Resilience

Resilience is all about how we bounce back after any kind of setback and how we cope with the pressures and stresses of modern day living both in life and in work. While we may be able to bounce back quickly after one setback if we suffer more than one, say two or three in quick succession we might find it more difficult. In this masterclass we will explore what it means to be resilient, why it's important, the latest research about well-being, and how resilient you are. We will also look at how you can improve your resilience and how to act on what you can control and accept what you can’t.

Resilience

Welcome

Resilience is all about how we bounce back after any kind of setback and how we cope with the pressures and stresses of modern day living both in life and in work. While we may be able to bounce back quickly after one setback if we suffer more than one say two or three in quick succession we might find it more difficult.

In this masterclass we will explore what it means to be resilient why it's important the latest research about well-being and how resilient you are. We will also look at how you can improve your resilience and how to act on what you can control and accept what you can’t.

This masterclass works together in conjunction with others that are available on Quarterdeck online and they are the dealing with stress and overwhelm masterclass, the dealing with difficult people masterclass, the sleep masterclass, how to say no and the time management masterclass so I will be advising you to also watch those masterclasses. That way you will be able to put into place the practical steps as well as the self awareness that is required to have high resilience.

By the end of this masterclass you will know what it means to be resilient. You will feel much more confident in your control of your own resilience. And you will be able to put into place practical measures which will help maintain high resilience or will help you return to a level of high resilience after a period of low resilience which is only natural for us all to experience at one time or another.

Why Is Resilience Important and Who Are You when You’re at Your Best?

Resilience is all about how we bounce back after any kind of setback and how we cope with the pressures and stresses of modern day living both in life and in work. While we may be able to bounce back quickly after one setback if we suffer more than one say two or three in quick succession we might find it more difficult.

It's important to be resilient because we're not always in control of what happens in our world surrounding us. If we're not resilient things outside of our control can take a toll on our own mental well-being and as a consequence of that on important relationships in our lives, our communication with everyone around us and therefore on our effectiveness in terms of our work and our home life.

Imagine yourself on your best day ever what kind of characteristics do you display are you kind supportive assertive confident? This is you in your element the core of who you are when you are in the right conditions for you to shine. Some things that happen take us out of our element it may be situations setbacks or emotions such as grief disappointment or frustration the idea is that we aim to be in our element most of the time and when we are taken temporarily out of this space that once the temporary disruption disappears we move with ease back to our best self it is sometimes the case that would become stuck unable to resolve the issue for some this can be for a few days in some cases such as grief we can find ourselves stuck here for months or even years this is where the idea of resilience comes in resilience is all about our ability to bounce back from setbacks and recover with ease from situations often outside our own control we may not have control over the external circumstances but we do have control over our response. What I want you to do now is think about who you are when you are in your element who are you when you're having that amazing day your best day ever?

I want you to think about it now and write some notes headed who am I when I’m in my element? Pause the video and do it now.

Now that you've got those written down you've got an idea about who you are are you focused on who you are when you're in your element, what I want you to think about is what is it that takes you temporarily out of your element. For this question we are talking about things like things not going my way, a sale not going ahead, a project hitting a barrier, or if somebody’s sent you a negative email, things like that things that can disrupt your state of mental flow and mental ease. So, pause the video and think, what are the kinds of things that take you out of your element?

Having an awareness of who you are when you're in your element as well as what it is that takes you out of your element is key to understanding your own resilience and being able to act to improve your resilience. If you know who you are when you're in your element then when you're not behaving like that you can recognise it and start to do something about it. If you know the kind of thing that takes you out of your element you can guard against it or when it does happen because it's beyond your control you can know that ‘this is the kind of thing that normally takes me out of my element so what I'll do is react to it differently this time and not let it spoil the rest of my day, or week, or month, I will take control of my response to this situation rather than just letting my reaction happen and having no self awareness or control over the emotional impact.

