Resilience: Your Indomitable Inner Strength
When I was about 9 years old I went to the theatre to see a play “Back to Square One.” I remember that play as vividly today as I did back then, the only difference being that back then I had no idea what ‘Back to Square One” meant, but life indeed made sure that I would know what it meant.
I can honestly say that I have been ‘Back to Square One’ more than my fair share of times in this life.
Life has tested my mettle so many times. I have lived deep trauma and tragedy from a young age, seeing and experiencing things that no one should have to endure, let alone as a child and young adult. But despite all of these experiences I am still standing, still living and a really positive person.
There was a big swathe of my life from 16 – 36 years where every 4 years or so a tragedy would strike and one of my closest family members would die. The pain was unbearable, first shock, then grief, then depression and finally pick up, build myself up and move forward to be smacked back down, back to square one again with another tragedy of death until slowly no one was left except for me and one family member. In amidst this were a few broken relationships which also seemed unbearable as they too were another loss.
During my mother’s illness and after her death I did not know how I could go on living any more, the fear of life and emptiness overwhelmed me. I felt that life was so unfair and so unjust. I was broken, lost and virtually homeless. I just could not take it anymore and thought that there was no use to living this life. At my darkest time, in my biggest pity party I decided that it was time to leave this life, and just at that moment a thought flashed through my mind, “If you have lost everything then you are free to start again.” The thought caught me off guard and I stopped to contemplate the audacity of such a thought. How could I lose everything and be free? How could there even be a glimmer of hope in that? But it was true. At that very moment, my life flashed in front of me and I saw clearly how wonderful it was to have been loved and to have loved so dearly in this life. All the grief and despair was testimony to a life full of love. There and then I accepted life and all its facets.
As this stream of my life played out in front of me, I also saw how many times I had been knocked down and how many times I had picked myself up. I then realized how much my inner spirit was my biggest champion all throughout my life, encouraging me and helping me find the strength within me to rise up again and again. In this moment, I felt shame that I had never stopped to see my strength to acknowledge who I was, to see all of life’s trials and tribulations that I had surmounted.
I was resilient and the despair lifted and turned to hope and determination. From that day forward my whole thinking and perspective on life, its trials and challenges changed, defeat was never an option.
Resilience is the strength inside that everyone has if they just tap into themselves and reflect on past trials and how they learnt from them and overcome them. Resilience really is an assess, adapt and overcome mentality. It is a pattern that over time becomes shorter and the time to get back on your feet becomes quicker.
In my professional life I work with Entrepreneurs and CEOs some of them are terrified of making a mistake, a fear of certain doom. I remind them that they are where they are today because of the mistakes they have made and because of their ability to assess, adapt and overcome. They reflect back on their journey and they see how quickly they react and stay on their feet when the gloves are off. They are resilient but they forget to acknowledge it, yet all they need is to stop and catch their breath and see how far they have come.
Everyone has the ability when faced with a crisis or dilemma to stop and assess the situation, to choose how to react and adapt to the situation. Doing this time after time is the key to building strong resilience the inner driver that gives us the opportunity to live this life with hope and success.
I used to see life as a challenge, not any more. I love life, all its twist and turns, high times, low times. I am thankful to every tear of sorrow I cried for each teardrop made a well of resilience within me, forming my character to be indomitable in the face of adversity.
We do not need big life-changing tragedies to build our resilience, all we need is to find our inner spirit, our inner cheerleader to help us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and start all over again.
About the author: Elke Vaikla
Strategy Advisor and Coach, Priyome Consulting
Elke is a highly accomplished, sector-versatile and Top Tier consultancy trained Strategy & Business Portfolio Advisor. Board Advisor with a track record of leading the start-up, diversification and sustainable growth of Companies and globally-operating Groups in the UK & UAE. Leverages strong market analysis and diagnostic skills to deliver go-to-market strategies, M&A/CAPEX Investment advice, strategic roadmaps and product innovation plans which have led to profitable revenue growth. Commercially astute, building strategic private sector, Governmental, INGO and NGO partnerships which have resulted in international recognition. Business acumen in securing multi-million dollar contracts.
A certified NLP coach, accustomed to working with Entrepreneurs, C-Suite and mentoring culturally-diverse leadership teams, gaining buy-in quickly to drive positive change. Elke is also the Founder of Priyome Consulting, a successful boutique strategy consultancy, specializing in innovation and sustainability.