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Emma Sue Prince



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Be relentlessly resourceful


When I was in India recently, one thing that really stood out for me was observing how incredibly resourceful everyone seemed to be. Despite harsh living conditions, poverty and other hardship, I noticed people working hard in their street businesses, looking after each other and being productive, creative, and positive. This is also depicted so well in the current wonderful BBC programme “Welcome to India”. A recent episode focused on a  popular tactic for people there. They are so competent at operating in a crowded world, they turn the stuff others would call waste into an opportunity. How many of us in the West would be able to do that? Or maybe we would, if we had to?

According to the dictionary, resourcefulness means “able to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations”. Resourcefulness is not just a means of coping with deprivation and difficulty though, or even doing more with less. It can be a quality that opens the door to greater accomplishment for any of us. With the current economic climate forcing us to make do with what we have, being resourceful is a totally necessary skill. You actually can do more with less because you are more capable and competent than you think.

So, how can you be resourceful this week? Before you can be resourceful, there are some things you have to be willing to do first! Be willing to handle failure, rejection and uncertainty because being resourceful means taking risks and trying new things. You also need to be able to communicate well and persuasively. If you’re not clear about what you are doing, whether that’s your work or following a particular goal, it’s going to be even harder. And be tenacious, do not give up, persevere!

Then it’s about three basic things:

1. Learn, research, inform yourself:

Whatever it is you are trying to do or wanting to do, there is masses of information about it open to you online. Learn as much as you possibly can about it. Use your critical thinking skills to sift through all of this and make sense of it for yourself. When I started writing a book, I did tons of research on how to do just that! But you also need to exploit your personal and professional network as much as you can. When you’re informed you are in a far better position to move forward. And move forward you must! Lots of people get stuck in the research bit. This is known as “fake work’ – I know someone who produces spreadsheets of information beautifully organised but doesn’t do anything with it. He does the same thing with lists of people to call.

2. Take Action

This has to be the most important part of being resourceful. You need to get to the point of discomfort – this is the bit where you are handling failure, rejection and uncertainty. That’s how you’ll know you’re really doing something instead of doing fake work! Push through your fear of failure and rejection and take big bold action toward your goals.

3. Repeat Until You Succeed

How does anyone get better at anything or reach their goal? After you take action, reflect on what happened. Extract lessons, build on what worked, address what didn’t and then try again. If you’re applying for work and attending interviews, this is exactly what you have to keep doing until you succeed and find work. And it’s the same with pitches, proposals and writing anything. Tweak, tweak, tweak – change things, be willing to be wrong or understand why a particular approach didn’t work. And then try again.

This is what being resourceful is about. And you need to practice it relentlessly!

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Emma Sue Prince


Read more from Emma Sue Prince

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