The next step in the process of what we call the element tree is to think about what you need in your life to be in your element the majority of the time. This means really basic things such as to eat regularly to get enough sleep as well as things that are higher up in our pyramid of needs such as time management - what we call self management - stress management, relationship building, communication skills. These kind of things are the things that form a shield around you that stops the situations that might one-day have upset or reduced your resilience from affecting you quite as much, or for quite as long. The thing with resilience is that it's not that you never get affected by negative experiences or situations but it's that you bounce back quickly or relatively quickly.

Obviously if you lose the sale that you've been working on for some time or if a project hits a barrier you may well feel frustration, but it's about using that frustration for positive gain so that you can move on more quickly, rather than about never feeling the frustration. Similarly if there is someone in your life who who you find difficult to be with or who affects you negatively it's not about never experiencing that negative feeling when you've been with them it's about bouncing back more quickly when you have been with them, when you have experienced their negative influence. So pause the video and think, what do you need in your life to be in your element the majority of the time?

In a recent study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, mental ill-health was identified as the biggest cause of long-term absence at 59%, followed by stress at 54%. While the survey also showed that absence figures were down, usually a positive sign in terms of resilience and well-being, the pairing of that with the figures for mental ill-health and stress means it’s not necessarily a good thing. Might people be struggling into work when ill, to deal with the heavy workload that itself is causing that stress?

Presenteeism is still on the rise in the workplace, with the rise of home working simply brining different issues rather than tackling the need of employees to be seen to be active, or employers need to have proof their people are working. Sixty-three percent say they use their holidays to work or they work when off sick, with issues that are compounded by an increase in home working, whilst 83% say they still go into work, or work, when they’re feeling unwell. In two out of three of those scenarios the sickness absence figures might not be taking a hit – but look at the bigger picture. Is that really how organisations should be functioning? It’s pretty clear how these shorter-term behaviours can eventually come to a head in terms of our resilience and well-being.

When you’re ill you need to take time off to recover. Your body is working hard to get you better, it therefore has depleted stores of the things you use for working, such as concentration, decision making ability, energy. Energy you use for working is taken away from getting you better, leading to a longer recovery time. Energy that you need to analyse data properly, for example, might not be available, leading to poorer quality of work. It’s a lose-lose situation.

When you’re off on annual leave you need to take time to rest, to spend with your family, to do nothing, or get out in the fresh air. All of these are hugely beneficial things to our well-being and out mental health, not to mention our work quality. When you rest, when you stop being task focused in the same way, your brain becomes more creative. If you have heard of the saying ‘to sleep on a problem’ you should know that that’s scientifically proven to be an effective way of problem solving. When you’re resting your brain makes links and leaps that it doesn’t make when you’re awake and focused on doing the do. Rest is good for us, sleep is good for us, not only in all the myriad of health reasons but in terms of our effectiveness too. Sometimes the best thing you can do to improve your effectiveness is to sleep. But out society often views sleep as a weakness. We hear people boasting about the fact they only need 4 hours sleep a night. Or 6. If you are only getting 6 hours sleep a night, you’re officially sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation means you are operating at a sub par level - nothing to boast about I would have thought. Watch our Sleep masterclass for more information on this. Sleep is of phenomenal importance. Make sure you get an 8 hour sleep opportunity every night. Or at least most nights.

So, resilience is important for us to function at our most mentally healthy and our most effective. There are some basic things you can do to increase your resilience. Do the element tree exercises, I hope you already have, but if not do them now. Ask yourself who am I when I’m in my element? What takes me out of my element temporarily? And what do I need to be in my element? You are already more likely to be resilient just by carrying out this exercise. But we also need to do more practical things to adjust our lifestyle, behaviours and thought patterns. We’re going to address this in a separate video. For now, focus on the element tree and have a think about what you can do to increase the amount of time you spend in your element. Talk to people around you and ask them what you can do, or how you reveal when you are feeling out of your element? Take note and then, when you have watched the rest of this masterclass, along with the other recommended masterclasses you can make sure you pay particular attention to the techniques that address your feedback.

