July 1st, 2007


Resilience - A shaft of light in a busy week

On Friday I attended a wonderful lunchtime learning session on Resilience, a positive self management approach to dealing with our professional lives. The dreaded 5 letter word beginning with S was conspicously absent.

This positive approach really worked for me - a focus on the skills and tools that we already have and already know about - discussed and debated in a supportive community! And an emphasis on the things we do that already work.

The training was offered by Jallé and Joined-up-Living, the companies run by my friends and PWG colleagues Jill and Sandra. It was no surprise to me then that it was such a successful and empowering learning event. The 3 hour session was an oasis at the end of a very busy week.

What I learnt
* Helen "Should" Palmer - Should is my middle name. Stop this!
* My current resilience approach depends on my innate stubborness - I keep going despite everything and don't like asking for help or listening when people do try and warn me / help me
* I didn't realise that the following signs were actually my "lack of resilience" warning signs
- Forgetting things and losing things
- Tiredness even when I wake up
- Less interest in writing / being reflective
- Feeling overwhelmed and all problems being of equal weight
- Less willingness to engage with others, ie withdrawal, not wanting to answer phone calls even from family / friends
* I found it comforting that the above signs are "normal" - ie just a neutral sign that I'm becoming less resilient. I don't need to beat myself up, just recognise the signs and start gently taking some steps to boost my resilience
* I liked Sandra's analogy that resilience is similar to the immune system. Ie innate immunity / aquired immunity / prevention and support
* I love the idea that resilisience is a blend of negotiation and navigation
"Resilience as multi-dimensional phenomenon: the ability to keep ourselves health by successfully negotiation with our environments and navigation towards available health resources"
* Resilience is not an individual trait - it is multi dimensional and depends also on our integration in various communities - work, family, organisations etc
* I can learn from other people
* The more we know about resilience, the less we have to say about burnout
* Adopt a positive, active approach (rather than a reactive, negative one)

Action Plan
* Resilience is about self management. I can change the way I do things
* To improve my resilience I need to create some distance for myself, give myself a Pufferzone, particularly in terms of my time management - this means that I will stop myself always being "nearly late" and therefore feeling stressed
* I need to slow conciously slow down. I notice that I walk fast all the time
* Stop worrying about the little things. For example I forgot to take business cards to the training, but actually in the end this didn't matter
* I will start planning my week so that I positively get a balance between my various environments ie physical / interpersonal / structural / contextual / spiritual
* Start a virtual or real "How other people think I should live my life" notebook - ie records other people's views, but then close the book and file it away.
* "The One Minute Master" Martin Boroson
* Books about narrative therapy - ask Sandra


Countdown to Poland

I go to Poland for 2 weeks next Saturday, which gives me 5 working days to finish everything. It's alright though - I am well organised and planned - and the team is flexible and professional enough to cope with the inevitable last minute challenges. The adrenalin I am feeling is normal. The two weeks will be hard, but will be a change for my normal work, and therefore will count as a "break" from routine!

* Grow my relationships with the Poland team
* Enjoy Wroclaw and make sure that mr.ncot comes for the middle weekend
* Start my cross stitch projekt
* Take cultural books to read
* Use the gym each day
* Reflect personally and professional each day on the project and my role in it