Developing Resilience

On Monday 11th November, I attended the Organisational Development-organised course, Developing Resilience, here at City.  The aim of the day was to show us ways to develop our own resilience through looking at how stress is generated, and presenting a toolkit to help us deal with it.

Resilience is all about the ability to bounce back from adversity – it’s a way of thinking that can be learned and developed; and it all begins with increased self-awareness of how you respond to pressure and setbacks.

To start the day,  we looked at our causes of stress and how they might affect us, as well as how stress can help us, too, introducing us (or me, at least) to eustress – the perfect amount of stress for optimal performance.  We also looked at how thinking and feeling help to create our behaviour following an event, as well as how our own beliefs can affect our response.

We then learned about how we can modify our feelings and these beliefs as well as manage our thinking and energy to help curb our response to situations.  In doing so, we looked at our working styles and how they might affect our resilience at work.  I was revealed to be a “Try Hard”, someone who puts in lots of enthusiastic effort, enjoys variety and are good at getting things going but can also get bored easily, gets involved in too many things (I’ve cut down my number of groups this year!) and can go off at tangents, losing focus.

Before attending, we all did a questionnaire which generated a report about how four areas of our behaviours help or hinder our resilience.  These areas were: Confidence, Social Support, Adaptability and Purposefulness.  We spent a part of the afternoon discussing our results and picking certain aspects to try and work on in the future.  This was quite an interesting process, especially as so many things seem to overlap, or relate to each other.  It was also a relief (for both of us!) to see I had as many hindrances to resilience as the person I was discussing with in some areas.

The final part of the day was spent looking at tools to help us achieve more resilience – these involved:

  • Optimism and Reframing – using a brighter outlook to reframe your take on situations as well as your self-beliefs; making situations temporary, specific and external.
  • Adaptability – adaptable people are happy to live with ambiguity and approach setbacks as opportunities to learn.
  • Purposefulness – there was quite a lot of talk through the day of this and, ultimately, only worrying about what you can either control or influence . This area was also looked at through the urgent-important matrix, where you seek to prioritise work by looking at what is urgent or important to you.  (I think both of these come from Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as did various pieces of advice received through the day).
  • Social Support – this tool is entirely focused on getting out and seeing who can help and asking them, rather than suffering in silence.

Overall, I found this a really helpful day and very much recommend it (it will run again 12 February).  It has helped me a lot in looking at my own behaviour, outlook and beliefs, as well as how I might be able to go forward in a better, more resilient, way.

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