Your Sub-Conscious Mind Is Key to Resilience

Understanding the fact that your brain operates without your control, without you thinking about it, is key to resilience. Unless we understand this fact we can’t do anything about changing it. By the end of this video you will have a clearer understanding of how your brain is holding you back. You will be able to identify and move on from the beliefs that occupy your mind and stall your progress and you will feel more in control of your thought patterns.

There are two basic levels to your brain function. Your conscious mind controls things like goal setting, plans, action and willpower. It processes about 40 bits of information per second.

Your sub-conscious mind is where your beliefs, your habits, your memories and emotional reactions reside. It processes about 40 million bits of information per second. Your conscious mind is responsible for about 5% of you and your sub-conscious mind about 95%. So it’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about.

The reason understanding your sub conscious mind is important in terms of resilience is that your beliefs hugely influence your actions. If you believe the world is against you then you are more likely to sit back and do nothing to change outcomes. Whereas if you believe it’s just a bit of bad luck, then you’re more like to act to try and influence the outcomes you experience. If you believe you can achieve your goals you will act towards achieving them. If you believe you can’t achieve your goals you won’t act towards them. So we need to address our beliefs, and in particular our self-limiting beliefs, those beliefs we have that don’t help us achieve what we want, or need, to achieve in life. These self-limiting beliefs can come from things that were said to you many years ago, as a child perhaps, or things that have happened to you in the past, as well as your culture and family and friends. They can also come from the culture in the workplace, or expected ways of behaving that have existed for a long time.

For example, my sister was always referred to as the ‘clever one’ of our family. And though it was never said, I inferred from that that I wasn’t clever, even though I got good grades at school. So when I got into Oxford University it meant the world to me. My whole view of myself shifted, that I could be clever AS WELL as my sister. Beliefs can be founded on a single stray comment from someone, they can undermine our view of what we can achieve and that’s dangerous.

What are some self-limiting beliefs that you have about your abilities that may be hampering your progress? Think not just about the workplace but about life in general. I hear people say they ‘can’t run’ for example, all the time. Now they might not be able to run a mile, or half a mile, but they can definitely run! I had this belief too until I started running. I went as far as I could, then stopped and walked until one day I ran a whole mile. I can still remember how it felt! Amazing! So amazing in fact that when I’d recovered from the elation I ran the whole mile back home too. Our beliefs are often what’s holding us back!

So, What are some self-limiting beliefs that you have about your abilities that may be hampering your progress? Pause the video and have a think right now.

So you have got a few self-limiting beliefs written down and that’s great but after you have finished watching this video I want you to go and ask three people who know you well what your self-limiting beliefs are. People are often much more aware of what's holding us back than we are. We also probably reveal our self-limiting beliefs in our chat with our friends and family so that they know even better than us what we think of our own abilities and potential.

Why is this important? Well that's important because you need to know yourself in order to undo some of the work that has been holding you back in your own mind and also to make sure that you can address some underlying beliefs that may be affecting your emotional reactions. People say things like ‘a temper runs in my family’ or ‘I've never been organised, my whole family is disorganised’. These are not innate genetic things, generally they are habits and behaviours that have been picked up and learned and reinforced and with some work they can be changed. But in order to change then you need to have the belief that you can change them and not the belief that they are a fixed part of your personality.

