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Assessing Personal Resilience
Forrest Gump was right when he said LIFE ISN’T FAIR.
We are all randomly buffeted by large, frequent, and difficult shocks and changes. The World is in a bad place right now. The road ahead is rocky. Austerity and quality of life pressures on individuals are mounting, impacting families and communities. They are set to get worse as do the circumstances and conditions in our societies, institutions and workplaces - aggravated by the styles, policies and self-serving motives of powerful leaders around the Globe.
During these tough times, some will sink, sometimes to unbearable chronic stress, anxiety disorders, depression and burnout. Others will swim, survive. Now is the time for us all to build or boost our resilience — that positive quality that helps us cope with disappointments, stress, adversity, change, and helps us to bounce back.This is a realistic not alarmist viewpoint.
Renowned Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön once received this advice from her mentor: Trungpa Rinpoche:
“Well, it’s a lot like walking into the ocean, and a big wave comes and knocks you over. And you find yourself lying on the bottom with sand in your nose and in your mouth. And you are lying there, and you have a choice. You can either lie there, or you can stand up and start to keep walking out to sea”.
The underlying belief governing my approach to resilience is: Sustaining our individual wholeness and allowing ourselves to flourish, whatever the circumstances, is essential to living a good life. Only if we are integrated (whole) and not fragmented will we find purpose and meaning. This requires that we feed (maintain and nourish) our inner and outer lives – through reflection and relationships. And through a resilience-capacity that keeps things together and healthy. Resilience, reflection and relating are interconnected. They work together to enhance our physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual health.
Now, I can offer you a self – report assessment tool designed to gauge your strengths and improvement opportunities. It is based on a behaviour modification model developed and refined by South African psychologists Dr Allen Zimbler and Dr Caryn Solomons. Initial theoretical work was by psychologist Suzanne Kobasa. (2) It takes only a few minutes to complete, and provides you with an assessment of how well you respond to the challenge of change and adversity, how comfortable you are during the process, and how much self – control you exercise. And most importantly, a report on how best you can make the improvements indicated in your assessment.
Listen to informative and encouraging conversations and stories about building resilience:
• Rising to the challenge: vision, purpose and being positive
• Being comfortable during change: expressing feelings, showing empathy, being adaptable
• Having self-control: self-esteem, being proactive
• Having self-control: Sharpening the axe, an inner locus of control and growth mind-set
Email me at email@example.com if you would like to do the assessment.
Signs to watch for in organisations are:
• people complaining about workloads, compliance pressures, work content, fatigue
Building and maintaining organisational resilience is vital because resilience drives engagement which in turn drives the bottom line. Commenting on a 3 year study by Quantum Workplace showing how “Higher employee engagement resulted in 2.5 times greater growth in stock price during a three-year period” (and substantial revenue growth), CEO Greg Harris stated: “The two most important organizational aptitudes today are innovation and resilience, and culture is the single biggest driver of both. Therefore, the link to wealth creation should not be a surprise”.(3)
And of course organisational resilience results in large part as a function of individual member’s resilience.
Our CONVERSATIONS THAT COUNT process of nudging changes in organisational culture, improving communication, and tackling awkward subjects - includes a conversation starter on building organisational resilience
2.Kobasa, S. C. Stressful life events, personality, and health – Inquiry into hardiness Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37 1979
3. Wright, Hilary Employee Engagement More Than Doubles Stock Price Growth Quantum Workplace September, 2013