What is Resilience?

What is Resilience?

Recently, I have been talking a lot about resilience. And, yes this often misunderstood concept is something close to my heart. In fact, I wrote an article on it back in 2006 on it and republished some of it here. However, today I am just going to share some knowledge about the concept, so let’s get started…


What is Resilience?

Resilience has been a concept that continues to grow and evolve over the years. Within the dictionary, some definitions of resilience include –

  • “ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or thelike; buoyancy.” ~ Dictionary.com
  • “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.” ~ PsychCentral

Within the research, resilience continues to prove popular and some of the research indicates –

  • (Resilience is) the universal capacity which allows a person, group or community to prevent, minimise or overcome damaging effects of adversity” ~ Grotberg, 1995, p.6,
  • “…personal resilience strengths are the individual characteristics associated with healthy development and life success” ~ Benard, 2004p.13,
  • “Resilience refers to the process of overcoming the negative effects of risk exposure, coping successfully with traumatic experiences, and avoiding the negative trajectories associated with risks” ~ Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005, p.399, and 
  • “the capacity of individuals to navigate their physical and social ecologies to provide resources, as well as their access to families and communities who can culturally navigate for them” ~ Ungar, Brown, Liebenberg, Cheung, & Levine, 2008, p.168.


Bonnie Bernard’s Personal Resilience Strengths 

In the above definition by Bonnie Bernard, she refers to personal resilience strengths. It is important to note that these personal strengths do not cause resilience, but are the positive developmental outcomes that demonstrate that these innate individual characteristics are engaged (Benard, 2004). The four categories of personal resilience strengths are:

  1. social competence (communication skills; being responsive to others; having empathy and caring for others; forgiveness and compassion);
  2. problem-solving (planning; flexibility; help-seeking; critical and creative thinking);
  3. autonomy (a secure sense of identity; self-worth; initiative; ability to cope; sense of humour); and
  4. sense of purpose (hope for future; personal goals and values; sense of faith; connectedness with others) – (Benard, 2004).

To develop these innate personal strengths and produce good developmental outcomes, young people need to be in a nurturing environment. Some of the environments the young people are involved in include schools, families, and communities (including sporting clubs). A nurturing environment is one where the young person experiences caring relationships, high but achievable expectations, and authentic opportunities to participate and contribute (Benard, 2004).


So What? 

Recognising that we each have an innate ability to transform the challenges of life is a gift. However, the thing is like most things in life, it takes work, practise and action. However, you are worth the effort.


Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to resilience. Do you think developing and enhancing resilience would be useful in young people and also adults? If you have any questions, please feel free to write them below. 

Also, if you liked this article and want to keep learning about resilience and how we can continue to foster resilience in our whole livesplease feel free to join the Life Beyond Elite Sport community by clicking here.


References –

Benard, B. (2004). Resiliency – What Have We Learned. San Francisco, CA: WestEd.

Fergus, S., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2005). Adolescent resilience: A framework for understanding healthy development in the face of risk. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 399-419.

Grotberg, E. (1995). A Guide to Promoting Resilience in Children: Strengthening the Human Spirit. Early Childhood Development: Practice and Reflections. Den Haag, Netherlands: Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Ungar, M., Brown, M., Liebenberg, L., Cheung, M., & Levine, K. (2008). Distinguishing differences in pathways to resilience among Canadian youth. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 27(1), 1-13.

Do You Have a Power Word for the Year?

Do You Have a Power Word for the Year?

As we move towards the end of the year, I wonder how you are going with vision for next year?

Is your vision becoming clearer or do you feel stuck?

If you feel stuck, you might like to try discovering your power word!


What is a Power Word?

A power word is a word relates to the theme of your year or current focus in your life. The word resonates with your being and reminds you that you have the power to change! When you have found it, the power word helps you to feel expanded, inspired and empowered.


What are Examples of Power Words?

Some examples of power words are –

  • love
  • creativity
  • joy
  • abundance
  • family
  • happy
  • gratitude
  • relax
  • breathe
  • energetic

For 2014, my word was responsibility. It may not resonate with you, but that is OK, that is why you need to find your power word! In 2015, my power word was courage, 2016 it was connection, 2017 back to responsibility, 2018 was healing, 2019 empowerment and 2020 & 2021 acceptance 🙂

How Do You Find Your Power Word?

Your power word arrives to you easily, you don’t have to think too much about it. You will know when you have your word as it will sit well with you, inspire you and resonate with your energy. Also, when you say the word to yourself, it can remind you about your dreams, goals and intentions for the year or focus for the present time in your life  so it can keep you on track!


I Have My Power Word, What Now?

Now you have your power word, you can use it! How? There are a number of ways and you could start with the following questions –

  1. If you lived and breathed your power word for the next 3, 6  or 12 months, what would be different for you?
  2. What activities, relationships, routines, habits, emotions or thoughts don’t currently resonate with my power word? Do you want to integrate any of these in to my life? If so, what ones?
  3. Identify the activities, relationships, routines, habits, emotions or thoughts you are currently doing that resonate with your power word. Do you want to tweak any of these in your life life? If so, what ones?
  4. How can you transform the areas of your life that currently do not currently resonate with your power word? Where will you start?
  5. How can you BE more by using your power word in your personal and professional life? For example – I can be more courageous (i.e. your power word) in my professional life by knowing my boundaries.


Over to You…

Congratulations if you have made it this far, you have identified your power word and ways you can use it in your personal and professional life! You may even like to put it as a screensaver on your phone to keep reminding yourself of it.

