How to be mindfully resilient

By Carli Uys (MCom Industrial Psychology and MCom Communication studies)

Mindfulness is the mental state you achieve when you focus your attention on the present moment, are aware of everything occurring in the present moment, and accepting your own feelings, thoughts and body sensations. Resiliency is the capacity you have to recover quickly from any kind of difficulty you are facing.

So how does a person combine the two? And why would you want to? Well, the answer to this is, to be able to recover from any difficulty in a meaningful way you need to be aware of your thoughts and feelings at that moment, as well as your thoughts and feelings after the difficulty occurred. This can help you to get a better understanding of why you responded the way you did, why you said what you said, and why it made you feel the way it did. Being aware of how you respond to a certain situation or difficulty will help you to understand yourself better and learn to control your reactions. It will also help you to accept your own feelings and emotions at that moment, and understand that you are only human and cannot control everything that happens to you, but knowing that you are in control of how you react.

Being able to control how you react in a certain situation, will help you to avoid any regrets afterwards of what you said and what you did to another person during the time of ‘difficulty’. This can mean a break-up, being laid off, car accident, or an argument with someone important to you. As we all know, in the heat of the moment, we say and do things that we later regret. When we practice being mindful in all situations in life, we are able to control our out bursts in moments of difficulty, to avoid doing damage to someone you love, and your reputation.

The following are tips on how to combine mindfulness and resiliency in an effective manner:

  1. To be able to control your anger, and avoid becoming aggressive in any stressful situation, you need to be aware of your feelings, reactions and thoughts to be able to stay calm, and assert yourself to get your point across and let yourself be heard.
  2. To mindfully think about a problem, and see the problem as a temporary set-back, and find ways to solve the problem in a structured and knowledgeable way to get the best end result.
  3. Being mindful about your reactions and the things you say to other people in times when you are stressed or facing a set-back. Being mindful will help you to avoid conflict that occurs because of what or how you said something.
  4. Being mindful about other people’s needs and taking the time to understand what they are going through. This will help you to show them empathy in their time of need, even if you are struggling and feel like you can’t stretch yourself any further. Being mindful about how you respond and treat others will help you to avoid damaging your relationship with that person.
  5. Even when you find it difficult to find a sense of humor or positive outlook during a difficult time, by viewing the difficulty through a mindful perspective, will help you to see the silver lining in the situation and help you to be able to stay positive.
  6. Being mindful during interactions with other people, will help you to be aware of your emotions and emotional expressions when you are with other people, as you will be present in the moment and make sure that you give the appropriate expressions when necessary.
  7. Always be mindful when you are spending time with loved ones and friends as having them as your support system will help you to become more resilient to any set-back or difficulty you are facing. When you aren’t mindful during your interactions with these people during these times, it can damage the relationships and cause you to lose the people you need and love the most.

As we can see from the above, mindfulness can be applied in any difficult situation you are facing to help you cope with the difficulty and help you to see the light at the end of your dark tunnel. It will help you get a better understanding of yourself and the situation, help you to think before you react, and help you to get through the difficult situation without causing damage along the way.

All the best of luck, and I hope my advice will help you to become more mindful during a difficult times.

(Various sources used)

HR, Talent Management and L&D Trends for 2021

We know, we know – 2021 is well on its way and we are only now sharing our take on the 2021 HR, Talent Management and L&D Trends. We did however need time to sift through the myriad of predictions out there to get an integrated view of what seems to be the top trends in our industry for 2021. What we found were nothing new – most of the trends predicted for 2021 by the various authors, bloggers, consulting firms and practitioners that we reviewed, have been noticed as trends before. What may however be different is that many of the predicted trends are already established in practice and are maturing, whilst a few others are gaining traction and are growing fast. So here are the five trends that we identified as most common in all the material that we have reviewed (not in order of importance):

  • A greater focus on Employee Wellness and Health and Safety in the workplace. Employee Wellness has always been a focus for leading organisations, but the Covid-19 Pandemic with all the ramifications for the workplace (remote working, virtual team work and so on) and the associated stress caused by all the changes, highlighted the importance of providing support to staff to ensure mental and physical health. It also threw the spotlight on the need for personal resilience and the importance of resilient organisations. Health and Safety has been legislated more than a hundred years ago and in several industries employee safety has always received immense attention. The Covid-19 Pandemic has however added another dimension to this focus.
  • The employee experience and personalisation. Optimising the employee experience has been a strategic focus for best-in-class organisations since about 2015 and has gone beyond optimising the administrative experience and now focuses on personalising the employee experience in terms of every aspect at work. Optimising the employee experience has therefore become a multi-disciplinary effort, involving every function in the organisation from strategy to facilities. In 2021 the virtual employee experience will likely receive more attention.
  • Capability development and learning in the flow of work. David Morris wrote that the term capability describes the ability to perform a specific set of actions or achieve a specified set of outcomes. For many years organisations mainly focused on competency development, but authors like Jim Williams and Steve Rosenbaum in their book Learning Paths (published in 2004) stressed the importance of developing capabilities (they called it proficiencies). It seems that organisations are now shifting more to the development of capabilities and in this effort are utilising Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to a greater extent. With more people working remotely, interactive strategies for virtual learning also becomes more important. The use of Artificial Intelligence to personalise the learning experience is also receiving more attention. Learning in the flow-of-work as coined by Josh Bersin and Deloitte is a concept that has been around since the early 2000’s when IBM started with what was called embedded learning and several organisations are now starting to operationalise this concept.
  • Big data and analytics. Although some organisations have made strides in utilising Big Data and the subsequent analysis, many organisations still have to do a lot more to be able to use data to truly understand each aspect of the workforce and to gain optimal insights from the data at their disposal.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Josh Bersin in his 2021 HR Predictions report stated that most organisations have implemented DEI strategies are top of mind for most senior leaders but that progress is not a fast as anticipated. Bersin explains that amongst the many reasons for this, there also seems to be a low level of DEI skills and expertise amongst HR professionals. In 2021 this will be addressed.

There were many other interesting trends that we did not highlight here, as our focus was on the top five most common trends across all the material that we reviewed. As always Deloitte’s and Josh Bersin’s predictions for HR and Talent  Management remain insightful and we encourage you to read those reports. We wish you all the best with taking on the unique challenges of 2021 that will form the basis of some of the trends in 2022!

Carli Uys

Dr Lydia Cillié-Schmidt