The Art of Bouncing Back

If you’ve been on this earth for some time now, I’m sure you’ll agree that you have experienced something that has knocked the wind out of you. It may have been your friends ganging up on you in the school yard, a test you were sure you would pass but failed, a boss that didn’t like you or a relationship gone wrong.

 

Whatever it is you have experienced, you’ve had to learn to bounce back – maybe you didn’t at first or even for a while but eventually you gathered yourself, picked yourself up off the ground or even unravelled yourself from that foetal position and stood up and decided at that moment you will not be overcome.

 

That moment, that resolution, that determination was the beginning of building resilience in your thinking.

 

Resilience is as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

1. The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.

2. An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

 

What the art of bouncing back can do for us is build strength in our character, in our resolution and in the way we do life. It fosters growth and sets us up for greater success in the future.

 

Let me share a story with you from my colleague, Leslie….

 

A few years back, we were running one of our programs and we met a young man by the name of Jay.

 

Jay was 28 years old and as I walked in the conference room, Jay caught my eye. As he sat at his desk ready to embark on this program, I noticed his flat cap and tattoos etched into his arm. The team chatted all around Jay, but not once did he lift up his head or even attempt to converse with us. There was no eye contact.

 

Over the next few weeks, as everyone settled in and became somewhat comfortable with one another, Jay began to open up and share little snippets of his life and the difficulties he had in knowing how to interact with his team in his workplace.

 

Jay shared with us that he was enrolled onto this course to recognise that violence wasn’t a form of communication.

 

In one of the activities, Jay was asked to choose a card from the pile of about 100 postcards that best described success to him. He chose a card that had barbed wire fencing.

 

Later that morning, Jay was asked to explain why he chose that particular card. He opened up and shared with the group that he spent many years in and out of juvenile detention centres until he was 18 years of age before being transferred to the big boy’s prison.

 

Jay chose the barb wire picture because at 28 he was the father of four children and his one desire for his kids was that he never ever wanted them to experience what he had experienced – living behind barbed wire.

 

At the end of the program, Jay had removed his flat cap, had been making eye contact and he was smiling and interacting. He achieved three business and one personal goal and had discovered there were better ways to communicate other than through violence. Jay had learned to delegate and empower his team to do jobs that he otherwise would never had trusted them to do. He identified that his performance edge was that he was an incredibly fast learner and although that was his strength, his weakness was he lacked patience with those that didn’t.

  

On the last day of our course, Jay came into the kitchen where I was cleaning up and thanked me for making the time to get to know him. He shared with me that both his parents were drug addicts as were his three elder brothers. I responded to him by reiterating to him that because of the courage he showed in taking that first step of personal development, as hard as it was for him to make that decision, to unravel himself from his past and begin to create a new pathway for himself, he was not only doing it for himself but also for his children so that they would never be found on the wrong side of the fence, they would never be living behind barbed wire.

 

Not everyone’s life may be as dramatic or quite like Jay’s and the changes you may need to make might not be as life changing, but every change you embark on is significant and will impact your future and the future of those around you, both personally and professionally.

 

The art of bouncing back is important to building a strong mindset that will set us up for a future of overcoming and conquering our fears and our difficulties.

Author – Sophie Stokes

Transformational Leader and Mentor


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