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Resilience Amid Adversity

Resilience is defined as "the ability to cope with crisis or recover from difficulties, quickly returning to pre-crisis shape".

As the UK enters its second Lockdown, building resilience is now more important than ever. We need to equip ourselves with the tools that allow us to cope with the difficulties that are thrown at us, yes, but to return to pre-crisis state? I think we can do one better than that.

Rather than return to the same state, I hope we will learn, grow and come out of the other end stronger.

Resilience is what enables people to cope with stressful events and set-backs. Its the mental tank of strength we keep in reserve. Its what enables us to keep calm in times of disaster, helping us to carry on instead of fall apart.

How we deal with challenges can play a significant role in, not only the outcome, but also, the long-term psychological consequences.

Those who lack resilience may become overwhelmed by life's challenges. They may dwell on problems and use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with life’s challenges.

Instead of falling into despair or hiding from problems with unhealthy coping strategies, those with resilience face life's difficulties head-on. Even in the face of events that seem utterly unimaginable, like 9/11, resilience allows people to marshal the strength to not just survive but to be strength for those around them and to prosper.

How well we cope can influence our wellbeing. How we react can influence the result.

Resilience isn't a personality trait - it is built upon skills, and can be learned. We need to take time to learn how to be resilient so we can survive the challenges Lockdown brings, and we can emerge stronger with the opportunity to prosper once more.

Holding a positive view of yourself is key to building resilience. Believing in yourself and your judgement, having faith in your abilities and knowing your worth will inspire confidence in your capability to cope with whatever is throw at you. The more you do cope, the greater the belief that you can. Its a cycle that gets stronger.

Being able to view oneself as a fighter, rather than a victim, will also build resilience. Your outlook of yourself is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believe you are a fighter and you will act like one. See yourself as a victim, and you always will be.

Being able to make realistic plans and stick to them will also build resilience. Taking a realistic viewpoint of a challenge, rather than seeing it as unsurmountable, and focusing on the elements that cannot be changed, a resilient person will look at the problem realistically, forming a plan made of small, manageable tasks that can make change. Focus on things you can control, that you can affect. Small steps will also re-establish your sense of having some control, which will give you a boost also. Reframe how you see the challenge - change your viewpoint of challenges. See them as an opportunity to grow, develop yourself, rather than a stumbling block.

Surrounding yourself with the right people in times of challenge is also important. You need to build a support mechanism around you of those who want to achieve the same that you do - strength in numbers. Not only will this increase your confidence, it will share the burden, making things easier to manage It will allow you a safe audience to voice your concerns, and talk through problems; a soundboard for possible solutions and a source of new ideas.

A positive outlook will go a long way. This means looking after yourself too. Get a good night sleep, eat well, exercise, look after your mental wellbeing - make sure you're in prime condition take take on the battle ahead.

Choose your reaction. Remember, you are in control of your feelings and your reactions. That's not to say you should be afraid to feel - not at all, but you can choose whether to respond with fight or flight. Acknowledge your feelings, then focus on positive actions.

Professionally, there are steps we can take to help the business weather the storm. Always put your staff safety first, that goes without saying, and do what you need to make sure your staff can work in a safe, secure environment.

Communicate with key stakeholders. I stress communication when times are good - I champion transparency in everything I do, but its so much more important in tough times. Stakeholders need more reassurance when times are hard, and by communicating and keeping discussions open, you are assuaging their concerns.

Review your business model and review way in which you can sift your model to ensure business continuity. Can you change your approach - move online, adjust services available, look at alternative supply chain models, review your business plan and consider a pivot of product and/or services.

Stay informed as to what's going on - there are plenty of websites offering subscription updates that are relevant to your business and industry. Being well informed gives you a fighting chance. You know the fight in front of you!

These are unprecedented times, so new ways of working can mean new ways of business!

Don't forget to review your policies to include social distancing working, Covid health and safety precautions, and do document your continuity plan.

We live in turbulent times, and the worry we all share is impacting us all. There are questions about what the future will look like, stress about the security of our businesses, worries about our finances, but there is also extra time with our families, there is time to take stock and focus on what really matters. Tough times can either make us or break us, and I have hope that the challenges we face will make us stronger. That we will weather the storm. That we will learn how strong we really are. That we can build our resilience, face the storm head on and when all the chaos becomes calm, we will be stood with our head held high, knowing we did all we can.

I believe we can.

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