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Thursday, 21 May 2015

What is Resilience?

What Can It Do For You? 
Consider having a set of skills that could enhance your quality of life. Imagine the ability to be happier, healthier and safer. Having been challenges by a concussion, chronic illness, 2 bouts of cancer and a life threatening medical procedure that failed I am very invested in being as resilient as I can. I figure I have to be prepared for what ever might happen next.
Research on resiliency at several leading institutions shows that it can make a significant difference in our lives. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from life’s everyday obstacles and overwhelming adversities. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the topic, and some key components. Researchers are concluding that each person has an innate capacity for resiliency,” a self-righting tendency” that operates best when people of all ages have resiliency-building conditions in their lives.
How do we develop resiliency skills? 
In the first part of our lives it is how we have been parented, our personalities, belief systems, our faith our teachers and our community. As we mature take courses, read books, watch videos, and model the behaviour of those that have gone before us that have shown resiliency. Finally, ask for help. No one, I mean no one is an island. Get a coach, a mentor or talk to a favourite manager or leader. Most people in our lives want us to succeed. Make a plan to support and nurture yourself.
What types of things build resiliency?
1. Making connections and being mentored. For example, resilient adults remember one or two people who made a difference in their lives when they were a teen. These adults acted as role models and mentors. “Werner’s nearly 40-year research journey shows that being emotionally connected with people in our communities is a significant part of what allows nearly 70 percent of people, in even the worst conditions, to thrive despite adversity.” (Brown, D’Emidio-Caston, and Bernard 16). Who are you feeling connected with?
2. Reading. Resilient people read. Werner and Smith found that “effective reading skills by grade four were one of the most potent predictors of successful adult adaptation.” This one reminds us to keep reading as adults. One of my all time favourite books to read is Mastery by George Lenard. It is all about the process and key steps of what it takes to master a skill. Something modern day society does not often acknowledge with our sense of entitlement.
3. Problem-solving, information and innovation skills. Resilient people know how to find and use information to solve problems. When faced with adversity, they will use a variety of problem-solving models to determine options for dealing with their problems. When was the last time you read a book or took a course on problem-solving or innovation? One of my favourites is Six Thing Hats. Six ways to approach life’s issues to solve them.  Mind maps are a great brainstorming and problem solving tool.
4. Social skills. The chief determinant of success for people in their social skills. Resilient people tend to have more friends and are more confident. They tend to be friendly, cheerful, good-natured, humorous and practice their intelligence. What are you doing to build and nurture your social skills? Emotional intelligence research tells us that those that build these skills can be over 100% more productive in the work place.
5. Life skills. Through fostering personal awareness, responsibility and decision-making capabilities and through focusing on each person’s healthy overall development, we know that this helps people to see possibilities and potentials in their lives and to reduce each person’s risk and increase their positive outcomes.
6. Hobbies and Interests. People who participate in hobbies and activities feel more confident, competent and positive about themselves. For example, hobbies and activities bring us into contact with more people and can provide solace during times of stress and turmoil.

7. Direction. Resilient people have a sense of direction and goals. What goals have you set recently? It increases our chances of positive outcomes. I believe in setting hard goals (dates, times, places, resources, outcomes) and soft goals – How do I want to feel, what do I want to feel and with whom do I wish to share the experience?
8. Taking care of others and volunteering. People engaged in “required helpfulness” are more resilient. People who believe they have something to contribute feel more empowered and confident about themselves. Mentoring, tutoring, being a peer helper, or volunteering promotes self-esteem and competency.
9. Participation at school, religious group, and in the community. Active participation provides opportunities to make friends and develop skills. People who have faith in a higher power believe their lives have meaning and they control their own fate.
Resiliency is in large part a choice once we become adults. Then again we need to know we have the choice. What will you do to day to enrich your life to be more resilient?

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, teams
organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

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