Maintaining resilience in the face of corona virus

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Whether you are a leader, a worker, a teacher, or a parent, the news at the moment is troubling. Every time we turn on the news we are face with worse case scenarios of what may be facing us in the coming months.

Now depending on your personality type you are either concerned, indifferent or keeping a watching brief. I think it is inevitable that there will be an impact on all of our lives, whether that is small or significant it is not certain. Ignoring or overreacting to the news at the moment is not going to make you, your family or organisation very resilient I am afraid, you are even going to woefully under prepared or mentally exhausted. At this stage it is important to keep a watching brief and be prepared.

Diane Coutu in her HBR article “How Resilience Works” she lays out 3 elements that will increase your own and your organisation’s resilience. This approach will help you maintain your level of resilience all the time if you adopt it. It is an approach I use in coaching to help people assess how resilient they are and what they need to address to maintain their resilience.

Firstly lets explore what I mean by resilience. The dictionary definition of resilience is…’the capacity to recovery quickly from difficulties.’ I would describe resilience is being able to pick yourself up and carry on after being knocked down, with the ability to learn from that experience and adapt. I have heard the word toughness used, I prefer the word flexible and reflexive. Being strong is just not enough when you are under attack. Big strong trees are often blown down by strong winds whereas grasses that move with the wind stay intact. Therefore being resilient is being able to move with the wind, you might get battered but you wont be destroyed. Now we have cleared up what I mean when I say resilient lets have a look at what you will need to pay attention to.

As mentioned Diane Coutu highlights three areas you will need to pay attention to help with your resilience, they are; realism, purpose, and creativity. If you want to be able to be flexible when faced with something challenging like corona virus, you have to pay attention to all 3, not just one in isolation.

  • Realism: How prepared are you for corona virus, for instance do you have resources to sustain you for 2 weeks. If you are a manager or business owner, can you continue to stay open if members of staff are off sick for 2 weeks? Do you need to consider how you will manage on reduced income. Do you have plans in place if work activity is dramatically reduced? Do you need to consider contingency plans? At home do an inventory of staple foods, such as tinned ad frozen food. There is no need to panic, but it is worth making say double the amount of curries, casseroles, and the likes and freeze half. Consider having a couple of bags of frozen veg, chips, meat, and fish in the freezer. Have a look in your freezer and cupboards you may well have these in, if you have not then buy an extra bag of something or an extra tin of something each time you go shopping. This will not empty the shops or your bank. Start to practice not touching your eyes and mouth, and practice washing your hands every time you enter the office, work space, or home. None of these things will be over burdensome, but will make life easier if there are problems. It is important to recognise that there will always be a problem coming our way, and what plans do we in place to should things go wrong.
  • Purpose: When things get tough either at home or work, it is vital to have a strong reason why. At home it may be to maintain the lifestyle you have, to have the nice house, holidays and the love of your family. For others it will be to maintain living in a certain place surrounded by people that are important, or to get home and feel safe and secure. At work your reason why is sometimes harder to find. If you own your own business are you clear about what you want to achieve, do you have your companies’ values and mission statement clearly written and displayed for customers and employees, to remind everyone why you are all there. Do you and who you work with buy in to your values and mission statement. When things get really tough many of us need a really strong reason why to go to work or put effort in to keep a company going. If you don’t want to be a casualty of the corona virus economic fallout this is something that will need attention.
  • Creativity: When the chips are down we will not have all the resources we need. People will be off sick, you may well be sick, therefore it is important to be able to be creative with what you have. Whether that is considering how you will maintain your organisation on a reduced workforce, or responding more creatively to the needs of customers. At home this might mean considering creative recipes to use up food in the cupboard. My wife calls these meals ‘if-its’ in the cupboard Matt will make it. Sometimes you can discover some gems and ultimate family favourites. Other times you will come across some terrible combinations that you will never cook again. Being creative, is making the best of a bad job. When you have a strong reason why being creative is a lot easier. If you have thought creatively when you have made plans, then being creative can be a lot less onerous.

Make an assessment of your home life and work life. What do you need to pay attention to? If you are concerned about your organisation, do you have the power to make a difference? If you do then get in touch, lets have a conversation to see if I can support. If you are a worker, what can you pay attention to personally that help you and your team be resilient, again please message me if you want to discuss this further.

In the spirit of creativity I also offer online, or telephone coaching. Message me to find out more.


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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