Resilient like a cub
Yes, I hear you, and I know there are loads of interesting books and well-thought articles out there on this topic. I am not even trying to compete with them in terms of giving a comprehensive view on what resilience is and how we can build and strengthen it.
What I’d like to do instead is share with you what is working for me, and spark a conversation around this topic, since I deeply believe we all need to be resilient, even more in these challenging times, and we need to be open and vulnerable in sharing the struggles behind the curtains.
WE ARE ALL IN IT, AND WE ARE NOT ALONE!
Allow me a little backstory...
I moved to Switzerland 3 years ago, leaving a job that I really liked back in Italy but ready to take the opportunity to build something else over here.
After my three kids were settled in their new schools, immigration formalities and paperwork was all sorted out, german was starting slowly (very slowly!) to pick up, it was time to invest in the “something else” I wanted to build: my own leadership coaching business!
Full of energy and excitement I invested in additional training and certifications, set up all the administrative papers to open up my own firm in Basel, joined different networks, and volunteered consistently in a couple of them.
After some months, (too many, from my perspective at the time), failed attempts, and unsuccessful knocking on closed doors, the first clients started coming in 👏. Slowly but steady, 2020 arrived and I was happy about how things were starting to pick up with new coaching engagements and interesting projects under construction.
And then… A PANDEMIC!!! Seriously???
I don’t need to share with you how this situation is impacting on small independent businesses like mine and I also know I shouldn’t be complaining: I am a privileged person with a loving family and a partner that pays rent, bills and groceries so I don’t have to worry about whether my kids and I will have a roof over our heads and food in our plates tonight. I am grateful for this, and I don’t take it for granted!
But… is it really enough? Does it really help me in not feeling frustrated to see all my efforts hitting on a wall?
Honestly, not. I definitely feel like the cub in the video above.
Luckily, my experience as a coach and my own mindfulness and self-awareness practices are really helping me, and that’s why I’d like to share with you a few focal points that really work for me in keep going forward with a positive and determined approach:
Keep reminding myself that my own self worth is not at stake, and is not dependent on the number of clients I have, the type of projects I work on or my annual turnover
Surround myself by people that are willing and able to give me honest feedback but even more importantly are caring, warm and supportive. Be grateful for the amazing support group I already have and keep looking out for others. I like to picture it as a treasure hunt, with treasures hiding in the most unusual places and not only in my workplace, family or immediate circle of friends
Be vulnerable and drop the mask. It doesn’t help me to keep smiling and saying that everything is going perfect even when it isn’t.
And this is very, very hard for me to do! I’ve always been the cheerful and smiling one, the rock supporting others, and it is extremely difficult for me to admit I also need support and reach out for it. But I learnt that vulnerability is contagious, and by being open and vulnerable to others we also invite more authentic vulnerable sharing from them!
Balance long term vision with short term objectives, reminding myself who I want to be and how I want my business to be in a few years time, but also what I can do differently tomorrow to try something new, find my learning edge, fall and get up again having learned something useful in the process
Focus on my own overall well-being in terms of healthy eating habits, physical exercise, meditation, finding quality time to spend with my family… Always aware of what brings energy and positivity in my life
Last but not least… Be there to support, encourage and give a helping hand to others just as I would like to see people supporting, encouraging and giving a helping hand to me, without expecting anything in return.
In other words, BE MOTHER BEAR, EVEN IF THE CUB IS NOT MY OWN OR IS ACTUALLY A FULLY GROWN BEAR!
I’m curious to hear your perspectives on this: how does resilience look like for you? What would you add to this list? What would you take out?