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  1. What Resilient People Don’t Do

    January 27, 2015 by Jenna

    We all respond to change differently. For some of us it comes naturally and we can go with the flow, as for others, having that sense of security removed can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of which type of person you are, it is important to develop resilience so that we can continue to move towards our goals regardless of the situation.

    So what does it take to be an emotionally resilient person? Perhaps it is best to start by clarifying what they don’t do in order for us to understand what it takes to be resilient. An article by Brad Waters in Psychology Today will be my inspiration for this week and I have outlined ten of his points below:

    1. They don’t cross their own boundaries – Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary The stress/trauma might play a part in their current story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

    2.They don’t surround themselves with bad company– In any environment, your behaviour can be greatly affected by the people you surround yourself with. Resilient people surround themselves with other resilient people who give them space to grieve and work through their emotions. These supporters know when to listen and when to offer enough encouragement without trying to solve the problem, allowing the individual to remain in control of their decisions. Good company will help calm a situation as opposed to adding frustration to it.

    3. They don’t avoid self-awareness – Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long term strategy. Self-awareness helps resilient people to know what they need, what they don’t need and when it’s time to reach out for extra help.

    Prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers. While strong on the outside to stay afloat, you can get prone to massive stress fractures when experiencing unexpected changes in your environment.

    4. They don’t pretend there isn’t a problem – Pain is painful, stress is stressful and healing takes time. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth or pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it.

    5. They don’t ignore quiet time – Some of us find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety is to dull out with distractions such as television, eating, drinking too much etc. While not all distractions are bad, you still need to be mindful of the current situation you may be in and not use distractions as a means of avoiding problems. Somewhere in between shutting down or ramping up is mindfulness – being in the presence of the moment without judgement or avoidance. It takes practice, but finding a quiet space to reflect is well renowned for healing and resilience-building.

    6. They don’t presume to have all the answers – Sometimes we try too hard to find answers in the face of stressful or traumatic events, that activity can block the answers from naturally arising in their own due time. Resilient people can find strength in knowing they do not have it all figured out right now. They trust they will gradually find peace when their mind/body is ready.

    7. They don’t put self-care aside – Resilient people have a list of good habits that support them when they need them most. Anyone can build their own list by noticing those things that recharge their batteries and give them a boost.

    8. They don’t underestimate the importance of team input – Being resilient means knowing when to reach out for help from others. It also means knowing who will serve as a listening ear, and who won’t. A supporting team will help you reflect back on issues where you may have been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so at the time they occured.

    9. They don’t overlook other possibilities – Resilient people can train themselves to ask which parts of their current story are permanent and which parts can possibly change. This helps to maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation may be coloured by their current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature.

    10. They don’t dwell on issues – When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelmed, our thoughts can go at a hundred miles an hour. Resilient people can find reprieve accepting the situation and moving on. One technique that works for some people is the write down the issues causing the current stress.

    While writing is one resilience strategy you can keep in your back pocket, there are other ways that resilient people can get out of their head. Examples include healthy distractions like going to the gym or going for a walk, cooking or baking, volunteering or any self-care items as per point #7.

    How have you built resilience in times of change or difficult situations?


  2. Soft skills that you can apply in almost any role

    March 11, 2014 by Jenna

    As a jobseeker, you will find that your soft skills (people skills) are just as important as tertiary qualifications and hard skills (typing, mathematics, reading comprehension and software training). Employers are looking for roles to be filled and they are often high in demand so you really want to stand out from the competition.

    I found an article by Alison Doyle of The 7 Most Important Soft Skills an individual can have:

    1. Acting as a team player – Team work is very important within most organisations. While independent work is also vital, you need to make sure you can cooperate with others around you (this can also mean finding common ground with someone that you may not always see eye to eye with) and also take on a level of leadership when required.

    2. Flexibility is a valuable asset – Employees that are able to adapt to any situation can be reliable if anything is thrown their way. This can also mean being resilient to change in the workplace. The more experience you can gain making executive decisions and reacting to situations when needed, the more you can take on when you start taking steps forward in your career.

    3. Effective communication is paramount – Not being afraid to ask questions or share feedback when needed. You also need to articulate yourself well, be a good listener after you have spoken and use appropriate body language.

