This is my first reader request. The topic of resilience comes up often in my work, as a Counsellor and HR professional. Because resilience, in work or personal life, is part of being human. So for you, as a human, possibly also a Manager or staff member, business owner or parent, this might be worth a read.

What I love about resilience is that it’s a forgiving attribute. What do I mean by that?

Well before I get in to it, let’s look at resilience. I think that resilience often gets mixed up with strength, or rather, not falling down. I often hear people talking about either themselves or others and noticing how they often get a zing or a blow and then stumble a bit. It might be a big stumble. Maybe just a little sideways step. You might have a lot or a little. But the perception can be that the stumble means that they aren’t resilient.

“Oh, did you see Jenny get upset about that meeting she had? She’s not very resilient is she?”

Well that’s not necessarily true. What would show whether Jenny is resilient or not, is how well she picks herself back up again.

Resilience is the ability to get back on the horse, back in the saddle…I’ll stop myself before I go back in to metaphor overdrive. But resilience doesn’t care how many times you cry or shout. Resilience is the thing that you hope you can draw upon when it’s time to put the upset behind you and get yourself up.

That’s why I think resilience is forgiving. Because it doesn’t set the rule that you can’t fall over or have a bad day. It’s the internal lift you need to move forward, regardless of why you fell down.

So how does one develop resilience?

For me, it’s about knowing that ‘This Too Shall Pass’. I can get back up, because this moment is not forever. It’s having the perspective to acknowledge ‘wow that meeting was seriously bad’ and then at some stage saying ‘well I’ve learnt from that, and I’m not going to dwell back there for too long.’

I have this rule. It’s my 24RD rule. If something unpleasant happens, I say to myself:

“You have up to 24 hours to feel a bit down. You have permission. After that, Reassess. Can I live with this situation? Do I want to live with this situation? Then, Decide. I will stay/go/change/accept/etc.”

Here’s why this helps me. Firstly, I’ve given myself permission to feel what I need to feel. I can think of nothing worse than feeling down and someone saying ‘oh cheer up’. It’s diminishing and minimising. But I know, that the down stage will pass, and it will take no longer than 24 hours. I’m also secretly being quite efficient and processing the situation during my 24 hours.

Then I have structure to think clearly about my way forward. This is really where the resilience kicks in. I’m not leaping forward to decision making, because I need to reassess and review what’s happened and, more importantly, where it’s left me. Then, I just make a decision. Because that’s my rule.

It’s not always easy and there definitely are some situations that take more than 24 hours to help us feel ready. But for many issues, I find 24RD is a pretty good way of being kind to yourself as well as setting in your mind that you will make a decision on what’s best for you moving forward.

Some other things I do to keep myself in a good spot to come back to:

  • Gratitude exercises. I do them every day. Even if it’s just being grateful for my ceiling fan when it’s 38 degrees at night.
  • Exercise. Walk around the block, do some yoga at home, join the gym – whatever it is – it helps.
  • Reach out. I’d be a hypocritical Counsellor if I didn’t talk to people about what’s going on for me. I’m all about the chats.
  • Good food. Despite the occasional ice cream indulgence, eating good food does improve your health and strength.

So there’s my first Reader Request! Do you have something you’d like me to write about? Please let me know