Resilience is a hot topic right now with many workplaces engaging external consultants to help their staff “be more resilient”. Whilst most people have a general understanding of what resilience is, scientifically speaking it’s known as a “multi-dimensional construct” and there are many ways to conceptualise it, both as a “process” and/or as an “outcome”. As a process, it may relate to concepts such as the resources and strengths you already have and put to use whilst you’re in the “eye of the storm”. As an outcome, it’s how you recover, “bounce-back” or “bounce-forward” which is an interesting and emerging area of research surrounding “post-traumatic growth”.
As a scientist-practitioner, I’m keen to ensure the concepts, theories and models I use are scientifically supported however I’m also keen to ensure that the approaches are user-friendly so everyday people can make sense out of the models and more importantly apply the science in a meaningful way. That’s why I’ve chosen to utilise “Mental toughness” (MT) as a way to understand and build resilience. MT is a concept from sport psychology that has strong links to resilience and increased wellbeing. Mental toughness has been defined as “the quality which determines in a large part how people deal effectively with challenge, stressors and pressure…irrespective of prevailing circumstances” (Clough & Strychcharczyk, 2012). It utilises a simple 4C Model as proposed by Clough and associates (2002):
1. Control over emotions and life events
2. Commitment to involvement in experiences, rather than avoidance
3. Challenge and embracing the changeable nature of life and seeing the opportunity this provides
4. Confidence and high self-belief in the ability to achieve success
Research tells us that “mental toughness” is in a large-part inherited and trait-like however the good news is that it has the potential to be developed through life experiences or developmental opportunities that increase factors such as self-confidence, self-esteem, locus of control, and problem-solving skills (Marchant, Polma, Clough, Jackson, Levy & Nicholls, 2007).
The Golden Door Speciality Retreat that I’ll be facilitating this July will be a fabulous opportunity for a small group of participants to explore the 4C model in depth and learn key psychological skills that have been proven to build resilience, wellbeing and enhance performance.
I hope you can join me.