Life coaching Top Tips
Building Resilience

When Jo suggested I write about resilience for this month, I immediately thought of Viktor Frankl. I’ve included 2 of his famous quotes below.


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”


"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."


Viktor Frankl was a neurologist and psychologist. In his best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning, he illustrates his time as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.


When something difficult or traumatic happens in our life that results in change, we will usually need the space Viktor mentions in which to process the event. Once we’ve allowed ourselves that space to sit with what's happened then we can begin to consider how we will heal from it and thus how we will move forward. 


We might of course choose to resist healing or moving forward. We might instead choose to allow the event or situation to engulf us for many months or years. This is rarely the best choice. The optimum choice will usually be to recognise that there must come a time to regroup and decide which way we want to go next. Often that decision is as simple as finding the answer to the question ‘Do I want to be happy or do I want to continue to be sad?' And if we choose happiness then we have to carry on, to exercise that resilience, to resolve to be strong and courageous.


In certain situations we might view this moving forward as a recovery. The recovery in this context is about recognising that there are many stages and possibilities rather than a single fixed end point. Going easy on ourselves is vital here: we must try not to escalate our fear levels. It’s important to avoid looking too deeply into or trying to control the abyss of the unknown. Instead, let’s take one day or week at a time.


We are all so very powerful, often much more so than we recognise, and we really do have the opportunity to make these choices. And if it seems too challenging to do this on our own, then speaking with someone can help to organise our thoughts: opening up to someone such as a colleague, family member, friend, partner, mentor, therapist, counsellor or a coach can be the most wonderful salve. Together, we are even stronger.