I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to deliver a resilience program to 4 groups of young men aged 12 – 18 last year, and I wanted to share part of that experience with you.
They were a diverse group of young men from a range of cultures and backgrounds, and all displaying a broad variety of physical, intellectual and emotional capabilities.
To say that I was constantly challenged to put the skills I was teaching into practice, is probably an accurate description of my own personal experience of the program.
More than that, however, I was honoured that many of these young men allowed me into their inner circles, from where I was able to witness their growth over the course of the program.
I had never run a program quite like that before, and I felt I was definitely stretching myself when I agreed to facilitate it, but we did it, and it was a huge success on many levels.
In Part II I discussed the importance of knowing your strengths and keeping your achievements within your view to remind you of your awesomeness. This can be really difficult for some people, and it is a great idea to revisit the exercise time and again and add to the lists as you grow in strength and confidence.
Stretching yourself outside of your comfort zone is another important part of building resilience, and this is where I, and many of the young men in this program grew greatly during our time together.
It is important to do this in meaningful ways, but we don’t have to take giant leaps of faith from the outset. Small steps in the right direction are probably best because they can be monitored and managed so much better, and actually bring about a sense of excitement rather than making us feel like we have immersed ourselves in a sea of fear and dread in which we are going to drown for sure.
After taking stock of their lives, most of the young men chose to set goals that would make the biggest difference to them at that point in their lives. Getting a part time job, giving their studies more attention, repairing a broken relationship, or rekindling a hobby that brought great joy to them were among some of those goals, and while they might not sound like a lot to us, these were enormous to them, without being so big that they didn’t believe they could achieve them.
This is an important fact about using goal setting to stretch yourself and build resilience:
You have to set a goal that you believe you can achieve and in doing so set yourself up for success.
I knew when I committed to deliver this program that I had the skills and qualifications to do it. I also had amazing people around me for support and encouragement, so it was safe for me to stretch myself in this way, and a safe bet that it would be a successful experience for all involved.
Once you have achieved your goal, you can set another one, and another one, and another one, and each and every success becomes like a new rung in your ladder to a higher, healthier self-esteem.
Can you imagine what sort of a difference that would make to you in your life right now?
Think about setting one goal that means something to you – ideally it will be something small that you have been avoiding or putting off – and I want you to commit to achieving it.
Think through the people, knowledge or resources you will need to achieve your goal and then go about taking the steps you need to achieve it.
Finally, I want you to let me know when you’ve done it. I really want to hear about your experience.
Go go go…