It struck me this morning how significantly life has changed for us at FreeBird Associates in the past year or so. On 31st October 2015 Anna and I were employed as Continuing Professional Development Workers at Cornwall Council and on the 1st November 2015 we were unemployed, victims of a ‘down-sizing’ strategy that saw us as surplus to requirement. We had seen it coming; for two long years we had seen it coming, and yet, the moment was still painful, the future unpredictable.
As I sit here now it seems incredible how far we have come in such a short space of time; from despair to hope, from a place of insecurity to a sense of purpose, from exclusion to a feeling of belonging. It’s not all been plain sailing. Along the way there has been a major crisis and some minor traumas; but we’re still here, still standing, still looking to the future of FreeBird Associates with excitement and anticipation.
Of course we have not done it alone. The support we have had from former colleagues and new partners has been amazing and we could not have done it without them; but essentially Anna and I picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and started all over again. Resilience is the word that springs to mind; one that is defined by ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties’, or ‘the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens’.
Resilience is something we all need, both in our professional and private lives. This doesn’t mean that we are free from negative emotions or thoughts, remaining optimistic in every situation, no matter how dire - that would be completely unrealistic! No, what resilience does is support us to recover from adversity as a strengthened and more resourceful person; and the good news is that it is not a rare ability. We all have it to some degree and we can develop it further; studies show that there are several factors which develop and sustain a person's resilience:
The ability to make realistic plans and being capable of taking the steps necessary to follow through with them.
A positive self-concept and confidence in one’s strengths and abilities.
Communication and problem-solving skills.
The ability to manage strong impulses and feelings.
So, with all this in mind, we are delighted to be working with Cornwall Adult Health and Social Care Learning Partnership (CAHSC) and Core Health Consultancy in order to deliver a Resilience learning programme for Health and Social Care Registered Managers. The programme aims to support managers to develop, not only their resilience, but the resilience of their staff and also that of the people who use their services. The programme is currently under development and you can find out more about it by contacting Beverly firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dolly (email@example.com) at CAHSC.
I leave you with possibly my favourite song about resilience and one I have been relentlessly humming to myself whilst writing this blog - Enjoy!
 Fredrickson, B. L.; Branigan, C (2005). "Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires". Cognition & Emotion. 19 (3): 313–332.