You’re More Than You Seem – Resilience Part 1

There really is more to you than meets the eye!

There’s no single remedy that will make you resilient, just like there is no single description of a person. Resilience is achieved through multiple strategies; how you identify yourself, the greatness inside, the spark inside, and the recovery room, to name a few.  In this Inspirations we shall explore the first two; how you identify yourself and the greatness inside.

How We Identify Ourselves

We tend to identify with one of the main life stages; our role, our family, or our community.

  • Role: Most people tend to identify themselves in terms of their role, men especially. In fact, many men tend to see the world through this lens. Often, within five minutes of meeting someone a man will ask, “So, what do you do?” and once answered that person will be perceived in terms of their role. For most men, that’s OK because that is how they perceive themselves anyway. Of course, there is a weakness to this approach. What happens to the person when they lose their job? For many, and this is not limited to men, it is cataclysmic because they not only lose their job but they also lose their identity.
  • Family: As the parent I do perceive myself in terms of the role I play in the family; breadwinner; father; and role model. After all, why do many of us do what we do,  if it is not to provide for the loved ones around us? In fact, recognising the problems with identifying with my role, I chose to identify myself in terms of my role in my family. While it enabled me to divorce myself from my role and be objective in professional situations, it was an incomplete identity because there was so much more to me than just my family role. Furthermore, a colleague challenged me on this perception of my identity with the simple question; “how will you identify yourself when the children leave home?” Moreover, with the high divorce rate how does one identify oneself when a relationship breaks down?
  • Community: Many people are active in the community; be it playing a sport; involvement with a sporting club; religious group; charity; or other community organisation. And while it may be possible to identify with your community involvement, is it the whole picture? Even though it might be something that you love, does it describe you appropriately? Is it you? While it might be an important part of your life, is there more to you?

The reality is we are made up of all these and more. We are complex creatures with complex lives, where elements and the focus will change through time, sometimes driven by us and sometimes by external factors. When discussing this aspect of resilience with clients a light comes on when they realise that they are more than any one particular person that can be observed. There are many parts to their lives and many parts to which they can identify. Through identifying themselves across multiple facets they discover that when there are challenges in one part of their life they can bounce back quickly because, although passionate in their endeavours, they can relate to themselves in terms of their broader interests and find fulfilment in other parts of their life.

To build resilience, consider identifying with all the roles you play in your life. The more roles with which you may identify the more resilient you will become.

There Is Greatness Inside Of You

“That person is waiting for someone to give them permission to be great!”

The big secret to unleashing the greatness inside is self-belief. I find that when faced with challenging situations the people who quickly rise above the situation have the greatest amount of self-belief. Yet many people are held back and let things get to them because they lack self-belief. This lack of self-belief can be astonishing when the person in question is highly capable at what they do.

Working with newly established firms I can recall many examples of such situations. Often, you begin to doubt yourself. You have done your best and yet it has not been good enough. Your abilities have been questioned and you begin to wonder if you have what it takes to be successful. In these situations it is easy to let your emotions get the better of you and to spiral into self-doubt. If you let this happen I guarantee you will fail. When clients are faced with this situation, I suggest they consider adopting an objective perspective. The reality is they are the best person to rise above the challenge. They are the person who was selected for the challenge. They had to beat others for that role. While it might not seem like it at this point in time their employer thought that they were the best person to achieve the objective, otherwise someone else would have the role. Provided you have done the planning and there are no flaws in your strategy / approach it will work in time. What is needed is persistence and self-belief. One needs to recognise that the success will come in time and that now is the time to be strong. Stand tall. Face the challenge in the knowledge there is greatness inside of you!


There is no single strategy for resilience, just like there is no single description of a person. But amongst the many resilience strategies, two stand out; how you identify yourself, and recognising there is greatness inside of you. When faced with a challenge recognise that you are the best placed person to achieve the objective, confirm your strategy is appropriate, and know that it will work in time provided you believe in yourself. You have greatness inside! When the challenge weighs upon your shoulders remember that it is business – it isn’t personal – be objective and take solace from the many other facets of your life and face your challenge. You will rise above because you are more than what you seem.