    4. Problem-solving skills and resourcefulness – During an interview, recruiters will ask you to name a point in time where you had to solve a problem or you were in a stressful situation and needed to resolve an issue. Do not be afraid to be specific and give examples. It is important to also not be afraid to raise your hand or offer to take charge to help resolve an issue if you feel confident that you have a solution.

    5. Accepting feedback and applying lessons learned – We all enjoy being recognised for our strengths, but we also need to be willing to regard feedback in terms of areas of improvement. Not only do you need to listen to the feedback but apply action and take steps for professional growth/development.

    6. Confidence is key – The only way you can contribute new ideas, opinions, projects and feedback in an effective way is through confidence. This skill can be developed over time, but you need to be confident in yourself to deliver in order to see results.

    7. Creative thinking – I think we all have creative ideas and ways of approaching tasks, it is just the matter of whether or not we share those ideas. It creates innovation and increased efficiency, and also showcases to managers what you are capable of.

    When it comes to the interview process, make sure to review the job description so when the recruiter asks you to relate to a situation, you can make specific reference to your hard and soft skills that would be appropriate to the role.

    What do you do once you land the role that you want? When the opportunity presents itself, showcase these skills, show the manager what made you a stand out in the interview to begin with. Action speaks louder than words.

    How many of the soft skills listed above can you apply to yourself?

    As an employer are there any additional soft skills that you look for in potential candidates?


  3. What I learnt about myself from climbing 5545 metre mountain in -20-degree conditions

    March 19, 2013 by Jenna

    We have all heard the phrase ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, though that is often easier said than done. Our common instinct in times of trial or being outside of our comfort zone can be to lose confidence, take a step back, and ultimately accept a sense of defeat. However, we as humans are also capable of extraordinary feats, especially in times of change and adversity.

    My resilience was definitely tested during my 18 day trek through Nepal in January this year. I have a reputation in my office for being a bit of a ‘fitness freak’, which involves me being at the gym quite often and partaking in hiking and adventure races over my weekend. While most people use weekends as a quality rest period I tend to strive and push myself to see what I am capable of.

    Shortly after the New Year, our group had come to the hardest part of our trip in Nepal, reaching the top of Kala Plattar (5545m). After countless nights of poor sleep due to the altitude, and physical restraints of only being able to make baby steps when climbing hills, we had a 6.30am departure (before breakfast) to the top of Kala Plattar, which was supposed to have one of the greatest 360 degree views on our trip so far.

    The sun had not yet reached the hill that we were climbing, and overnight a wind had picked up that created a chill of -20 degrees. The walk took our group just over two hours to complete and even without packs on it was a struggle. We were spread out at our own pace but the sideways wind was blowing strong and I could feel it to my core.

    I was tired, cold and hungry and I honestly thought that I could not make it to the top. Tears built up in my eyes and while I wanted to have a tantrum, no one was surrounding me to hear it, nor would it have made getting to the top any more productive.

    I knew that I had two options; to go back the way I came, which would take at least an hour only to prove that I had wasted time, or I could make it to the top, experience this once in a lifetime experience and head back down with feelings of achievement, celebrating over a well-deserved breakfast.

    And that was the reality at the end of the day. When would I ever get to experience being here again? Would I want my memory of this day to be that I didn’t make my hardest challenge so far and spend the rest of my days wondering ‘what if’?

    So there I was at that crossroad where I knew my decision would affect the outcome of this overall experience. So what did I do? I climbed it. And the views were incredible. Not only that, but one of my teammates brought chocolate to the top and that was perhaps the best tasting chocolate I have ever had in my life! I have some amazing photographs that I was able to show my friends and family, and while it was a hard day for me, I overcame it, which is often the outcome for all of us if we take on the challenge.

    The most successful people are often those that are the most resilient. But just like any new skill resilience isn’t built overnight.

    So what is resilience?

    Resilience is the capacity to withstand stress and catastrophe. Psychologists have long recognised the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity. Individuals and communities are able to rebuild their lives even after devastating tragedies.  Being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. People feel grief, sadness, and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. The road to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events.

    So what personal or professional challenges are you scared of taking on? Are situations changing around you and you have to make a decision? Or perhaps you have been in a similar situation in the past. If so what did you do to overcome it?




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