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Navigating the Storms of Change - How Resilience Shapes Our Personal Evolution


An empowering illustration of a resilient businesswoman, clad in a suit, confidently standing her ground amidst a turbulent storm. Her determined gaze and firm stance embody personal evolution and the capability to navigate the storms of change, underscoring the power of resilience in shaping our journey.

This article is from our monthly Newsletter for Business Leaders, Take an Aspirin.


The Executive Summary:

  1. Resilience has garnered increasing attention, especially in corporate settings, due to the rise in mental health issues. Traditionally defined as the ability to bounce back, resilience is now understood as a transformational process that can make individuals stronger after overcoming challenges.

  2. Personal resilience is akin to a shield or an elastic ball, protecting and allowing us to thrive amid significant challenges. It is influenced by self-worth, emotional intelligence, the ability to plan and feel in control, problem-solving skills, and support from others.

  3. The Personal Resilience Course by Mindshop is highly recommended for building personal resilience, helping individuals recover from stress, and transforming potential energy into kinetic energy for personal growth.

  4. Motivational Maps, an ISO-accredited tool, can play a crucial role in resilience by identifying an individual’s inner Motivators. When there is a lack of distinction among the Nine Motivators, resilience can be lower. Clear distinctions among motivators provide individuals with anchors to lean on during adversity, boosting resilience.


 

There’s been a lot of talk about resilience in recent years, and a much greater focus on resilience training – especially in corporate environments. At the same time, there’s been a significant increase in negative mental health over the last several years, and these two phenomena are linked.


The dictionary definition of resilience is:

‘the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity’,

and ‘the capacity to withstand or recover from difficulties; toughness’. - Oxford Dictionary.


So, that’s our starting point. A key counter-argument to this definition is that humans don’t simply ‘spring back into shape’ instead, we are transformed and reshaped by our experiences. The majority of people feel stronger and more capable after overcoming challenges successfully; it’s how we develop and learn as a species. However, I wouldn’t go as far as to say, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.


My own journey with resilience began fairly recently when it was severely tested over an extended period of time. Besides the usual day-to-day challenges and opportunities we all face, my father was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. We had just emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, and my resilience as a business owner had been put to the test, as was the case for almost everyone else on the planet; we each faced our own set of challenges. This additional strain was an enormous struggle, and I found myself feeling incredibly ‘thin’ – not in the physical sense, but rather worn down.


At times, my resilience felt like a shield, akin to the dome-like shields cast over Hogwarts or Wakanda. There were moments when I felt that I couldn’t continue holding up this shield, that it had become so fragile that it might shatter entirely, leaving catastrophe in its wake. As the business leader of our family business and the primary caregiver for my parents, I felt that many people were relying on me.


To me, resilience is our ability to thrive amidst sustained and significant challenges. My goal is for my resilience to be more than just a shield protecting a fragile interior. I aspire for it to resemble a rubber ball, which, although susceptible to pressure, can withstand it because it is made entirely of rubber; its elasticity allows it to be compressed without sustaining damage.


There are numerous factors that influence our resilience:


  1. Self-worth is a significant one. Without it, we build layers of security and social esteem based on our capabilities, achievements, and the ability to function with minimal dependence on others. However, our social esteem eventually crumbles when we don’t receive the recognition, support, or respect that we believe we deserve through our achievements and status.

  2. Emotional intelligence, encompassing self-awareness and self-management, is another crucial factor.

  3. Our ability to plan, feel organised, and be ‘in control’ of enough aspects of our lives, as well as to feel secure, supported, cared for, and valued, is also vital.

  4. Being adept at problem-solving, using methods and models to examine problems more objectively, is enormously beneficial.

  5. And, allowing other people, both close acquaintances and strangers, to support you is essential.



The support I received enabled me to keep holding that shield. They held me up while I held my parents. They assisted in practical and emotional ways until my strength recovered. And I am stronger now than I was before.


I highly recommend the Personal Resilience Course by our partners, Mindshop. Industrial Psychologist and founder of this global business advisory firm, Chris Mason, has developed a comprehensive and practical course with a strong track record of helping people recover from stress and build personal resilience. Find out more and join the course here.


Interestingly, resilience is also connected to our inner motivators, the things that drive us in our work and personal lives. Motivational Maps, an ISO-accredited tool, measures an individual’s motivation at work through nine factors known as Motivators. Each of these Motivators reflects different aspects of what drives and satisfies us, much like the various layers and components that constitute our resilience.


Bringing this into the context of resilience, when the scores across these nine Motivators are largely similar, appearing as a flat range, it can indicate lower resilience. This could be because when one's inner drivers are not distinctly defined or prioritised, an individual may not have specific anchors or motivational pillars to rely upon during times of adversity. Imagine resilience as that rubber ball I mentioned earlier; if the material within isn’t well-structured, it’s less likely to bounce back effectively.


On the other hand, having clear distinctions among the nine Motivators – Defender, Friend, Star, Director, Builder, Expert, Creator, Spirit, and Searcher – means that an individual has specific elements they can lean on and derive energy from during tough times. For instance, someone with a high score in the ‘Creator’ Motivator might feel re-energised by innovative projects during stressful periods, while another with a high ‘Searcher’ score might find strength through actions that create meaningful impacts.


Understanding and leveraging these Motivators is akin to knowing the material your resilience ball is made of. You can then strengthen and improve its elasticity. By connecting with your inner drivers through tools like Motivational Maps, you not only bolster your self-awareness but also add layers of strength to your resilience, helping you bounce higher.


A footnote:

The rubber ball is a useful metaphor for me, because a bouncy ball can bounce very high once it’s been compressed sufficiently to transform its potential energy into kinetic energy. And from Mindshop’s Personal Resilience Course, I discovered that I don’t just want to be a rubber ball, but to bounce so high that my wings take flight. As I let go of the need to hang on, to be in control, I can soar and trust the wind to support and lift me, using it to twist, turn and glide majestically and with ease as I explore this magnificent world of ours. I am supported as I flow with life.



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