Our beliefs about ourselves and others are often noticeable in the mental self chatter that goes on inside our heads. That little voice that is responding to almost everything that's going on around you and that you are thinking. If you're wondering what that little voice is or if you've got it it's that little voice that's asking you if you've got that little voice right now. So we need to address mental chatter as well and I want you now to have a think about what it is that your brain asks you or says to you when you're driving home or when you have quiet moments so that you can find out what your self talk voice says to you. And where it comes from. So, say your boss asks for a volunteer to pitch to a big client, does your little voice say ‘yes, bring it on, I can do a good job of that’ or does it say ‘oh my good, I’m not good enough to do that. What if I mess it up? Everyone will know.’ That’s when your little voice is holding you back, so where does that belief that you can’t do it come from? Your little voice can also hold you back in terms of your emotional reactions too. If your little voice is saying things like, ‘she can’t talk to you like that, she’s no right’ you might be encouraging an emotional response to something that could be better handled rationally, such as by thinking, ‘I wonder what makes her talk to me like that, do I need to ask her if she’s okay, or get to know her better?’ Or it might be saying, ‘did you see that look on his face when you spoke up in the meeting, he thinks you’re rubbish.’

Most of the time, I can guarantee you that you are thought about by others far less that you think you are. You are generally a fleeting thought, if any at all, in other people’s heads. It’s reassuring to know we’re not as important as we think we are. Remember they all have a little voice and self-limiting beliefs too. They’re far more likely to be putting themselves down internally than thinking about you. Laird Hamilton says, ‘make sure your own worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears’ and he’s absolutely right. But before we can make sure of that we have to listen to what it’s saying and see if wand how we need to get to work evicting that enemy to our happiness and success. Pause the video and write down what your little voice says to hold you back.

We need to address our mental chatter and self-limiting beliefs because of something called Personality Refraction. Personality Refraction is where a single thought can affect how you feel which can then create a mood that, if unchecked, eventually creates a temperament and, ultimately, your personality. This matters in resilience because if your thought is negative, then you can quickly become of the mind that ‘the world is against you’, or ‘there’s no point’, or ‘I just won’t bother’ which affects your resilience. This ‘checking’ is important for you to do. If you find yourself thinking negative things then you need to ‘check’ the progress of that thought.

It’s fine to think negatively for a moment, or an appropriate amount of time, depending upon what’s happened, but you must check any further indulgence in the negativity. If a project has gone wrong, then five minutes of frustration is appropriate before you ‘check’ your negativity, which is doing nothing to help you and find a way to move forward, which is a positive thing. If it’s something bigger that’s happened, then a longer period of negativity is more likely, however, it should be your aim to always ‘seek the positives’, ‘seek the opportunity’ and ‘seek the learning’. Even in the worst of situations negative mental chatter doesn’t help us. So we need to gain an awareness of it such that when we become aware of what’s going on in our heads we stop it and correct the trajectory of our thoughts. Pause the video for a moment and ask 3 people what they think your self-limiting beliefs are. Give them time to think before they answer, tell them you’ll check back in with them in a couple of days time and then make sure you do that.

Now, as we bring this lesson to a close I want you to think about those self limiting beliefs that you identified earlier. Where have they come from? For each one I’d like you to think of reasons they are not true. Write those reasons down underneath the belief and then, when you have two or three reasons down symbolically cross out that self-limiting belief. There is no requirement for you to believe that anymore. You have moved on. Remember that I asked you earlier to ask three people who know you well what your self-limiting beliefs are. Go now and do that and then carry out the actions I have just described.

Mindfulness & Visualisation

In this video we’re going to learn about the power of mindfulness and visualisation. People think it sounds a bit hippy, a bit out there, but it’s not. We actually all use both at times without realising. By the end of this video you will have an understanding of where and how these skills can help you, you will be able to quickly bring yourself back to a mindful state and you will be able to use visualisation as a tool for success. You will feel much more in control of your own mind.

We have spoken many times about the power of identifying likely challenges before we have to face them in real life. In we do this, we are forewarned and forearmed against the challenges, able to muster our counterattack more quickly and more effectively. Mindfulness is part of this defence system against challenges that you will face in your life.

