goals and dreams, which is why resilience is so important.
- Strong emotional intelligence. How you relate to your own feelings and whether you’re able to regulate them will depend a lot on how resilient you are – and vice versa.
- Setting healthy boundaries, articulating feelings, asking for what you need. You’re much more likely to dismiss your wants as ‘needy’ or feel like you can’t communicate with the people in your life if resilience is low.
- Clarity on what you want. Being more resilient allows you to get past the limiting beliefs and actually allow yourself to see what it is you’re really reaching for.
- Compassion and self-compassion. It takes a hell of a lot of strength and resources to show compassion to ourselves and others, as it’s not something we’re taught to value. But it’s kind of a super power that more resilience will unleash.
- Feeling purpose-driven and excited. Resilience and purpose go hand in hand.
- Getting outside your comfort zone. With more resilience this becomes much easier.
Resilience is a word that is so often misused
Because of the ways in which we’ve come to use the term resilience in the context of huge physical endeavour or really hard things, it’s become a bit confused. So, it’s also important to take a good hard look at what resilience is not:
- Being tough and silent. This idea tends to come from the narrative of hardness that is so often built around resilience – that if you’re resilient then you must be tough, silent and not yourself. Which I would wholeheartedly disagree with.
- Ignoring your feelings. Sometimes resilience looks messy or angry or snotty. It’s not about a smooth, controlled veneer. You feel what you feel.
- Hiding yourself. Resilience doesn’t require you to be flawless – it’s much more of a warts and all type situation.
- Ignoring conversations you need to have. I think this comes from wanting to avoid anything that could open up a messy or vulnerable situation that sometimes feels at odds if you’re stuck on the limited definition of resilience.
- Perfectionism. This is a form of self sabotage. Impossible standards have no place near resilience.
- Prioritising external validation. This is very much the opposite of resilience but sometimes we decide that meeting others expectations is a way to exhibit a kind of perfect facade that we might think we need to have to be resilient.
- Dismissing self-care and self-compassion. Again if you’re stuck in the narrative that resilience means being tough you’re not going to make time for self-care or allow yourself to feel self-compassion.
- Denying yourself what you need because it doesn’t fit with who you think you ‘should’ be. This is most likely to come up in situations where there are toxic narratives around being strong and silent etc.
The tools of resilience building
Building up resilience is going to be different for everyone as we’re all bringing a different pot of history, beliefs, strengths, limitations and resources to the table.
However, I’ve found that working on these 4 key areas can be particularly useful:
- Intuition. “I can work out what the best thing is for me here.”
- Courage. “I’m pushing myself through uncertainty/anxiety and taking action, I am not giving up.”
- Clarity. “I see this situation clearly without fear or limiting beliefs.”
- Confidence. “I’m backing myself, I believe in myself.”
The benefits of being a more resilient person
So, what does investing in building up your resilience actually do for you, especially if you have no interest in public speaking or signing up for SAS Who Dares Wins? Take a look:
- Genuine, energetic self belief e.g. taking that step that you’ve always wondered about or the risk that you weren’t sure you could handle.
- Confident decision making, ease in setting boundaries. Learning to lean into the discomfort of things like saying no to someone you love or making a tough decision.
- Consistently and courageously backing yourself. We give up on ourselves all the time, often when success is just around the corner – resilience will give the persistence you need not to do that.
- Designing your own blueprint for happiness. Really taking control of what you can control and making it work for you.
- Courage and clarity. Having the vision and the drive to make it happen and not just talk/fantasise or dream about them.
- Release from limiting beliefs so you stop holding yourself back. Finally stepping beyond negative narratives and critical internal habits that have been keeping you small.
- Motivation to overcome fear of failure, embrace vulnerability and connection. This is essentially getting comfortable with discomfort, which is where all of the good stuff happens.
- Finding – and living – your purpose. No more unfulfilled potential. No one wants that moment of regret later in life. Being more resilient gives you the tools to go and grab the opportunities that feel important.
Resilience coaching is about achieving transformational change in your life and work. By building up resilience through focusing on areas like clarity, confidence, intuition and courage you can start to live fully, without fear of failure, with less anxiety and more joy. Life flows better, feels better and is more exciting, adventurous and fulfilling because you’re living intentionally. and connected to who you really are.
Doing this with a coach provides a structure – 6-9 45/60 minute sessions where you’ll be supported, guided and challenged so that you can achieve what you’re looking for. Coaching is a very practical process – some talking but action and challenge-driven too – and working with a coach provides momentum and accountability, which can be tough to achieve on your own.
I always start the process of coaching with a free 10 minute discovery chat where you can find out more about me, the coaching and whether it’s right for you.