More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails – this is true in a hospital ward, it is true in the Olympics, it is true in the boardroom and it is true in life.

What is resilience? It is an engineering term used to measure the flexibility of steel when compressed under massive weights. I use it to describe a human being’s ability to bounce back – the ability to recover when you are knocked down…

Many people encounter hardships – some snap – others snap back. What makes the difference? Why do some people collapse in a heap and others turn every challenge into an opportunity? My opinion is that it is all about attitude – the Oxford dictionary defines attitude as a way of thinking or behaving – what are your thoughts and how do you behave? I have a very simple philosophy:

Beliefs determine behaviour and behaviour determines outcomes.  You see, in the workplace, you are guaranteed of stress and chaos…its a given…everything around you will change and it will be problematic, but if you have a central core of unchanging beliefs, you have something constant to measure everything against. The central core cannot change and cannot be shaken by new policies and procedures and pressures. Now, your beliefs automatically determine your behaviour. Naturally, your behaviour is going to determine your results or outcomes. Attitude (the behaviour) determines altitude and not only aptitude…think about it – a positive attitude goes a long way and trust me, that is all you need to succeed – you need to be positive and you need to be resilient. Life is hard – make no mistake – plans we make don’t work out – that’s the reality of life – life is a constant learning experience and the search for meaning is never complete – there are no simple answers, but you can be positive and you can bounce back. 

Perhaps the greatest lesson I have ever learnt is that everything depends on YOU – nobody else – but YOU! You have the choice to be happy in any situation and don’t you dare allow anyone or anything to take away your joy – it is YOURS – they can take your possessions, they can take your family and unfortunately they can even take your health, but they CANNOT take your joy and the CANNOT take your dignity – unless you allow them to…

So, what are the tools for resilience? My advice to you when you are in a crisis is the following: all of these words start with the letter “P” just like my real name – Photinee – so Photinee’s 15 P words to build on to become resilient:

  1. Preparation
  2. Partnership
  3. Patience
  4. Performance
  5. Perseverance
  6. Persistence
  7. Passion
  8. Positive
  9. Progressive
  10. Practical
  11. Planning
  12. Pleasing
  13. Purposefulness
  14. People focused
  15. Prayer

Allow me to explain….

1. Preparation:    be positive when you wake up – actually say to yourself “I will get through today…”

  • prepare yourself by looking your best – ladies: paint your nails, put on      make up, go to the hair dresser – dress well….
  • eat properly – fuel your body – when you are stressed your body needs extra nutrients
  • stay fit – exercise is a great stress reliever
  • look after yourself the way you would look after a young child

2. Partnership: you can’t do this alone – you need someone to share each experience with you – whether it be a spouse, a child a sibling a friend or a priest. Mentors and coaches are vital in the workplace. Find someone or more than one person who will listen to you – you need a support system.

3. Patience: this is the difficult one, but you have to learn that things take time. It is not going to happen overnight. Learn to be patient

4. Performance: whether you are a director of a company or whether you are preparing a meal, do it with pride and do your best. Be busy all the time, ensuring that your whole day is full of constructive things to do.

5. Perseverance and

6. Persistence these two go together….you HAVE to keep going – perseverance and persistence always pay off – always.

7. Passion &

8. Positive approach: Allow yourself to feel deeply – don’t be scared to say how you feel, to show your emotions – don’t hide you love for others – tell them you love them…..tell them you are angry or you are hurting… passionate about everything. Only when you express authentic emotion can you emerge positive. Hiding feelings and passions results in resentful and consequently negative behaviour – this will impact significantly on your work and on your relationships….be cautious…..stay positive and passionate no matter what.

9. Progressive – your thinking must be progressive – get out of that rut - move on, look up and be….

10. Practical – please be realistic at all times – I encourage people to think BIG, but always balance your dreams with sensible, functional solutions.

11. Planning – without a well thought out plan, you cannot deal with any situation or crisis – assess the situation logically – stop griping and make a plan to rectify the situation and progress as I mentioned in point number 8

12. Pleasing – your disposition should be pleasing at all times – there is scientific proof that the muscles used in the act of smiling transmit  messages to the brain to release serotonin – the “feel good” hormone – it definitely encourages everyone around you and they feel good to see you smile too! Happiness is contagious.

13. Purposefulness: Make a difference – no matter how significant – as long as you have no regrets and you can look back when you are 90 years old and say, “ THAT was my purpose” You must have a goal – whatever it is –

14. People focused: this is directly linked to the previous point of purposefulness: do you know how happy you can make someone if you just phone them? Or if you just visit someone who is ill or bedridden? Or just by giving away a book or a toy? Think of others less fortunate than yourself and remember that it can always be worse. Count your Blessings.

15. Prayer:  Go to your knees then you can stand up to anything. For me, this is the Alpha and Omega and the very reason I survive every cross I have to bear.

So, there will always be obstacles along the way, that’s life, but if you know where you are going that makes all the difference. Determine what your goals and objectives are and focus on them. And just like a game of chess, sometimes you need to move sideways, and sometimes you even move backwards, but in the end, you do win – you win if you focus on your goal and you stay resilient.