'Owning the No'

Standing in a room with a group of like-minded women; arms outstretched, ready to take on the world, a powerful scene is emerging. Big smiles can be seen around the room with an acknowledgement that with simple power poses, you can instantly regain control of your situation.  All that is needed now is an uncompromising ‘no’ to be proclaimed and there we have it, the chance to ‘own the no’ and start our resilience journey. But how can women successfully reach a resilient state with the constant pressures of everyday life knocking on the door?

Delivering a bite-sized version of my Personal Resilience for Women session to a group at Standard Chartered Bank recently, we discussed what resilience means to female professionals today and what some of the biggest resilience challenges are.  One of the challenges identified by the group was the failure to keep emotion out of negative situations. For example, if a recent project is criticised then the tendency is to take it personally which can be very destructive for your frame of mind. Improving mental toughness so you can ‘roll with the punches’ and overcome what the world throws at you is a much needed skill.  But how do we achieve this?

In the next part of the session, the group took part in some breathing techniques to show how quickly balance can be regained.  Considering how fundamental breathing is to our survival, it’s amazing how little we think about it. With every breath, the atmosphere in the room became charged with positivity and every shoulder started to relax into a healthier position.  

As well as power posing and breathing techniques, there are many, many strategies that people can adopt to improve their personal resilience and most only require small adjustments to daily routines.  Drawing on the theory ‘aggregate of marginal gains’, I believe it is best to consider the small wins in lots of areas which, in turn, will provide significant benefits overall.

The truth is there is no magic wand, but there are resilience skills and strategies that allow you to utilise your greatest assets so you can build your confidence and become more assertive in both your behaviour and performance. As women it’s important for us to ask ourselves the question, if I say yes, what part of me might I be saying no to? This will really help us ‘own that no’ in order to survive the crazy fast-paced world we live in and retain valuable time for the things that are important.  So stretch out your arms, stand tall and own your no today. 

Much thanks goes to the team at Standard Chartered Bank, for embracing the journey to building personal resilience.