Being mindfully aware of material things that affect you and your wellbeing, or you and your progress, helps you guard against them. Once we notice a challenge, or an attack, wherever it comes from, we can begin to notice what’s driving it, what’s happening in our mind, or to our belief system, including self limiting beliefs. Once we have done that, we can actually start to practise redirecting our thoughts and attention back to the present, or back to a more positive way of thinking.

There are four components of mindfulness. These are awareness, non-attachment, acceptance and present moment. Awareness is the moment at which we become aware that our thoughts have wandered into the past or the future and are in some way holding us back from achieving what we need to achieve. This might be because you have wandered back into ‘I can’t do this’. ‘I have never been able to do this’. ‘My parents always said I wasn’t any good at’..territory. Or, ‘I’m bound to fail and then when I stand up in front of everyone, they’ll all laugh at me’.

The second part of Mindfulness is Non-attachment - we can become attached to a thought, like an opinion, remember when we spoke about personality refraction in an earlier video. We can find it very difficult to let go of our thoughts but we need to develop non-attachment so that we can let go and move on. We can have thoughts but not attach ourselves to them. We can have emotions but not act them out. We can experience anger without hitting a wall, or snapping at someone. It takes practise and skill but we can do it. If you’re a leader then you need to develop this skill. You need to get to the place where you can say to yourself, ‘I am frustrated at this person’s refusal to do as I ask but I am talking calmly and positively with them about how to reach a point where he can accept that it’s his responsibility to do x,y, or z.’ Or, ‘I’m feeling anxious about this thing that I have to do but I’m going to detach from that and carry on because I know that feeling anxious is just something I have to go through to get the job done.’

The third part is Acceptance. We can have a thought or feeling that we judge, like it or hate it. We often push uncomfortable emotions away but non-acceptance can create stress. If you suddenly wish that your colleague didn’t get that positive outcome, instead of thinking ‘that wasn’t a nice thought’ and shoving it away deep down into your psyche, ask yourself why you are having that thought? What is it about your colleague that made you think that, or what is it about your own state of mind that made you think that. Would you have been happy for another colleague to get the positive outcome? If yes, then it might be something to do with them specifically. What do you resent about them? Or what do you fear? It might be that they seem to be better at the job and that you fear that they will soon be your boss, or that you are jealous that they got that positive attention.

Don’t judge yourself as you unpick these thought patterns. It’s necessary to unpick so that you can defend yourself against any unhelpful negativity that may arise because of them, or so you can stop yourself descending into a negative ‘poor me’ state of mind. Or so you can address the issue. If you fear your colleague might become your boss, or get promotion because of their success then the sensible thing to do is up your own game, and the really sensible thing to do is to go and speak to them, congratulate them, obviously, but ask for advice or tips on how you can achieve such success too. If someone around you is doing what you need or want to do, then the easiest way to start doing it yourself is to ask them what they do, how did they achieve that success and then replicate that action.

The fourth part of mindfulness is Present Moment. In order to be aware we must stay in the present, so we can think actively not passively. I’m not saying that some thoughts won’t pop into your head, they will, but I am saying that when they do, we need to pick up on them and disrupt any responses or thoughts that will derail us in any way. We must aim to stay in the present most of the time. So many people go through life on auto pilot, when they’re getting up, showering, making breakfast, eating lunch, driving to work, doing their exercise, arriving home and seeing their family.

Being on autopilot turns part of your brain off. Only the habit function is active in terms of thought patters, you are like an automaton. This means that you are not really present in the moment. If you are present in the moment you can fully concentrate on each moment. Like walking in the front door and seeing your children, the most precious beings in the world to you. That should be done in present mind, not on autopilot , I’m sure you agree. But it extends into every conversation or interaction we have with those around us. We should be present mind, otherwise we end up with people having to repeat themselves, or giving an inappropriate response, or re-reading a report, or an email several times because we keep drifting off. If you find you keep drifting off you need to stop and say, ‘what is it that’s causing me to drift off?’

