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Building Resilience

Friday, November 11, 2016 | Category :
    • Personal Growth
    • Avo Vision

Mbu thought she had found her dream position. She was Commercial Exec for an up and coming Digital Agency - who had aggressively pursued her - and she simply adored her role. It appeared to offer everything she was looking for in a company whose culture appeared, on the surface at any rate, to suit her. Six months into the position she was retrenched with no notice. With two young kids and supporting her mother, this could have been a crushing blow. Instead within two days she had assessed her skills, decided that she would never be as safe in the corporate environment as she would be working for herself, found a name for her company and planned out the services she would offer.

On her company’s two year anniversary she had a record month and Mbu says she is happier than ever, “I was devastated and shocked. No-one had ever not wanted me before and I had never failed at anything. But I was also completely determined that I would never put myself at the mercy of a soulless corporate company again. Really I had to make my company work, failure was not an option.”

So what makes someone like Mbu leap back up when knocked down?

This area has been studied extensively over the last forty years and the only thing that scientists appear to agree on is that genetics have nothing to do with resilience, it’s all about attitude. This is great news for us as it means we can change how we cope with challenges by adjusting how we view them! As South Africans we are exposed to so much negativity. Who hasn’t sat at a candle-lit dinner discussing the crime rate, or unemployment? Or the fact that it’s candle-lit because of Eskom. We need to learn to build resiliency or we face the option of sinking into a cycle of hopelessness.

Our Avocado Vision trainers had these tips on resiliency;

  1. Expect to overcome. If you feel hopeless, and don’t ever expect to see a light at the end of the tunnel, you won’t. You’ll stop looking for solutions.
  2. Acceptance. Denying the issue won’t help you solve the problem. Accepting the reality, asking yourself what you can learn from it, and then applying those learnings gives back a sense of control to what may have happened. It also allows you the opportunity to explore alternative solutions that might not be immediately apparent.
  3. Be proactive. So life kicked you in the teeth. It has a tendency to do that. But proactively seeking a solution to adversity allows you to be the master of your own destiny. Be social, you never know who may have the answer to the questions you are facing, but not seeking out people will eliminate the potential circle of answers.

Al Siebert, PhD, writes in his book The Resiliency Advantage (2005) that “highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change. Most important, they expect to bounce back and feel confident that they will. They have a knack for creating good luck out of circumstances that many others see as bad luck.” And who couldn’t do with a little good luck?


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