Resilience is something many in the modern professional world aspire to. An office buzzword, sometimes thrown around with little understanding of the meaning.
I have heard this word positioned by many a leader as a skill to withstand prolonged periods of uncertainty, a way to hold fast in a storm, an idea you can carry on through what ever sh!t is thrown at you.
What’s interesting is that the definition of resilience is much more about flexibility and recovery than about not being affected by something.
Resilience is not about resisting impact, not about being able to withstand challenge. It is in fact about being impacted, about responding to pressure just in a way that allows you “bounce back”.
When I think about this idea of resilience and our mental health, it really challenges us to consider our path through life a little differently. It opens up the possibility that we will at times struggle and we can still indeed be resilient. In fact the struggle is needed to enable the rebound.
What might this mean for us? Should we be seeking out people who have struggled and been able to come back.
I was heart broken again this week to be speaking to a friend who is massively struggling with their mental health and they are nervous about taking time off work. They worry what that black mark on their record will mean. They are risking their mental health and happiness due to stigma.
Here’s what I say about my journey with mental health, resilience and any future bosses out there…
Struggling with mental health has allowed me to demonstrate a level of openness and honesty which has built trust with my team and inspired others to open up to their authentic selves. It has taught me numerous tools and techniques which allow me to pause, reflect and shape a path forward. It has made me more inclusive and opened my eyes to many other struggles the people I work with face every day. It has taught me about my beliefs and limiting behaviours. It has encouraged me to challenge myself to find happiness. And yes it was taught me resilience. All in all my mental health struggles have made me a better employee, parent and friend. So at least for me if you wish to see those appointments in my diary for therapy as a black mark feel free. I think they are a gold star!
I must say my employer and all the line managers I have ever had have been amazing. They fully support me in improving my mental health. I am very lucky to work with the teams I have. I just feel for those who are not as blessed.