Build Your Resilience

Resilience may be something intangible but, as any high-achiever will tell you, there are concrete practices that can help you develop it. To keep you thriving in times of extreme change, our featured alumni have put together their personal resilience-building recommendations in these “toolkits”. From tips and tricks to videos and podcasts, take a look at what’s been keeping these soldiers moving forward in 2020.

Divya’s Resilience Toolkit

Monitor your media intake: There’s so much doom and gloom out there in the regular media. I have curated my emails and personal networks in a way that I only get stories of hope. The use of positive reinforcement, just through what you consume every day, makes all the difference. Surround yourself with nature: Use houseplants! Such small, baby steps are a reminder to get outside and connect with the world, to walk in the sun and get some vitamin D. Just connect: I’ve joined networking forums to have that social interaction, even if it’s just over Zoom, to be inspired by people doing amazing things. We no longer have the chance to speak to colleagues over lunch, post-work, over coffee, so this is filling that gap. Shake it off: I’ve done more dancing than ever this year.

Filipe’s Reslience Toolkit

Talk to your colleagues: You might not be friends but talking to the people you work with about what’s happening in your life outside of work is so important. Build in time for your teams to just chat—create a mental health network if you can. At Tata Consultancy Services, the things that have come out of our network, TCS Minds, have been incredible. Set goals, keep track: The process of setting goals for yourself and tracking your progress everyday can be extremely valuable in boosting your self-esteem and sense of achievement. I use a BestSelf journal to help me do this as it breaks each goal down into 13 weeks and actionable items but even just keeping a list and ticking off items each day can help you create new habits and lead to big changes. Make small positive changes: Everyone knows the benefit of exercise and routine but even small things can make a big difference. For example, I drink a glass of water and do 20 push-ups as soon as I wake up. Doing something positive for myself first thing puts me in a good frame of mind.

Iva’s Resilience Toolkit

Create a strong network: I’m lucky; I have my family all around me, friends close by, and strong business partnerships. This has been crucial to helping me through tough times. Ask for help: You can’t do everything yourself. Find good people and let them help you in whatever way they can. Remember why you’re doing it: When you’re tired and the challenges keep coming, stay focused on your “why”. For me, it’s giving children a valuable new skill and building a future for myself and my family in my home country. Make plans: I need a holiday! I’ve started planning one for when we can travel again. Having something like that to look forward to really helps.

Carolina’s Resilience Toolkit

Meditate with Deepak: I have listened to Deepak Chopra meditations since forever. Whenever I’m stressed or just want to calm my mind I listen to his podcasts and they are magic—save the Spotify playlist. Put pen to paper: It’s easy to lose sight of what your dreams and ambitions are because other people get in the way. Sometimes its worth just stopping, focusing your mind on what YOU want, and writing it down because you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. For the love of horses: If you can, go horse riding! As a child I used to show jump and it’s my favorite thing to do. Going for a ride is so liberating. In fact, my love for horses actually inspired me to call one of my collections Reins.

Boitumelo’s Resilience Toolkit

Learn from the masters: One of the first books I read is a book by Pepe Marais called Growing Greatness. He’s the MD of Joe Public. It really influenced my approach to discipline and routine early on. Song & dance: I don’t know when I stopped listening to music but I brought music back into my life this year. I even sing in the house now! Hit the road: I’m a roadrunner, but I don’t usually run with earphones on in case of an accident. When we were allowed to actually run outside, I put my earphones on, and I was listening to podcasts and running with music. That was so much fun and just exhilarating. Make your week: One of my friends taught me this. She used to phone routinely on the same day and she said to me— schedule who to phone on which day. It becomes a weekly check in and it can make your week. That’s something I always ask myself: “What would make your week?” and then I make it happen. A different viewpoint: I have a rooftop terrace and I’d never spent lots of time up there before. Now, I spend so much time up there; sit, drink coffee. It allows me to see my neighborhood from a different angle.

Shazman’s Resilience Toolkit

Solid support system: For me, it’s my family and my partner. Figuring out how to touch base virtually was awkward at first, but we adapted as best we could. I’ve also depended on my friends a little more virtually while we couldn’t meet. Hult alumni network: And the dean in San Francisco! His help set me up for success in my interview at a dream company. Future vision: Working on net carbon zero goals makes me proud—in my head, I’m making a difference. Now, it’s determining how much.

Michelle’s Resilience Toolkit

Create: I picked up playing the guitar. I took some drawing courses, colour pencil courses. I’ve been doing some crafts too. Consume: I’m reading a lot more than I was before—my eReader goes everywhere with me now. Just trying to learn new things and fit that into a routine has been helpful. Community: There’s so much content on ↳ Instagram for sustainability; there’s a strong sense of community on the platform. Share content and engage users and people will reach out to you.

Gene’s Resilience Toolkit

Booksmart: I really recommend Resilient Decision Maker, co-authored by professor Ajay Bhalla. Routine is everything: My wellbeing routine includes working out, eating well, cold showers, fasting. Prioritize your mental health: My best friend and I are finalizing an ebook, a unique holistic framework to help improve mental health among young men. I also blog on men’s mental health. Let it out: Journaling has been the most helpful part of this entire process for me—all that negativity that is within you, you need to get it out of the system.

Greta’s Resilience Toolkit

Take care of your wellbeing: Recipes for Wellbeing has over 150 activities to boost mental, foster mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and digital wellbeing both for an individual and a team. Here are some exercises to help you cope with stress specifically related to COVID. Reconnect with nature: Nature is a great healer and spending a few minutes every day can go a long way. Why not take a walk outside during your lunch break, especially if you work behind a screen all day? Find harmony with yoga: During the first lockdown when I couldn’t leave my flat, I started practicing yoga daily and it literally helped me keep sane. There are many forms of yoga so find the style that suits you best and practice it regularly to feel a bigger change. Acknowledge the good: With the state of the world and the negativity in the media, it can get a bit too much. I find it helpful to dedicate time to acknowledge the good in my life and around me. As a co-owner of Positive News, I can’t stress the benefits enough of dedicating a little bit of your day or week to reading something that will make you smile.

Andrew’s Resilience Toolkit

The Cynefin Framework: We’re all part of a complex system that influences our decisions in ways we’re not fully aware of and don’t understand. This complexity model is a practical tool that enables decision makers to see things from multiple perspectives and address problems. Get a brief introduction to the model and how you can use it in this video. Adaptive Business Continuity: This methodology from David Lindstedt and Mark Armour proposes groundbreaking ways to radically change the traditional approach to business continuity to focus on preparedness and recoverability. This video gives a quick breakdown of the method and you can read about in full in their book. Lessons from the experts: The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) has a great series of webinars and podcasts on the COVID-19 pandemic by experts in various fields. How to manage crises: My company (Pinnacle Performance Management) has blogs and podcasts on relevant topics in crisis management. Walk, run, and talk: Don’t underestimate the power of a walk or run outside and connecting with old friends.