If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them below. And remember…

“Words are powerful. The words you use and think of, may have impact on your life. May you enrich your life with positive thoughts.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

Change can be challenging (or maybe it is just me?). One thing I am doing more and more over time is measuring and tracking the changes I am making in my personal life, not just in my business / career. Subsequently, today I wanted to share –

  • What is Measuring and Tracking?
  • Why Measure and Track within Your Career and Life?
  • What Can You Measure and Track in Your Career and Life?
  • Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

Let’s get started…


What is Measuring and Tracking?

Before I go in to more details about measuring and tracking, I am going to discuss what it actually is. If you choose to, you can measure and track data and information within your career and life. There is some crossover here in relation to definitions, so I have included both, so you can decide for yourself –

  • Data – “a fact given or granted” and “transmittable and storable information by which computer operations are performed” ~ Etymonline
  • Information – “act of informing, communication of news” and “knowledge communicated concerning a particular topic” ~ Etymonline
  • Data – “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Information – “knowledge that you get about someone or somethingfacts or details about a subject” ~ Merriam-Webster
  • Data – “information, especially facts or numbers, collected to be examined and considered and used to help decision-making, or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a computer” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • Information – “facts about a situation, person, event, etc” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • Data – Facts that can be analyzed or used in an effort to gain knowledge or make decisions” ~ Free Dictionary
  • Information – Knowledge or facts learned, especially about a certain subject or event” ~ Free Dictionary

Do you have other definitions or insights in relation to the meanings data and information? If so, feel free to share them below!

Why Measure and Track within Your Career and Life?

Yes this may be obvious, however for clarity I am going to say it. If we do not measure and track information and data in relation to our feelings, actions and behaviours, how do we know if we are on the right path or master life?

“People without information cannot act. People with information, cannot help but act.” ~ Ken Blanchard. 

Measuring and tracking helps to –

  • make better decisions and take action,
  • guide changes and continuous improvement,
  • promote accountability and take responsibility for choices and decisions,
  • measure success and effectiveness (what ever that means for us),
  • look at current processes and systems meet your needs and make adjustments if required,
  • understand the causes of challenges within your career and/or life (if you have them),
  • know how well changes are going in relation to your plans, and
  • identify gaps between the results you are getting and where you want to and/or who you want to be.

As Victoria Bernhardt (2004) indicated –

“It takes strong leadership to inspire a shared vision and to ensure its implementation. It also takes a strong leader to ensure the analysis and use of data.” (p.5).

Even though the above statement is written in relation to schools, I see that it also relates to the individuals that work within schools and the greater community as well as in our wholistic lives.


What Can You Measure and Track in Your Career and Life?

There are many things you can measure in your career and life, however like most things it goes back to the intention or why behind tracking. Why do you want to track? Once you know the why, you can then decide the what you are going to track and then the how. You can measure and track –

  • Systems and processes (i.e. for tax preparation, planning processes) ,
  • Progression towards developing a habit (i.e. aiming for 8 hours of sleep per night, moving your body 5 times per week, stopping to check-in with how you are feeling before you reach for that extra piece of chocolate cake),
  • Results you are experiencing (i.e. running that half marathon or how long it take to find an important document),
  • Changes in beliefs and perceptions (i.e. how you are currently feeling about your life and how much control you feel you have of it),
  • Demographics (i.e. age, gender),
  • (Un)Learning and / or wisdom you are living (i.e. doing the things you know support your overall focus and wholistic life).


Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

Do you see the benefits of measuring and tracking for your life? If so, let’s get to the fun part and share some ways to measure and track. Following are how some of my clients are measuring and tracking within their career and life, including –

  • Money – for example: tracking income and expenses, looking at credit card statements to see how much they eat out.
  • Health – for example: tracking the number of hours of sleep they have, the food they eat or the number of steps taken across the week.
  • Time – for example: their calendar shows where they invest their time and energy each week and/or month.
  • Feelings / emotions – for example: using a feelings / emotions tracker to identify different patterns that are occurring so they can start to untangle from them if they choose to.

Until it is a habit, tracking and measuring can be challenging. However, I have found doing it really useful for feedback. One thing I encourage though is to be really clear about why you are tracking (i.e the purpose and meaning), not just track for the sake of it. This relates back to Goodhart’s Law

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure” (Strathern, 1997). 

And this is where we can bring it back to the SMART acronym. The SMART acronym for goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based). As you can see the M is measurable.

Over to You…

Do you see the benefits of measuring and tracking for your life? If so, what is one way you can start today? Feel free to share your insights or questions below. Personally I will continue to measure and track as it really helps me see how my whole life ebbs and flows –

“A system is not the sum of its parts, but rather, the product of the interaction of the parts.” ~ Russell Ackoff

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


References –

Bernhardt, V. L., (2004). Continuous improvement: It takes more than test scores. ACSA Leadership. November/December 2004, 16-19.

Strathern, Marilyn (1997). Improving ratings’: audit in the British University system”European Review. John Wiley & Sons. 5 (3): 305–321. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1234-981X(199707)5:3<305::AID-EURO184>3.0.CO;2-4.

Poem – She Let Go

Poem – She Let Go

During the past few years, I have been realising that life is a lot about (un)learning and giving up or untangling from what no longer serves us. Subsequently, today I wanted to share with you this poem. Hope you enjoy the “Poem – She Let Go” by Reverend Safire Rose.


She Let Go…

Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

~ Reverend Safire Rose


Over to You…

What did you enjoy about the Poem – She Let Go? Did it remind you about something in your life? What does it mean to you? Time to reconnect with your courage?

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