Is it tiredness, boredom, are you concerned about something? Being present isn’t just about powering through things, thinking really hard about them, it’s about staying alert to what’s going on in your own head so you can stop and question it at times like this and then take appropriate action. If you’re tired perhaps you should get up and take a walk around, have some fresh air, drink a glass of water, go and talk to someone to re-energise yourself. If it’s because you have a very intrusive thought, perhaps you need to act on that. If that thought is about a thing you need to do later perhaps you can make a note for yourself or set a reminder on your phone, that way your brain can relax, knowing that you have a plan in place and it doesn’t need to keep reminding you.

Identify 3 areas in which you struggle to maintain ‘present mind’. It’s also a great idea to ask those around you as we think we get away with it, but we rarely do. For example your partner might be able to say that you are often ‘somewhere else’ when you initially arrive home after a day at work, or during dinner, or when you ask how their day has gone. Your work colleagues might say you are often ‘not quite present’ during the finance meeting, or whenever the agenda item doesn’t concern you or your department. Asking people this question, and being non-defensive, in fact saying nothing but ‘thank you, I’m working at getting more conscious about this’ to their response is a short cut to finding out where you struggle with being present. Pause the video and email them now. Then think yourself about when you are challenged to ‘stay in the room’ or ‘the conversation’.

The flip side of being consciously present is visualisation, where you consciously let yourself benefit from the power of your imagination. Visualisation has been proved to be extremely effective at determining outcomes. Remember your self-limiting beliefs? Visualisation can turn those on their heads and allow you to imagine a future in which they are not a factor. And it can even change your physiology. In a study of two groups of hotel housekeepers visualisation was found to affect their level of calories burned during their working hours. One group was told that their work counted as exercise and they were coached to visualise it as exercise throughout the day. The other group were told nothing. Both groups had their calories burned measured beforehand. The group who visualised their work as exercise burned significantly more calories, despite doing the same work as before.

It’s also well documented in the world of sport. Johnny Wilkinson used to take a few moments to visualise a goal going through the posts before he kicked the rugby ball. He is most famous for his drop goal which won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 against Australia in the last minute of extra time - a moment of intense pressure in which he maintained his composure. As well as a record holding point scorer. He is a known Buddhist and says he 'actively seeks to live consciously rather than reactively, and to embrace all the positive aspects of humanity such as acceptance, compassion and a true connection with others’.

Ian Thorpe, the swimmer, won five Olympic gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, way the most successful athlete. At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.[2] In total, Thorpe has won eleven World Championship golds, the third-highest number of any swimmer.[3] Thorpe was the first person to have been named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year four times, and was the Australian Swimmer of the Year from 1999 to 2003. He’s a pretty successful individual. During one race Thorpe’s goggles began to leak - a disaster surely? But Thorpe managed to win the race even with this setback. By focusing on the visualisation he had done every night of his life since he could remember, about every second of the race. He focused all his attention on the visualisation, so much so that he knew at what point his hand would touch the wall of the pool indicating his victory. If he hadn’t put all that time and effort into visualisation he wouldn’t have been able to complete the race in a race mentality, he most certainly wouldn’t have won.

Visualisation is powerful.

Sally Gunnell, a British hurdler, won the 1992 Olympic Gold medal in the 400m hurdles. Afterwards Sally explained that winning gold was 70% mental. After failing to win at the 1991 world championships she had started practicing visualisation. She did it every day, imagining sprinting, hurdling, and even having the strength to hang on in the home straight.

Through visualising like this, her brain would have undergone changes that improved her muscles, giving her body the capacity to do what she had been imagining. It’s been proved in scientific experiments that this is the case. The brain does undergo changes that improve muscles and enable superior performance.

You can apply the exact same technique in your own life to improve your ability in sports, and even in rehabilitation after illness or injury should you need to. Several studies on stroke patients, for instance, have shown that visualisation speeds up recovery.

