Every one of us goes through difficult times now and again. Some of us are more resilient and weather the storm with grace. I have been reading about resilience thinking about my own life and the lives of the amazing clients I get to work with. Five key themes emerged:
1. Resilient people are resourceful & have good problem solving skills.
A large part of my work with clients focuses on getting people out of a rut and on a different track. This can be very difficult to do on your own. If you don’t want to hire a consultant like me, sit down with a friend and host an improvement brainstorm.
Write or draw the issue in the middle of a large piece of paper and brainstorm every possible solution- even list the ones you have already tried, those you have already considered (and possibly ruled out), and those that seem completely ridiculous or impossible. Draw or list as many as you can (take a snack break if you need to) and then walk away for a day.
Let these great ideas marinate. Just by putting them down on paper and sharing them with a friend you are helping change your pattern by doing something different. New possibilities will arise!
2. Resilient people ask for help.
One of the hardest things to do is ask for help. I am reading Brene’ Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection about shame, vulnerability, and resilience and in it she says “You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.” We all go through difficult times, and often feel great shame about our struggles. We think we should have it all together.
The truth is, no one has it all together. Shame isolates us when we need the kindness of others most (see #4). The only cure for this kind of shame is to do exactly what seems most scary: share it with someone else. Find someone safe and supportive, authentic and grounded and tell them whats going on for you right now. Then ask them for specific help. Maybe you need help brainstorming solutions, with childcare, cooking dinners, or maybe you just need an empathetic ear.
Get clear about the help you need and be brave enough to ask for it.
3. People with greater resilience believe they can cope.
No matter what you are going through remember: THIS IS TEMPORARY. You will get through it. You really will, the question is how do you want to get there? What do you want to see on the other side of this issue? A year from now how will you want to remember moving through it?
Envision yourself persevering with grace and build belief that you will get there.
4. Resilient people have built support networks.
Facing something difficult is bad enough- why do it alone? All too often I work with clients who let shame, numbing, and pain create isolation in addition to the issue that brought them into my office in the first place. It’s important to build and maintain a strong support network of family and friends every day and it will sustain you through trying times.
One way my clients and I have fortified our networks is through daily gratitude practice. Pick a format that works well for you (my partner does drawings, I write postcards, a colleague sends emails) and write or say one genuine thank you each day to the people in your support network, who inspire you. This helps recognize the people around you for their great friendship, and helps you remember all the people who love you when you need it most.
I hope this helps you build stronger resilience to get through difficulties. Of course it’s not easy. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation to boost your resilience set it up here.