When the going gets tough, the tough get going…
I turned on the news this morning to hear that two children have been killed in a house fire; the Sunshine Coast has been deluged by floods and the horrific Toulouse siege has ended with a dramatic shoot out.
Not for the first time I wondered, how on earth do those affected by disasters ever recover?
Closer to home, we all face times when we’d love to simply curl up in a ball and give up. When it all seems too hard, shock, grief and overwhelm threaten to engulf us and it feels like we can’t go on. Yet go on we must and there’s a lot we can learn from survivors who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and little by little get on with their lives.
Taken from your Thrival Kit, the secret to recovery is Resilience – a quiet, steely inner resource we all possess that moves you forward, one step at a time. Whether you’re tackling a challenge that feels beyond you, recovering from personal tragedy or heading into unchartered waters, it’s something you’re going to need in bucket loads!
When things don’t go quite to plan, the unexpected happens and your commitment is sorely tested, it’s resilience that will get you out of bed in the morning and keep you going, no matter what.
Grounded in your values and beliefs, resilience is simply a way of being. While you can’t touch it, you can certainly feel and see it. Knowing its ingredients makes it easier to call on whenever you need it. Unlike a cake it doesn’t matter what order you mix these in. There's also no limit to how much of each you add – the more the better!
7 secret ingredients that make Resilience a force to be reckoned with
1. Perspective – things are never as bad as they seem. Draw on past experience; be philosophical and look beyond what’s happening right now to see where this event sits in the bigger scheme of life.
2. Optimism – it will get better! The sun will continue to rise, the floodwaters will recede and the mop-up will happen. Know that you will come through this, stronger and wiser for the experience.
3. Clarity about where you want to go from here. This includes knowledge and certainty about how a better future will be. Imagine how great it will be when you've triumphed over the challenge.
4. Gritty Determination – the power to stay on track, regardless of the strength of the ‘flood waters’ that threaten to overwhelm you. Bloody-mindedness, stubbornness and an ironclad belief that this will not get the better of you, determination will keep you firmly focused on the future.
5. Conservation – conserve your physical and emotional energy to keep going. Personal disaster and major change are insidiously draining. You will feel tired and less energetic than when things are going well and it’s important to conserve your energy. Consciously invest headspace, time and effort in anything that increases your energy.
6. Support and Friends – give you time-out from your challenge, replacing loneliness with strength and kinship. This isn’t a time to be brave and stoic. Reach out to those who can help you and lighten the load. After all, when the tables are turned, you’ll be there for them.
7. Time – perspective’s cousin and resilience’s best friend. Think back to tragic events or major life changes you’ve endured and you’ll notice how things do eventually get better, one hour, day, month and year at a time.
But wait, there’s even a set of steak knives with resilience! It’s cumulative (steadily building over each adverse event you experience) and will always be there to help you through future challenges.
As you set about overcoming a challenge or redesigning your life, keep your resilience topped up. It will get better and there’s nothing you can’t overcome.
PS – You actually have even more handy inner resources you can call on when the going gets tough. To find out more, grab a copy of The Great Life Redesign.