I recently attended an international conference in Johannesburg and between the formal sessions had conversations with a number of people who are working long-term in remote locations.  While committed to the work they are doing, comments and inference expose a deep need for encouragement and support; a need for strategies to remain resilient.

Shortly I will visit a team of workers in a specific Asian country, with the key session I’ve been asked to deliver being that very topic – Resilience.

So what is resilience?  Put simply – The ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.

Of course it will depend on what the stressors or demands are in your life that will determine what you need to do to withstand, recover and/or grow.  Typically, these stressors or demands and their impact can be found in the following:

  • Lack of preparation/skills or knowledge deficiency
  • Failure to identify risks/potential risks
  • Self doubt
  • Lack of self awareness
  • Lack of positive relationships
  • Failure to learn and move forward
  • Focusing on the wrong things
  • Failure to resolve problems
  • Boredom
  • Severe culture shock
  • Distress and burnout
  • Severe anxiety/depression

So what do you do?  How do you withstand, recover and/or grow?

Some key ideas:

  • Understand your context (culture, language, differences)
  • Stay flexible (closed mind v open mind)
  • Learn from mistakes (hold things lightly)
  • Resolve issues (don’t let things fester, problem solve, seek help)
  • Build positive relationships (God, self, family, team, community, be authentic)
  • Express yourself (enjoy yourself, be creative, express emotions)
  • Cultivate generosity (give, be and express thankfulness, a daily practice)
  • Release tension (exercise, meditate, write, draw, listen to music, walk, talk, pray)
  • Have a sense of purpose (your call, optimism, enjoy what you do, goals, find your flow)
  • Learn/know/grow your strengths (gifts, talents, abilities, growth mindset)
  • Learn healthy habits (exercise, diet, rest, sleep, journal, prayer)

Resilience is not static; you can learn it but it also needs to be practised.  Jesus demonstrated a number of these strategies.  Which will you decide to use?