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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. During these tough times, some sink, sometimes to unbearable chronic stress, anxiety disorders, depression and burnout. Others swim, survive. But we can all build or boost our resilience — that positive quality that helps us cope with disappointments, stress, adversity, change, and helps us to bounce back.
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”.
“So the waves keep coming,” he said. “And you keep cultivating your courage and bravery and sense of humor to relate to this situation of the waves, and you keep getting up and going forward”.
(1)

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:
https://soundcloud.com/liminal-podcast-392637006/20-building-resilience-with-graham-williams-part-1

• Rising to the challenge: vision, purpose and being positive
https://soundcloud.com/liminal-podcast-392637006/21-building-resilience-with-graham-williams-part-2

• Being comfortable during change: expressing feelings, showing empathy, being adaptable
https://soundcloud.com/liminal-podcast-392637006/22-building-resilience-with-graham-williams-part-3

• Having self-control: self-esteem, being proactive
https://soundcloud.com/liminal-podcast-392637006/23-building-resilience-with-graham-williams-part-4

• Having self-control: Sharpening the axe, an inner locus of control and growth mind-set
https://soundcloud.com/liminal-podcast-392637006/24-building-resilience-with-graham-williams-part-5

Email me at grahamwilliams@change.co.za if you would like to do the assessment.

ORGANISATIONAL RESILIENCE

Signs to watch for in organisations are:

• people complaining about workloads, compliance pressures, work content, fatigue
• rising absenteeism, well-being programmes losing their effectiveness
• agility and responsiveness suffering
• relationship tensions becoming more apparent
• re-work on the up, key standards not met

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



1. Chödrön, Pema How to Move Forward Once You’ve Hit Bottom Lion’s Roar Newsletter 7th October, 2016
http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-move-forward-once-youve-hit-bottom/

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
http://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/employee-engagement-doubles-stock-price-growth/