What is post covid? Does a world without it even exist? Or, despite vaccinations and scientists putting their best foot forward will we always be mindful of the risk of infection? Wary of shaking hands, close contact, and enclosed spaces? Like other word altering events, there will always be a before covid and after covid. Everyone will remember where they were when they were finally aware of the danger, and how it impacted them.
Some will go back to their old lives, being able seemingly to block out the pandemic and act as though it never happened. Others will feel this to be an impossible task and ask themselves how others can seem so resilient, and maybe even feel inadequate, or less adept at life in general. Both of these responses to recovering from the last years are correct. Our individual attitude and approach to life can either promote or diminish our ability to find resilience when dealing with difficult circumstances.
But that is not the end of the story.
Resilience can be found in unexpected (and expected) places – if only we knew where to look.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
On a more #HumanFirst level, the word resilience omits a ring of hope and optimism. It holds an openness to the possibilities of the future. And as humans, we are full of elasticity! Research has proven that after trauma our brain and bodies can eventually spring back into shape, but if this is the case, why does it seem to play so hard to get?
Firstly we must understand and acknowledge that we are all hard-wired to be wary of change. Our primal instincts tell us that change equals danger and therefore should be avoided in order to ensure our survival.
This natural reaction is the first part of the finding resilience equation.
This requires a shift in mindset:
- Identify when a reaction is being triggered
- Count to 20, distract yourself, whatever you need to give your brain time to catch up
- Respond in a reasonable manner
It sounds easy but even the most gifted of mindfulness practitioners sometimes lose it and react rather than respond. It happens to EVERYBODY so don’t beat yourself up over it, you are only human after all.
The next thing we need to do is understand our internal dialogue better. As human adults, we have devised a number of (limiting) beliefs that can affect our goals, our decision-making process, and even our approach to our future.
Listening to the stories we are telling ourselves every day, and because we believe our internal dialogue; even in the face of hard evidence, we can genuinely limit our capacity to fight, bounce back, and respond positively to situations.
This will probably sound like a very odd statement, but most adults don’t spend time with themselves. There is much reading out there about the importance of ‘self-care, and although some dismiss it, to listen and understand the internal dialogue we need to turn the outside noise OFF.
Spending time to understand ourselves requires a little bit of bravery, many of us haven’t taken a peek under the hood for some time, so make some and ask ourselves some questions. No point not being truthful with yourself, there’s no one else in the room!
- No, you aren’t too busy, too stressed, too distracted, or not in the right headspace.
- What is a problem or limitation that has held you back for a while?
- What is it you would like to do/have, except something is stopping you from getting it/doing it?
- What is it that is REALLY stopping you from getting what you want?
- This is a problem because?
- What must you believe that makes this problem even exist?
- When did you realise this was a problem?
- What does this problem mean to you?
- What will life be like when you don’t have this problem
Our tribes (family, work, friends) can have a huge effect on our ability to find resilience, and we should not underestimate the power they can hold over us.
Most of the time our tribes exert a positive influence through love, acceptance, and respect. But what if they also feed our limiting beliefs?
Throughout the pandemic, we have been separated physically from a lot of our lives. The chances are that however our tribes have reacted and dealt with that, has influenced our responses.
For example, if our organisation has adapted well to the new work economy, has supported its employees well, managed to retain its culture, provided a safe space and approach for us to come back to, and demonstrated resilience, the chances are this has rubbed off on us as individuals.
Likewise, if our family and friends have worked hard to stay connected, provided support (albeit virtual), engaged in new ways, and looked forward to the ‘re-opening, then the chances are we have reacted in a similar way.
We feed off the resilience of others. We feed off their negativity too.
Ever felt a room shift in mood when someone came into the space in a bad mood or having a rough day? We all have. Our tribes can have this effect on us too. And in some ways, the negative is amplified much more than the positive.
It’s time to look around at our tribes and understand if they feed our limiting beliefs or if they encourage us to step outside of our comfort zone. Look for conversations that go like “you can’t do that because…”, “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”, and “but you’re fine as you are” to determine whether your tribes feed your quest for growth and resilience gathering or not.
The PMO Perspective
Team resilience is hugely impacted by each individual (not surprisingly), but as a collective, there are additional elements to consider including the collective view of the future.
Our Wellingtone PMO Principles show us that PMO teams are integrators, a single source of truth, that enable capability, and organisational learning. To live each of these principles, PMO Teams must work well together. Anything else will simply end in failure.
As integrators PMO teams must be seen to collectively bring knowledge, process, people, and experience together. Without a good working relationship, the PMO cannot be credible as a centre of competence.
The rise of virtual connection has made the PMO role easier and harder in equal measures – even many Senior Leaders were not prepared or skilled at leading from afar. PMO teams have been thrust into a world of remote process development, monitoring, and coaching so for a team to demonstrate resilience and their ability to adapt is more important now than ever.
Building team resilience takes time and must include:
- Collaboration (inside and outside the team)
- Be pragmatic about your Minimum Viable Product
- Define the journey
- Consider how accessible you are as a team
- Get together – either remotely or face to face
- Have fun!
Resilience can be learned, even when it feels impossible. So, take some time to reflect on your own level of resilience. Have you found it already or are you still looking for it?
And if you have in fact found it in this uncertain world, maybe help someone else to find theirs.
Wellingtone is passionate about your PMO and PPM journey, you can use our DrPMO Clinic if you want to explore this topic further either for yourself as an individual or for your team Simply book a timeslot and speak to one of our specialists.