It’s time to dig deep, again. With a long and ugly recession predicted for 2023, employers and employees are going to have to tap into new wells of strength to survive and thrive. In many cases, that strength is depleted from the chaos and uncertainty of the last three years. So, now’s the time to shore up our internal defences and come together as teammates to weather this latest storm. But how?
And, as people tasked with communicating to people, how can we make sure we take some time to take care of our own teams, and ourselves, among the comms chaos?
"Resilience has become something of a dirty word in communications circles, often confused as a badge of honour for ‘riding things out’ when the going gets tough. I view resilience differently, and see it as an important life skill which you can learn and benefit from. As a mum of two children, I see first-hand how crucial learning to be resilient is for them, but also to myself and to the team I lead.
In his brilliant book, ‘Time to Breathe’ (which I highly recommend), Dr. Bill Mitchell talks about the ‘drift’. You’ll recall the ‘drift’ from the times you’ve skipped a yoga class to finish some work, or logged on after the children go to bed to check your emails, and slowly but surely the routines that sustain you through challenging times become off kilter, and affect other parts of your life. Before you know it, you’re sleeping less, eating sugary snacks to get you through the day and failing to spend quality time with your loved ones. Work takes over and life feels unbalanced.
Building resilience is not however about perfectionism, and having holier-than-though strict routines (no Tik Tok morning routines here please!). Rather, it’s about recognising the times when work or other commitments are about to get busier and giving yourself permission to make time for the routines that sustain you, whatever life throws in the way. So, you don’t miss that yoga class that leaves you feeling like you’re walking on air because to do so will affect the quality of your mood, the relationships that matter to you and your work.
Mindset is also an important part of building resilience. Think about a typical scenario in a communications professional’s working life. You’ve got your annual communications strategy nailed and boom!, a new transformation initiative is announced and your strategy takes a back seat. If you accept this change is part of the agile nature of business today, and adopt a challenge mindset you’ll be thinking ‘What does this change mean? What can I learn from it? How can I support colleagues in my organisation to make sense of it?’ and most importantly, as mentioned earlier, ‘How can I ensure during this busy period that my routines, the ones that make me feel great, don’t drift?’. Compare this then to a mindset of threat. This mindset thinks ‘I can’t cope. This change is hard for me and I’m going to have to work around the clock to lead this change’. The two mindsets are very different, and the former will help you to be kinder to yourself, and to cope with the change more successfully. I’d also wager you’ll also build a better communications strategy for the organisation you work in as a result too.
Resilience takes work, and I will be honest here and say that I am still learning it as a skill. However, I know that making time for the things that sustain me helps me to be more creative, be a better problem solver and show up more as a leader so that my team at work (and my other team outside work – my family) can thrive."