NEF Workshop: Resilience


Friday 7th February 2014, London.

On Friday the NEF held a whole day workshop in the City of London, dedicated to the issue of Resilience. The purpose of the day was to help us identify and define what resilience is, how we as aspiring Entrepreneurs need it, and to start to understand and build up some skills and techniques for building and maintaining our resilience.

One particular definition of Resilience:

–          “You respond with flexibility and determination to life’s challenges and emerge from them stronger, wiser and more capable. Your self-belief remains intact whatever the outcome of your best efforts”.

So we discussed this definition and built upon it with our group thoughts and personal experiences. For me, resilience shows itself in many guises at different points in my life. Whether it be the mental resilience and the willpower I need to keep going when 4 hours into a 6 hour bike ride, or the emotional resilience I need when my ideas are met with critique and set backs and I need to lift myself back up and keep working on them.

Once you lose purpose and passion in an environment (be it your office work environment, or a personal relationship) it can quickly become a negative experience and an energy drain. However, if you then take stock of your situation and find a purpose and end vision for yourself in that work/environment; you can turn around that negative experience and move forward. This is what resilience is all about.

We went further though, to acknowledge that in some cases, there can be a fine line between resilience and overcooking it. You may feel like you’re being resilient ploughing on, burning the midnight oil and staying up all hours night on night to complete a piece of work – but that is bound to end in disaster. You have to be careful not to overcook your perseverance to the cause, and also be able to know when to take a step back and stop if continuing a cause just isn’t right. This can be looked at another way, or given a title even – “Sustainable Resilience”. Yes, you might be able to keep going and never want to give up in a high pressure situation, but ask yourself is your approach sustainable, or will it eventually see you burning out, tired, arguing with friends and family, and developing health issues for yourself?! This is entirely possible. Sustainable resilience is really important, for both your mental and physical health in the long term.

The concept of resilient energies was presented to us and we grouped examples of resilience into one of four categories:

–          Physical Energy (tied-into you rest, recuperation, exercise, diet etc.)

–          Mental Energy (all to do with attitudes, positivity, perspective etc.)

–          Emotional Energy (emotional awareness, empathy, self-expression)

–          Spirit Energy (your personal values, morals, vision etc.)

We each completed a questionnaire which probed the 4 resilient energies at work in our lives and it was interesting to see how maybe certain energies can be unknowingly neglected and become in need of attention. For example, questions around how much sleep you regularly get, what kinds of food you eat, how frequently you exercise – can all quickly build up a picture of your physical energy and highlight some things you might have forgotten about.