How resilient we are is partly affected by our personality. But not entirely. The good news is that while our personality may be relatively fixed, much of resilience can be learned.
One of the most useful models of resilience that is accessible and helpful is one developed by Robertson Cooper. It comprises four parts: confidence, social support, purposefulness and adaptability. In my time spent facilitating personal resilience workshops over the past few years, when it comes to choosing which aspect of resilience learners want to work on, confidence is the one chosen the most.
Frequency of experiencing positive and negative emotions is also important.
There is no single truth for everyone. So how confidence, or lack of it, affects one person is different for another. We are all able to learn to increase personal confidence through a combination of personal effort, asking for support, developing ourselves and working on our thinking patterns.
Confidence also involves
- Being able to start things feeling that you will do reasonably well
- You feel that whatever happens, you'll be ok
- Being able to have a go even if you're not sure of the outcome
- You believe you are capable
Ideas for increasing confidence
People sometimes say that once they are confident they'll feel more able to do their work, be more skilled or competent. Wrong way round! Learning to be more skilled and capable at things increases confidence. So here are some ideas to think about:
- Identify your confidence peaks and troughs by writing them down. Who helps and hinders? As no one 'starts at zero', what can you use to have a boost now and what do you need to build more of? Be specific.
- What aspects of confidence will be solved by skills development and what aspects will be solved through personal effort?
- Use another aspect of resilience - asking for support. Being resilient is not trying to do things on your own.
- List your successes and achievements and remind yourself of these as evidence of what you have done well.
- If your resilience takes a hit, step back and decide if it really matters in the bigger picture or not. If it really does, then set a goal and decide the first step to take to overcome this.
- Recall a time when you coped really well. What were you thinking and what did you do? Repeat.
- Learn how to re-frame.
- Name people, alive or dead, whom you regard as resilient. Identify their habits, qualities and skills that makes/made them resilient. This can help you begin to model resilience for yourself.