This morning I went for a run, I do this two or three times a week (two if I’m being totally honest), I had a guided run on and the coach was talking about endurance in order to go the extra distance. Being able to run that bit further than I have on other runs. It got me thinking about the many conversations I have had recently about Resilience in teams, and the workplace, and looking at organisational health the word Endurance has come up more often than Resilience.

There is no doubt that the last few years have stretched us in ways we were never expecting. Our overall resilience and capacity to cope has often stretched to breaking point, both in work and home life. Our ability to change, improvise new ways of doing things, find different ways of working and generally ‘Keep calm and carry on’ is well documented. We should all take a moment to congratulate ourselves for our tenacity and creativity. But do we? Do we actually take that moment?

Carrying on by sheer determination can be praiseworthy, but it may be creating an unsustainable mindset. As more is thrown at us ‘Endure at all costs’ disillusionment and weariness could be kicking in as we battle through to the next thing that lands on our plate.

Endurance verses (and/or) Resilience

I have been looking into Endurance and Resilience and quite often finding they sit in a versus situation. Yet, the conversations I am having and the research I am doing points at them working hand in hand, together.

Endurance is defined in the dictionary as:
The ability to endure an unpleasant of difficult process or situation without giving way, OR the capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear.

Resilience is defined in the dictionary as:
The ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc.

So, if we are going to endure something then we need resilience to be able to get back on track. Sadly, some people are enduring without resilience which leads to a negative and unhealthy mindset. This could be leading to more serious mental health issues.

One of the most important parts of Resilience is to be able to develop self-awareness. Self-awareness, when thinking about endurance, is ability to recognise when you need to step back, refresh, relax and refocus. This will begin to stop the path down the slippery slope of just enduring.

In order to endure, we need to build our own resilience.

Here is a model of Resilience from Insights, that we use in some of our Insights Discovery Workshops.

  • Self-Awareness – Knowing who I am and my challenges and strengths. Knowing my triggers for pressure/tension/stress. Knowing how I feel at any moment in time. Including awareness of my physical, mental, and emotional states.
  • Self-Regulation – Maintaining the balance between too much and too little stress. Detecting and managing changes in physical, mental, and emotional states. Managing any strong impulses and emotions.
  • Self-Efficacy – The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out. Skills in communication and problem solving. A positive outlook and belief that I can achieve the goals I set myself and I can overcome the difficulties that occur.
  • Self-Care – Managing physical well-being. For example, sleep, movement, breathing, nutrition, laughter, fitness. Managing mental and emotional being. For example. Self-belief, positive outlook, learning mindset, goal/solution orientation, ability to re-frame, language. Making choices in all this that promote wellbeing.
  • Acceptance – Seeing and accepting the reality of my situation. Able to see the reality and accept what it is and what has changed. Being realistic about what can and cannot be changed. Knowing that the current situation is just for now and it will change.
  • Meaning and Purpose – Having an overall sense of purpose and meaning. My reason why. Able to frame difficulties in that broader scheme. Meaning making is the way resilient people build bridges from present day hardships to a fuller, better constructed future.
  • Improvising Solutions – The ability to improvise a solution to the problem without proper or obvious tools or materials. The ability to make do with whatever is at hand. Creative in using available resources or putting objects to unfamiliar uses.
  • Connection – Having a caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family and at work. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models and offer encouragement. For example: connecting with supportive others, talking through sources of pressure and tension, seeking & receiving feedback, having work coaching buddies.

Think about the model and each section, how well do you do on each and what do you need to do to build stronger resilience in other areas? Remember, we all do this in different ways. What works for one person may not be right for another person.

Endurance and Resilience

When we talk about endurance it is important to think about how we endure, how we make it through in a resilient way. It’s not about ignoring negative thoughts or situations; we know sometimes these are inevitable. It is about the choices you make having recognised the hard work you have put in. When our mindset is more resilient and positive there is a high impact on your feelings which in turn affects your behaviour and ultimately how you interact with others.

Your choice

It’s your choice to either feel overwhelmed and helpless or to change the mindset. We can all endure, but we need to look after ourselves first to be resilient.

This mornings run went well. I didn’t quite make the extra distance, yet!  I recognise in order for me to run further I am going to need to go out running more and build up to the distance I want to get to. Running for me also helps with self care, getting exercise and being out in nature is a real boost. I definitely feel more resilient when I run more often.


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