Who moved my cheese (yet again)?!
OR cultivating resilience in the face of ever-increasing change and uncertainty
Twelve days before Christmas brought us not nice things but instead yet another self-isolation for our now eleven year old daughter as she tested positive for Covid – thankfully she only had mild symptoms. This was her sixth self-isolation in just over twenty-two months on top of two long lockdowns.
What was really hard on her was the mental impact of the self-isolation much more so than the 48 hours of feeling a bit unwell. She has now spent over two months on her own with only her parents for company in the past twenty-two months. She missed the end of term yet again. To use her words: “That’s when all the good stuff happens.” She also found herself yet again only able to communicate through the means of technology with her friends and family. Whilst teenagers might delight in this – younger children can really struggle. While of course, she was grateful to have escaped the worst of the illness (recognising that is not the case for many), she was struggling to be resilient.
It was also really tough on us as working parents who run our own businesses. Trying to juggle the conflicting demands of year end work, home and study etc. and in all of this coping with our own waning resilience at the end of another long year of a global pandemic. Instead of enjoying the excitement and if I’m honest the “rewards” we were looking forward to, we found ourselves once again in a state of flux, uncertainty, change – whatever your preferred name for it is – and having to dig deep.
Early on in the pandemic (our daughter was nine at the time), I had talked to her about the book Who moved my cheese?*. It has become our way of identifying and labelling when due largely (but not exclusively) to Covid our world, our expectations, our excitement has been impacted again and we have to adjust quickly to the situation by drawing on our resilience. Sounds simplistic but it has really helped. She shared the sketch below with me earlier in the year when our world had yet again been moved in the blink of an eye and I treasure it! This may seem strange to some but to me it represents the ability to recognise, reflect and respond in a constructive way to change – exercising and cultivating resilience even at a young age.
Cultivating resilience is going to be a critical skill for us all, but especially the younger generations coming through as Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj and Naeema Pasha highlight in their recent book** (well worth a read!). By drawing on the work by Alex Davda*** and the seven specific attitudes and associated behaviours identified as critical to reslience;
- Emotional control
- Self-awareness and
- Inter-personal confidence
Shaheena and Naeema articulate powerfully the need for us to hone these attitudes and behaviours as our world becomes more uncertain in so many ways.
Full disclosure – I do though find “resilience” to be one of these words that can be used very filipantly especially in a leadership and organisational setting (“You just need to be more resiliient!” = subtext “Man/Woman Up”). However, I recognise and value that the core attitudes and associated behaviours as identified by Davda underpinning resilience are critical to our wellbeing as the pace of change and the ensuing uncertainty continue to evolve (only to be heightened by a global pandemic). How to develop and hone these is critical in how we choose to respond when yet again our Cheese has been moved!
If you’re interested in discussing further as part of a coaching conversation, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact page on www.wisesherpa.co.uk
** Shaheena janjuha-Jivraj and Naeema Pasha – Future Proof Your Career – How to Lead and Succeed in a Changing World
***Alex Davda (2017)