Resilience: why it is important and how to get it

Many women who are looking to return to work, change careers or start a business need resilience. Rejection from that job you really wanted hurts, but not applying for it out of fear that you won’t get it means you’ll never have a chance at the job in the first place. Taking a step to upskill yourself without knowing how it will pay off in the long run is a risk, but do nothing and nothing will change.

At TechPixies we believe resilience is one of the most important arrows you should have in your quiver. One of the easiest ways to build up your resilience is to set yourself a SMART goal, something we teach in our Free Life Coaching Toolkit. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Resonant and Thrilling.

We also believe in leading by example… so Joy Foster, the founder of TechPixies, set her very own SMART goal earlier this year. It was specific: Complete the Prudential 100 Ride London on 29 July 2018. It was measurable: Ride 100 miles on the bike in a single day. It was held to account: Joy asked friends and family to sponsor her ride and they donated £500 to the NSPCC. It was resonant: She knew it would help her towards her bigger goal of completing an Ironman in 2019 (a goal she has been working towards for 4 years). It was thrilling: ok… well maybe thrilling is a bit of an exaggeration, but the bragging rights would be pretty cool.

She sat down with us to discuss what the ride was like and why resilience is so important to success. Here’s what she had to say:

I have this fabulous journal called ‘BELIEVE.’ While I write in a journal most days, this journal is a special journal… I only use it when I’m about to complete a triathlon, running race or cycling sportive. The journal is full of tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goals. Peppered throughout are quotes from Olympians and world-famous inspirational figures.

I pulled out my BELIEVE journal the night before the 100 mile (160km) ride. The quote at the top of the page said:

“Most people can’t handle adversity. Simply by not quitting, you’ll succeed.’ Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, pro-marathoner & co-founder of Picky Bars

And then… just next to it, there was a prompt and space for me to write down ‘A good example of (my) resilience’.

I burst out laughing.

Knowing that the forecast for my cycling excursion was heavy rain and strong wind, I was almost certain that nothing in my sporting history (rowing, archery, or triathlon) was going to equal the feat I was about to undertake in the Prudential 100 Ride London.

I am not the fastest cyclist… in fact, I only started taking cycling seriously in 2015 in order to complete my first super sprint triathlon (which only included a 20km cycle). I knew that even in the best conditions, my ride was going to take 7 to 8 hours and that it was going to be the farthest I’d ever ridden on a bike in a single go. That alone was going to be tough! Throw in the wind and the rain? On any other day you’d find me curled up in cuddle corner on my sofa, drinking a warm cup of tea, watching Netflix with my kids.

As I lined up to start the sportive and the rain quietly crept in, I had a choice: ride or walk away.

My first boost of confidence came from realising I was not alone.

If I’m being honest, not quitting at the start was pretty easy. In front of me and behind me, there were thousands of riders. Well aware of the forecast, they still showed up. If they could do it, so could I.

My second boost of confidence came from knowing I was prepared. 

Then the gun fired and the rain fell harder… right and left for miles, hundreds of riders were going down with punctures. I had never seen anything like it before. Fortunately, I had taken my bike to the bike shop earlier in the week. Unfortunately for my wallet, the bike shop said I needed quite a lot done to my bike – including new tyres (tires, for you Americans!) which were a special type that would reduce my chances of a puncture and increase my grip on the road despite the rain.

My third boost of confidence came from knowing that I would get home faster if I just finished the ride. 

Then it started to get hard. As I approached the end of the first quarter of the race, I was soaked from top to bottom, not a single part of me was dry. There was so much water in my shoes that each time I pushed the pedals down, my toes felt like I was dipping them in a lake.

The thing about Ride London that makes it nice for riders is that it is the one day in the year where the roads are closed to cars. In fact, almost all of London is closed off – so even if you wanted to stop riding – no one could come and pick you up!

It was at this point that my thinking shifted. Instead of dwelling on how miserable the conditions were, I started focusing on finishing. With just over half the ride left to go, I thought of my amazing friends who had donated money to support the NSPCC and the children who would be helped from their generosity. I pictured the medal they would give me for finishing and the mental badge of honour I would earn for completing what I had started.

Suddenly, I started enjoying it; I started to pick up speed. I powered up a hill while other riders were walking. I was determined to finish.

I crossed the line in just under 7 hours, still soaking wet but with a smile on my face. A crash at the bottom of one of the hills meant that we were diverted and the course was cut short by 6 miles, but nonetheless, I finished all 94 miles of the course I was given. As I pulled onto the Mall and cycled towards Buckingham Palace, a true sense of satisfaction and delight overwhelmed me. It was over, I had done it.

Resilience does not come from doing things that are easy, it comes from persevering through things that are difficult. Resilience is important because it is the foundation of success. – Joy Foster, founder of TechPixies

What SMART goal will you set that is just that bit out of your comfort zone? Who will you tell to keep you accountable? Why will accomplishing this goal help you in the long run? How will you feel when you complete it?

In our Free Life Coaching Toolkit, we talk about visualising your future, having the right mindset, setting SMART goals, evaluating where you are at and where you want to be. It is designed to give you a chance to map your future, to think about what you really want and to take the steps to go and get it. We’d love to hear how you get on, drop us a line and let us know.

TechPixies helps women return to work, change careers, start a business by teaching them how to use modern technology. We teach social media, digital marketing, SEO and WordPress courses both online and face-to-face. Our online courses are self-paced and affordable, allowing you to work around your existing obligations. We have a very interactive Facebook group and monthly webinars with women who are successfully running their own businesses and doing an exceptional job with at least one area of technology that we teach. To join our mailing list and get weekly inspiration in your inbox, register your interest