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Liggy Webb

The Learning Architect


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The importance of resilience


As the pace of work and home life accelerates towards the end of the year, Liggy Webb gives us some advice about how to stay resilient.
"If you are going through hell, keep going"  - Winston Churchill
There is a certain irony that I have just written a book called 'Resilience' during what I can honestly say has been the most challenging year of my life. I remember starting out by declaring to anyone who cared to listen that this was going to be my best year yet. Whilst I had been realistic enough to appreciate that I would need to deal with a few unexpected curve balls along the way, I really wasn't prepared for the missile attack of mishaps and drama that occurred.
On a very positive note however, those personal experiences have given me such a deep and valuable insight into the importance of being able to be resilient no matter what you are faced with. In the increasingly demanding and changing world that we live in it is often so easy to become overwhelmed and feel as if you are sinking. Each setback you experience can make you feel weary and drained and despondent, and if you are not careful you can end up carrying with you the heavy baggage of that experience.
"I do find it fascinating how people react in extreme situations and I marvel at how amazingly well some people seem to pull through relatively unscathed."
At some point, everyone experiences varying degrees of setbacks. Some of these challenges might be relatively minor and others may have a major impact - to some degree it is all relative. How you deal with these problems can play a major part in the ultimate outcome and also your long-term psychological wellbeing.
Resilience comes from the Latin word 'resilio' which means 'jump back'. From my research and observations it strikes me that resilient people are able to utilise their skills and strengths to cope and bounce back from the knockbacks and challenges. Some setbacks and adverse experiences could include illness, job loss, financial problems, natural disasters, relationship break-ups, or the death of someone you love. If you lack the ability to be resilient you may become overwhelmed by these experiences and simply fall apart.
You may also find yourself dwelling on your problems and using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the pain and heartache. Over indulgence of food and alcohol can serve as a quick fix however the long term effect can be highly damaging. If you have the propensity to be addictive this is the time to really focus on a healthy pursuit that will be constructive rather than destructive.
I do find it fascinating how people react in extreme situations and I marvel at how amazingly well some people seem to pull through relatively unscathed. Certainly it would appear that some individuals do have personality traits that help them remain calm in the face of adversity whilst others may well react more emotionally and dramatically. We will, of course, all react differently to trauma and stress in our lives. Some people choose to take a more stoic approach and keep their feelings hidden to protect others and some people prefer to express and reach out. Different personalities tend to process information in a variety of ways and your reaction will be part of your coping mechanism.
Personally I don't think there is a wrong or right way to how you initially respond; it's more about how you choose to move forward. Do you just give in and fall apart, or do you do whatever you need to do to be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, select the lessons learnt, let go of the negative baggage and move onwards upwards. 
I have heard some people describe resilience as the ability to bend instead of breaking when experiencing pressure, or the ability to persevere and adapt when faced with challenges. The same abilities also help us to be more open and willing to take on new opportunities. In this way resilience is more than just survival, it is also about letting go and learning to grow.
"Resilient people do not allow adversity to drain their resolve; They find a way to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep going with a strong belief that things can and will get better."
The key however is about the end result. It isn't necessarily how far you fall, it is about how high you can bounce back, maybe even bigger, better and stronger as a result of the experience. Resilient people do not allow adversity to drain their resolve; They find a way to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep going with a strong belief that things can and will get better. I love this quote by Martin Luther - King of Resilience.
'Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree' - Martin Luther King

10 Tips for developing resilience

  • Take a journey of self-discovery and get to know yourself better
  • See the glass half-full and choose to be optimistic about life
  • Understand your emotions and learn to feed them intelligently
  • Accept change and learn how to be adaptable and resourceful
  • Manage conflict and cope better with difficult situations
  • Embrace problems and turn them positively into opportunities
  • Look after yourself physically, emotionally and environmentally
  • Make positive connections and develop your relationships and interests
  • No matter what happens to you in life, believe in yourself and keep going
  • Set objectives and goals and create a vision of the life you really want
Liggy Webb is based in the UK and is widely respected as a leading specialist in the field of modern life skills. As an international consultant for the UN she travels extensively working in a variety of worldwide locations and describes Afghanistan as her most enlightening and poignant experience to date. She is also the founding director of The Learning Architect, an international learning and development organisation that specialises in behavioural skills. Liggy actively supports mental health charities and is an enthusiastic advocate of positive psychology. Follow Liggy on for updates, free toolkits and inspiration

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Liggy Webb


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