Even if you imagine eating, the brain thinks you are eating and there is evidence to suggest that it turns on the ‘I’m full’ signals afterwards. In a simple experiment, scientists showed that if a person imagined eating, if they imagined the entire chewing and swallowing sensations as clearly as they could, they had less appetite for more food afterwards, just as the same would be true if you had actually eaten. This has obvious implications for weight loss strategies.

You can even use visualisation to give you extra confidence. You can imagine yourself in a situation where you would usually be lacking but see yourself acting with confidence, conveying the body language of confidence. Whatever you apply visualisation to, you have more of an ability to shape your brain circuits and the physiology and health of your body than most people think.

So, when this video ends in just a few moments I want you to write one thing down that you could improve through visualisation and then I want you to spend time each and every day moving forwards over the next month visualising your success at this thing, whether it’s to do with sports prowess, or making a sale, or playing the piano, stick at it for 30 days and see what difference it makes to you. You need to imagine as much detail as you can throughout the whole process, second by second if you can, each movement, each word, each facial expression. Take it seriously, like the athletes here did, or the people in the scientific studies. See if you can make it work.

Wellbeing at Work

In this video we’re going to examine our wellbeing at work and what we can do to influence it positively. By the end of this video you will know what impacts your wellbeing at work? You’ll be able to create strategies to protect your wellbeing at work and you’ll feel comfortable talking to others about your own and their well-being in the workplace.

Before we start thinking about what impacts our wellbeing at work, let’s first think about what that means. When we talk about wellbeing what are we meaning? Well, we’re meaning how you feel about ‘coming in’ to, or starting, work, whether that’s in an office or workplace or whether that’s starting work from wherever you may be in your home. We’re talking about the effect that has on your night’s sleep, how happy you are while working, when working on your own, when in meetings and when working in collaboration with others, when talking to your boss, to your team and to your colleagues. We’re talking about whether you feel under pressure and whether you are equipped and supported to deal with the pressure, or whether you feel stressed and ill-equipped to deal with the stresses of your job, in terms of its content, or how you have to perform your work. The new way many of us are working from home now has placed different stresses on us and for some those have been easier to deal with than others.

So, What impacts your wellbeing at work? Take a moment, pause the video and write down all the factors that are impacting your well-being at work both positively and negatively.

Factors you might have written down are:

Personal ones such as:

Work factors that influence our wellbeing can be things like:

There are many factors that can influence our wellbeing and I’m sure you have many more written down.

Either way there are factors that we can control and factors that we can’t. Stephen Covey talks about the spheres on influence and concern. The sphere of influence lies within the sphere of concern. So we are concerned about many things - Brexit, the weather perhaps, Covid, but we might not be able to influence them. So we need to employ strategies that allow us to move on from worrying about them, or letting them get in the way. If a factor lies within the sphere of influence then we can and should do something about it.

If we work in a dark place and it’s making us unhappy we should find a way to get more light in - a SAD light box perhaps, or we should move and work in another place. If we have a problem with our boss or our team we should make all efforts to resolve those issues. Usually when I hear from people that they have an issue with their boss and I ask them what they have done about it their reply is ‘nothing, really, what do you mean?’ Most personality clashes are a result of a lack of understanding. If you take more time to get to know the person, and you deepen your relationship, then the clash generally goes away. We demonise people and forget that they’re a living breathing person with hopes and dreams and a sense of humour and worries and concerns and family and pets, who like comedy and eating cake. We make up a story in our heads that doesn’t allow for all these nice things to be witnessed, in short we reinforce what’s going on in our head rather than confronting it and working to enlighten ourselves. So now, what I want you to is sort your factors into columns or spheres according to whether you can influence them or not.

When you have separated them then you need to address each one and provide a strategy to deal with them alongside them. So we have already spoken about a strategy to deal with a problem work colleague where the issue is personality. If the issue is that they place unreasonable pressure on you then you need to have what we call the Expectations Conversation with them and be honest about your capacity and how, what they’re doing, affects you. Watch the video ‘Expectations Conversation’ and then have this with whoever is causing you difficulty. It can apply to personal situations too though you might just have to alter the wording a bit.

