Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!
This catchy little poem was a favourite when my children were small. It seems particularly apt at the moment, when there is extensive flooding in the west of the UK, record-breaking snow storms sweeping across the USA and Canada and recent typhoons in the Pacific Islands – all of which have taken a high and sometimes tragic toll.
It also popped into my head last week when I found myself with a favourite client, a share dealing company I’ve been designing and delivering training for over some years now. In a departure from my usual remit around customer service delivery, I was instead asked to help the customer service team develop their resilience and mental toughness in preparation for a demanding few months ahead.
And this was not a one-off request. Resilience is an area of increasing interest to organisations anxious to support their people with a workload that is ever more complex and pressured. So in the interests of helping all of us become more weatherproof, here are five things resilient people do, both in their personal and professional lives:
- 1. Resilient people take charge of their own feelings.
If you say things like “that customer made me feel bad” you are saying that it’s OK to give other people power over how you feel. It isn’t, and you don’t have to do it. Instead, acknowledge that you didn’t like how you were spoken to, but also make the deliberate choice not to let that person spoil your day. Choose your mindset, then move on. (If you’re wearing your Professional You jacket, you’ll be doing this already).
- 2. Resilient people don’t shy away from change.
Not all change is welcome or sought, but change is an inevitable part of life. Believe in your abilities to adapt and be curious about what you can learn from the situation, however difficult. Change throws up opportunities as well as complications – be alert to the doors that could be opening.
- 3. Resilient people don’t waste time worrying about things they can’t control.
You can’t control other people and their behaviour any more than you can control the economy or the weather. So there really is no point expending valuable energy fretting about the uncontrollable. What you CAN control, and where you are best applying your efforts, is your attitude and how you choose to respond to what gets thrown at you.
- 4. Resilient people regard failure as a learning exercise.
If you can regard each disappointment as a step towards getting it right next time, you are on a sound journey towards success and achievement. Review what you did, what the outcomes were and decide how you would adjust the delivery next time for better results. Be patient and play the long game. Think of each failure as a ‘deferred success’!
- 5. Resilient people look forwards, not longingly backwards.
It’s a waste of energy to look back and wish things had been different, or wish things were still like they used to be. Life is for living now, and resilient people don’t dwell on the past and feel sorry for themselves. Instead, they acknowledge what they’ve had and where they have been, consider what they’ve learned so far, then gather up those insights and move forward with them. They also actively choose to leave unhelpful baggage behind.
Life, like the weather, can be harsh and unforgiving, and however much we fret and worry we can’t stop the rain falling or the wind howling. But we can choose the clothes in which we venture outdoors, and we can make a decision about whether we step into the maelstrom feeling already defeated – or whether we’re going to remain resolutely confident in our ability to weather the weather – whether we like it or not.