“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, sheElizabeth Edwards
adjusted her sails”
In the new world we find ourselves facing changes beyond our personal control that have impacted our small businesses in a big way. Many of us have frozen in terror as a large part of our revenue stream has suddenly disappeared. If you like me, panicked and felt paralyzed with fear and hopelessness in the first days, as the reality of the impact of the COVID 19 virus sunk in, keep reading.
Moving from that gripping place of fear to a place of hope and action
Have you ever felt in awe of how some women seem to be able to ‘ride the storm’ better than others? Why some come out on top, regardless of how bad things get? Don’t be fooled that this is by chance or indeed, that it is easy. It takes a magical blend of hard work, self-awareness, attitude to stress, peppered with a good dose of optimism.
Let’s take a look at the common habits of these resilient women so that we can learn and use their ways as a guide on how we can boost our resilience to become happier, more successful and fulfilled women in business and life.
Stand your ground
Growing up with 4 brothers, I learned early on how to stand my ground, be resilient and tap into my natural source of power. It didn’t happen overnight, this took years of trying, falling and getting up again.
I remember learning the hard way, how to choose my battles and deal with disappointment when things didn’t go my way. However, it was not all plain sailing. In my late 20’s, my personal and business life went pear-shaped overnight. The company I was working for folded, my 7 year relationship ended and I was not longer happy with my life. I was surprised and disillusioned that my childhood learnings didn’t rescue me. I realised that there was more work to do.
The days and weeks that followed, I fought my new reality like an over-tired child that can’t sleep. Then, I slumped into a paralysis of sorts, where I did nothing and stared into space for hours, then something changed, something finally shifted in me.
I dug deep, real deep and found a very faint light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly, I got up, got dressed, got on my beloved yoga mat and asked the million dollar question “what now?” The light grew brighter.
During what was sometimes a painful process, I started to look inward, which I hadn’t done much before this. I began asking questions like, “what makes me happy”, “where is my passion” and “what can I do to build my life back up”.
At this point, I realised that the way forward involved accepting and, dare I say embracing, my new reality and still come out with something good, meaningful.
Looking back now, this was a couple of the most enriching years of my life. I learned how to reframe what I perceived as failure, whilst developing invaluable skills such as self-awareness, relying on my intuition more and prioritise where I put my energy and focus.
Adapt to change
As I got back on my feet, I moved continents, prioritised my family, changed careers, became my own boss and most importantly learned to thrive and adapt in turbulent times.
Over the years, I became really curious about how we can develop these life and business skills of being resilient, optimistic and brave, especially in work where women have to work in challenging, often male dominated environments.
Through my research and case studies, I uncovered some very interesting facts that shattered some of pre-conceived conceptions.
You are not born with resilience, you learn resilience.
I discovered, we need to learn the adult version of resilience, in order to successfully navigate the challenging terrain of modern life.
How do you continue to boost your resilience in turbulent times, like a global pandemic, slump in our business, missed promotion or personal crisis, like loss of a loved one or divorce? Read on for some of my guidance below.
Be kind to yourself
The first step is to acknowledge what is going on. Denial is tempting and often a coping mechanism but believe me, it doesn’t increase your resilience and reality will surface one way or another. If we ignore our reality, suffering comes… eventually. So, as painful as it is, acceptance is the first major step to getting back on top. Be kind and give yourself time to accept what’s happened or what’s happening right now.
Get clarity on your Purpose
The next stage involves figuring out your priorities and values, which, like your life, ebb and flow. Use them as your roadmap to get clear about your purpose and become more resilient. Stay in touch with your core values.
Focus on what you have
Refocus is the next phase. Shifting focus to what is good or going well in your business and life is a great way to reframe your current situation. Be thankful for the clients you do have, the kind colleagues in your company or your adorable child or pet that makes you heart melt. This refocus
will make you stronger and motivate you to go on.
Allow yourself to dream
My favourite phase of this process is re-energising. This is about ‘blue sky thinking’. Remove all barriers and negative self-talk. Allowing ourselves to dream and think outside the box opens the door to the possibilities. Here’s where the magic happens.
Be brave and take action. Now this is your time to use your new resilience skills, weather the storm and take positive action. The tough times gives us a chance to sharpen our resilience skills, refocus and adjust our sails!