Following on from Mental Health Awareness Week at the end of May, it’s a perfect opportunity for us all to consider what we perceive strength to be.
It’s easy and natural to see an oak or beech tree that has been standing for 100s of years as the embodiment of strength. Yet a large limb may snap off, or the entire tree can fall when in high winds. And in the fierce weather storms life throws at us it can be the unyielding oaks and beech trees that can snap and fall. So we have to remember that strength is also resilience.
Like willow and bamboo trees – very flexible and able to bounce back after a storm. Exactly like the trees I see on the hills when I’m out on my virtual guided walks. They’ve learned to be flexible and bend in the winds on those high hills and nature has adapted them to survive up there.
Adaptability and flexibility are the new strengths to learn and develop if you want you, your team or business to be more resilient.
In my Resilience Valley technique, I take people through the key areas you can develop to become more resilient. More able to adapt, survive and thrive. It’s created through my own experience on life’s extraordinary journey of twists and turns. And from many others who I’ve had the pleasure of either meeting, employing or coaching. Many of us have been, or are likely to go through one of life’s tough, challenging journeys. It’s what we learn, and how we move forward, how we bend and adapt that will get us through.
And these are things that can be taught, and we can learn.
Things such as support – both mental and physical; being in the present; acceptance; commitment to action; improvisation; and finally hope and purpose.
Let’s take support as our example. When we are in that ‘tough’ place, what can help us to get back on our feet is our support system. Our friends, our family and our colleagues. It can also be from our wider community: suppliers and clients can often come through for you in the most unexpected ways. Make sure you are tapping into all those people and contacts during Covid-19.
And remember too how powerful and necessary communication can be. I work closely with many businesses, and it’s increased during this challenging time. The overriding feedback I get from the staff in those businesses is that they want more communication, not less.
So ask your team what level of communication they need and deliver that. It will be one essential step towards building their resilience and having a positive impact on their mental health not only now but into the future too.