This is the last blog in the series and addresses the fourth step of how be resilient in the moment.
Step 4 How can I persevere and reach out?
Having dealt with the issues of one’s heart and head and maintaining an appropriate perspective when confronted with challenging times, we are now turn to dealing with the actual adversity. This involves perseverance and reaching out to others.
It seems obvious that perseverance is necessary to deal with changed circumstances and tough times. Logically resilience seems to imply one needs to guard against giving up too soon or being overwhelmed in the face of great difficulties. The reality however is somewhat more subtle. A special kind of perseverance is needed which is characterised by open-mindedness and flexibility. This is different from the type of bull-headed, “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” persistence involving resolute drive, power and tenacity.
Open-minded and flexible perseverance almost sounds like a contradiction. Nevertheless to be resilient, one must be open to new ways of doing things, embrace different ways of dealing with problems, employ active listening, seek differing views and be open to a change of tactics or even strategy. At the heart of these actions is a flexible mindset.
The other part of this step is that of reaching out to others. This has two aspects to it – reaching out to ask for help and reaching out to offer help. The problem most people immediately face when asking for help is that of pride and being uncomfortable with “owing favours”. This difficulty in asking for help is often exacerbated the higher the person is in the organisational hierarchy. Yet in times of adversity, most people say that when they finally pluck up the courage to ask for help, they are overwhelmed by the generosity they receive.
Offering help is often easier, particularly in an organisational context where work roles require giving help. In these cases managers of staff often find it easier to counsel and mentor others than to ask for help themselves.
Perseverance and reaching out requires a shift in focus away from the adversity itself to the changed circumstances it creates and the action that is required. This inevitably necessitates staying goal- and solution-focussed, prioritising, being action-orientated and taking small steps.
Putting it all together: living a life of fulfilment
Using these four steps will help you to build resilience in order to deal with the tough times and changes we all face. The steps are as applicable for dealing with a stressful situation in the moment as they are for dealing with prolonged adversity. The steps assist building inner resources and buffering capability during the good times which are called on in times of stress and challenge. In this way resilience enables coping with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” whilst living a life of joy and fulfilment. Good news for all!