Resilience – which way is up and which way is down?

With the way events shaped our lives with wave after wave of uncertainty in 2020, the topic of resilience emerged repeatedly as a necessary capability, as tolerance for ambiguity, flexibility and more than ever before, wellbeing.

We know resilience is something you can develop within yourself. Our thoughts, our emotions can be elevated. Also, we can practice mindfulness routines and we can develop our inner strength, our bounce-back. But is it all enough when we do not exactly know what it is we are preparing for?

As a teacher of mine said to me last year “we have all experienced the arrival of a huge amount of unplanned future and the departure of a huge amount of unplanned future”. Sometimes when life turns itself inside out it is hard to detect which way is up and which way is down. And yet we also know that from tragedy and disruption comes untold opportunity. From tragedy, we see our own razed bushland begin the long journey of its own regeneration.

When working with leaders facing their own tests of resilience the inner bounce back is not always ready to bounce!

Resilience tends to imply doing it alone. Can I summon sufficient inner resources to bounce back, stand upright, regain my feet and soldier on? But there is also something very alone about the concept. I prefer to view it as resourcefulness. How good am I at reaching out? At forming meaningful connections with others? At being there when someone else feels alone?

There is a beautiful saying “what is between us is greater than any one of us and even each of us”. It brings relief to know that our westernised view of resilience may be going through an evolution. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are deeply tribal beings who find  fortitude when we sense we belong.

So as well as turning within we can also turn to others – of the human and non-human kind. We can be comforted by a colleague who sees it all differently through an expanded lens, another orientation. We can be inspired by the sunset or the waxing moon. Also, we can be reminded that we belong to something bigger than ourselves standing strong and resolute in the face of adversity.

Leading Well can help you evolve and align your leadership capability to manage complexity while enhancing the wellbeing and vitality of your organisation and your people. Contact us to find out how we can help you lead well and lead well.

Vanessa Fudge – Leading Well