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How's your bouncebackability?

In a series of wellbeing columns Karen Beaven offers advice to others in HR

‘Bouncebackability’ is a facet of inner strength and energy that determines how we respond when we take a knock. It’s a measure of what we do next and how quickly and effectively we get back on our feet. There’s so much to talk about here that I’ve decided to cover this as a two-part column. This issue we’re going to start with the thing that lies at the very heart of it: bravery. Then in the next column I’ll cover the fundamentals of energy and how this relates to your ability to bounce back.

Our perception of our capacity to be ‘brave’ manifests in different ways. Quite often it shows up through comparing ourselves to other people and beating ourselves up because we perceive ourselves to be not as brave as someone else, or not having their ability to put ourselves forward and achieve results.

We look at people speaking on big stages or abseiling off buildings for charity and say things like: ‘I’d love to do that but there’s no way I’d ever be brave enough’.

But what if you knew it wasn’t really about bravery at all? What if you knew that what it really came down to was motivation? Because that’s where bravery starts: looking at whether you’re really motivated to do something. If someone else is and you’re not, you can see how trying to compare yourself with them from a position of bravery is pretty pointless.

Take the example of a professional fighter. You might look at them and say ‘they’re braver than me, I’d never be able to do that’. But the truth is they may just be more motivated to get in a ring and fight than you are at this point in your life.

I’ve worked with mixed martial arts fighters supporting them with mental conditioning as they prepare for a fight. You can see how it would take bravery to put yourself in a position where there is a very real possibility that you may get injured. It takes guts right?

If you’ve ever watched a fight you’ll have seen that fighters get knocked down and the ones who do well get back up again. And they do that over and over. Sometimes right up to the point where they get knocked out or someone steps in and stops the fight. They wouldn’t call it bravery though. They’d call it ‘heart’.

Heart is the thing that means they’ll never give up. And I can tell you this: a fighter with heart is more than capable of beating a fighter with more skill if the other person doesn’t have heart in the same way. Heart is more than capable of winning over skill.

So the first thing to consider in building your bouncebackability is to check that your heart is really in it. How motivated are you really to get back up and continue on the path you’re on?

Next, you can be sure that a fighter doesn’t go into a fight unprepared. They’ll have spent months physically training and getting in shape; they’ll have studied their opponent and been working on their skill and technique. It’s likely they’ll have been on a strict diet and will have thrown absolutely everything into being ready for the moment they step into the ring. They’ll have worked with a professional trainer or coach to support them and they’ll have sparring partners to help them train. They have people in their corner.

So this is the next thing you need to do: prepare. You need to put the work in, research the thing you’re trying to do and get in shape physically, so your body and mind can operate from a position of strength. Then find people who are experts at the thing you want to do and who will be in your corner.

After that fighters act. They just get started. It’s not like they start at championship level. Their skill and confidence builds over time. They learn by doing and the small wins give them the confidence to step up and take a bigger fight. So bouncebackability increases as a result of putting yourself in situations where you can achieve small wins.

In the next column we’ll build on this by looking at how energy fuels or detracts from your ability to bounce back. Until then stay strong. You’ve got this!

Karen Beaven is founder of the HR Entrepreneurs Network and an IVF and fertility coach. Visit www.karenbeaven.com and www.ivfcoach.co.uk

This piece appeared in the July – August 2019 issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk