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As Rocky says: ‘It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin’ forward’

In the 2006 film ‘Rocky Balboa’ there is a great scene where (now retired) boxing hero Rocky is talking to his son, who feels overshadowed by his famous father. He tells his son that the world isn’t sunshine and rainbows and that nothing will hit as hard as life. “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin’ forward.” The message of resilience is strong, but this is the stuff of Hollywood. For us mere mortals who have been locked down, possibly losing a job, or going through financial uncertainty, how do we keep movin’ forward?

Let’s not begin with the advice from the internet or the gurus. Instead, let’s start with what you’re already doing. Although some days you’d rather pull the duvet over your head and forget the world, you have developed a resilience. What three things do you do now to be resilient? To get back up when life has knocked you down with a telling-off from your boss or a cancelled order from your client? The three things I rely on are: My partner (a problem shared is a problem halved); the letters, drawings and ‘you can do it’ words of encouragement from family and friends on my office walls; and a folder full of all those phrases, quotes and images we see on LinkedIn and other social media. I leave that folder on my office chair and look at it before I start the day.

Our first step to building the resilience muscle is to recognise what we already do that works and do more of it. The second step is to return to the internet and the gurus for advice because we need to exercise our resilience muscle. But there is no point in demanding more of your muscles when you are already in a triathlon. It is the work before that is important. It’s the same story with our resilience muscle. It’s not when life has knocked us down that we start seeing how strong the muscle is – we need to build it, ready for those times. The way to do this is by having strategies in place that will help. There are the three above, and on top of that I challenge you to try one other thing this week that could become a fourth strategy for picking you up when you get knocked down. You probably know what they are. Phone your best friend, meditate, go for a walk, write, visit a parent, swim, go to the gym…

The question isn’t ‘how resilient are you?’ – the question is ‘how good is the plan you have to help you be resilient when you most need it?’.