“A tear swells and drops

Joining the torrent… that

Stillness follows with quiet resolve”

-Trish Stenson

“Resilience is the property of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered. In other words, it is the maximum energy per unit volume that can be elastically stored. It is represented by the area under the curve in the elastic region in the stress-strain curve.”

Resilience.  What is it?  How do we know we have it?  How can we build it into our lives, our families or give it as a “life gift” to our children?   That old expression, “no pain, no gain”,  is a cornerstone in the creation of resiliency.  The description provided  by the” stress-strain curve”, identifies that place where rebound is possible.   Too much strain and the elastic band will break.  Too many strains and that same band will begin to weaken resulting in a weaker less elastic approach that will ultimately breakdown as well.

The truth is, that only when resilience is tested,  do we have the ability to understand the complexity and urgency of being able to draw on it.  Crisis is the great equalizer and crisis will determine the victim from the survivor.  Resilience is the key to determining the difference.

Another expression “What doesn’t kill ya will serve to make you stronger!”   Well, there is truth to this, but depending on how many times you have been challenged, how many times you have had to bounce back, the energy to do so will decrease and thus the ability to be resilient is diminished.

It’s important to understand this when dealing with crisis and change in our lives.  There are some key things that can determine our success or defeat in the face of tremendous change and challenge.  Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Do I have a good support system in place?
  • Do I keep things to myself or talk them out?
  • Can I be flexible?
  • During change or crisis am I inclusive or do I operate like a lone wolf?
  • Do I take time in my life to re-fuel or just keep forging ahead?
  • Do I accept the help and support of others?
  • Do I express my emotions or do I tend to bottle up feelings?
  • Do I view stress as a negative or use it to propel myself forward?
  • Do I have the ability to view a failure as a learning opportunity?
  • Do I feel prepared or am I feeling depleted after too many difficult hits?

All of these are considerations in your ability to be resilient.  The more inclusive you are, the more you communicate, the more able you are to deal with emotion directly and positively, the better your chances of “bouncing back”.  Couple this with a flexible and generally more optimistic outlook on life then the more positive the outcome will be after a life changing event.

The other factor is the amount of” bounce back life” in that elastic band we know as resilience.  If it’s been stretched to far or too often it may need more intensive support to ensure a good result.  This is the time to seek out coaching or counselling support to regain some of that flexibility.

So, how do we build resilience in our children?  Encourage them to talk about things that are going on.  Support them to express their emotion openly.  Don’t protect them from all things stressful rather support them in their journey through.  Learning that life has “bumps” is the best inoculation against future difficulty in negotiating change.

In terms of employees, during times of stress and change, communication is crucial.  Over communicate and check in on a regular basis.  Be inclusive and illicit opinions.

Change and crisis are inevitable in our lives.  Positive outcomes from any change or crisis rely on our ability to re-frame the situation, regain our equilibrium in the new and changed reality and recover  our strengths that will support us to make forward movement .

If we remain mindful of these things and we have been conscientious in taking care of our emotional well being  prior to the change or crisis, then in the aftermath, we will rise up again.  We will be able to take on the new reality and succeed!