Originally published by Kathryn Perera – 26th February 2018
This week, the School for Change Agents focuses on ‘resilience’ and I’ll be sharing some blog posts which highlight different approaches to the topic…
I was at the dentist last week, when I opened the latest edition of Bazaar Magazine to find the wonderful Tor Garnett sharing an anecdote on ‘resilience’. Tor is an inspiring woman – a Detective Superintendent in the Met Police with a deep interest in designing innovative, ambitious solutions to public service challenges.
As part of a Bazaar speakers panel, Tor was asked about the importance of developing resistance. She shared this extraordinary story:
“I was on my second shift as a duty officer in east London when there was a hospital bomb threat. I had two choices: to evacuate, risking the lives of everyone on life support, or to hold my nerve and treat it like a hoax. In those situations, you can’t burst into tears. You have to get a grip so that you are confident in your decisions. In the end, we searched post boxes and deployed sniffer dogs to keep the hospital running, but I had a horrendous few hours wondering if I’d put 5,000 people in danger. Resilience is a muscle you have to build up, but it’s importantly to process your emotions afterwards, even if that means having a weep in the bath at the end of the day.”
Tor’s comments put me in mind of a Forbes piece I read recently on “resilience as a muscle”. It argues for better understanding the link between resilience and mindset, and ‘training’ ourselves to become more resilient in the way we might train our physical bodies.
What is resilience? To me, resilience is the ability to bounce back from a challenging event or overcome a series of obstacles that have gotten in the way of an individual achieving their goals.