Learning that you can say NO and how to say it without offending people is a vital life skill. Watch the ‘how to say no video and start putting it into practise straight away. If you say yes to everything you will soon end up exhausted and resentful and doing a poorer job, whether at home or work, because of it.

In fact the Expectations Conversation is the way to solve many of the issues to do with a lack of satisfaction in the workplace and at home. Generally we feel unhappy if we’re not understood or listened to. Having an open and honest conversation within the framework of these questions creates boundaries and guidance that is helpful for everyone. The brain likes to know what the rules are, what we should and shouldn’t be doing, the Expectations Conversation does just that.

If the systems or tech is an issue then it’s probably a large issue. Can you schedule a conversation with the person in charge of tech? If not, because the organisation is too large, then you need to make your concerns known, in a professional manner of course. No one can do anything about factors they don’t know about. If you can’t access them personally then you need to contact them in some way and ask for help and guidance. Asking for their help using the system, rather than criticising it, is a better approach and could mean you learn that the way you are using it is causing some of the issues rather than it just being a rubbish system.

If your tiredness is an issue then take responsibility for it and prioritise sleep. Research says that you should be getting an 8 hour sleep opportunity most nights. If you’re not, then you are sleep deprived after only 5 days of an hour or so less than the 8 hour sleep opportunity. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to be falling asleep on the job necessarily but it does mean you are more likely to interpret people around you negatively, you are more likely to suffer from stress, you are more likely to have a great attack or a stroke, or suffer from dementia later in life. Sleep is a very valuable way to spend 8 hours, it’s not a waste of time. It comes under the adage ‘slow is fast’ - sometime the best thing you can do for your effectiveness is stop and sleep. If for some reason sleep is out of your control, you have a young baby perhaps or a painful shoulder that wakes you up then you have to do what you can to protect the sleep you get and to do things during the day that promote wakefulness, like get some fresh air, throughout the day, not just once, you don’t have to go on a walk, you can just step outside, or breathe through an open window for a minute or so.

Eat healthy food not white carb laden food on a lunchtime. If you eat heavy carbs on a lunchtime your body takes blood from your brain to your digestive organs. Most accidents on the motorway happen in the hour or so after someone has eaten because the body has concerns other than driving. So take responsibility and do things to help you rather than hold you back or make the situation worse.

Motivation is also something you can influence, whether it’s that of yourself or those around you. Watch the Motivating Others masterclass for tips on this.

The really important message here is that for things you can influence you need to take ownership. Don’t sit around moaning about the situation, get on and do something about it. It’s no one else’s job to increase your resilience, and in fact no one else can do it for you. So identify what the factors at play are that influence your wellbeing at work negatively and develop strategies to deal with them. This might require extra work, but it’s worth it. Also, identify the factors that affect your wellbeing positively and do more of them. If going for a walk makes you feel better and more energised, make sure you do it every day and that you don’t just let it slide when things get busy. If going to bed at 10pm means you get up at 6am feeling refreshed and can do a good happy days work then make sure you do that, and don’t say yes to another episode of whatever is gripping you on the tv. Watch the other videos I have recommended for the specific skill areas and do the actions and activities we suggest. We can’t do it for you. If someone else you know is doing something well ask them how they manage it - asking people is a short cut. Don’t make mistakes if there’s someone around who can give you a great bit of advice. So now what you need to do is answer the following questions:

Then make sure you keep up with these new guidelines for maximum resilience. Remember no one else can do it for you. Anyone who is resilient out there is employing strategies to remain resilient. So don’t think that it’s harder for you. It isn’t, they might just put more effort in. Sit back and visualise your new high-resilience life, and then do what needs to be done to get yourself there. If you need help and advice you know where we are.

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