Finding resilience when facing conflicting demands

In the current climate it couldn’t be more important to have the kind of personal resilience and self- belief that allows you to roll with the times and to overcome set-backs.

Imagine you are a bridge, let’s say Tower Bridge – a strong structure, able to withstand the weight and movement of almost constant traffic.

Now, what if some of London’s other bridges were closed, and so more traffic has to cross your bridge? You would see more buses, heavy goods vehicles and pedestrians, all using the bridge – slowing down the traffic and putting more pressure onto the structure and its foundations.

2 possible outcomes

There are two possible outcomes – either the bridge eventually collapses or it finds a way to cope with the added pressure. The same happens with people – when we start to feel overwhelmed by our workload and other demands on our time, we either buckle under the pressure or find ways to cope.

Focusing on the coping option, we can reduce the pressure on ourselves and our teams (delegate, manage time more effectively, review priorities and let the unnecessary tasks go), or find ways to do more. Everyone deals with pressure in different ways and our ability to deal with it changes throughout our lives. People who adapt to stressful situations and find ways to manage it are less likely to develop physical or mental symptoms.

In facilities management, we are often ‘martyrs to the cause’ and will take on more and more work without shouting for more resources. I look at workload as hundreds of juggling balls – some are made of rubber and will bounce back if you drop them, but some are made of glass – once dropped, they shatter. The key to personal resilience is to understand what’s most important – to you, your teams and your clients.

Try this exercise

Try this exercise to balance the priorities in your day to day life. Start by listing all of those demands and identify what the balancing acts between them are. For example; when thinking about the demands of work you might compare it to the demand of home life, or perhaps keeping fit compared to being too tired after work.

Consider the one set of conflicting demands that is most relevant to you currently and answer the following questions.

• What is the conflicting demand?
• What would you most like to change about it?
• How could you improve the situation?
• Who would you need to resolve this with?
• When will you do this?

You have support

Remember you also have a support network around you. I’m sure you’ve offered support, help and guidance to plenty of people in the past, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help. In fact, think about one person you could call right now, who could have the answer to one of your conflicting demands. Coaching is all about taking action – when I see clients who are facing these issues, often just taking that one small step can be the action they need to become more resilient.

Best of luck.

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