Resilience: what sustains you for the long run?

Slowly, slowly, Lorraine and I are developing a workshop around resilience. It’s the buzz word these days, but maybe that’s because it’s needed; what is the secret to keeping going for the long term? What practices allow you to take what’s thrown at you, and in time, bounce back? Of course, the flip side of that question is, what practices suppress your ability to keep going? What habits get you to the end of the day, but in time, will get you?

The first challenge for us, is to find ways to allow group thought, with individual answers. What works for one, probably won’t work for all. The very thing that sets me up, might knock you down. There is no one way to manage the forces that want to knock you out of the saddle, so how do you provide a breadth of individual resources to a group?

The second challenge is how to create safe, comfortable ways to talk about what feels like a dangerous, or at best, uncomfortable topic. In my entire professional life, I have never been involved in any ‘front-led’, facilitated group discussion about fear, stress or anxiety. I’ve been in small groups, twos, threes and fours, usually brought about by a group member’s moment of crash and burn, my own included. The trouble with those conversations is they’re about that moment, they’re about being present with that person, it’s not the time for fixing what led to that point. The question is, when is the right time?

There’s a need to talk about the anxiety element in the room. We’ve all felt it. If you’re telling me you’ve never had moments of crippling anxiety, I don’t believe you. I think there are always better ways to work, and sometimes the systems that we create for ourselves to work in could have some of the kinks removed. But maybe the most important component is that we don’t do this as an item on the agenda of the staff meeting. Maybe there’s a release in being able to gently talk through the weight of this together.

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