Having a bad day? Week? Month? Year? Does it just seem to keep going on and on, snowball-like, forever? Could you do with one of those ‘drop-ins’, ‘coincidences’, ‘helping hands’ or ‘saving graces’ we talk about? Forget it. Wishing on it won’t make it happen. Having hope, trust in something bigger and visualisation of what you do want may help, but wishing on it focuses you on the lack – on what you don’t have. Recipe for disaster. What I’ve found does work, in a more ‘unpacked’, analytical, strengths-based way in coaching, but in a very straightforward way in day to day living, is the idea of resourcefulness. And boy, can it give you a high.
Resourcefulness has the ability to take you from woeful to warrior. It’s that quick win, that small thing, that you manage to make happen despite all the odds being against you. And then you feel ready to take on the world. If you can make something out of nothing, silk out of sawdust, what you need or want out of a seemingly hopeless situation, you can feel so powerful that your day is bound to be amazing.
Resourcefulness is about making good out of what you do have right now. In every situation, time and time again, I see in coaching clients and when coaxing friends to see the light, there is always some good in a situation. Yes it takes from the positive thinking brigade, but actually, it’s just seeing reality. It’s something you’ve done well – telling yourself of a great trait you have. Something you have achieved, rather than all the things you haven’t. Something you do have, instead of all that you don’t and you want. On a very basic level, imagine you want to buy your favourite sweets that you spot in a random newsagent. They only take cash under £5. You manage to search all your pockets, dig out almost enough, and then persuade them to let you pay the rest on card. It’s tiny, but it makes you feel powerful. Because you may not have had what someone else thinks it takes, but you made what you wanted work, because you wanted it badly enough and tapped into your ability to use whatever you have at this moment in time to get it.
Recently I was travelling back from Bulgaria after mentoring life coaching students there. Getting caught up in the beauty of seeing the whole of Sofia on a last-minute mountain walk, I forgot to move all my liquids from my hand luggage into my suitcase. I got to security after checking my bag in, only to find my 3 month old nephew’s present – some delicious, health-boosting honey I hadn’t tasted anything like before and which I knew his parents would love – was about to be chucked out. I was not letting this honey go. I negotiated with security to let me try to get my bag back and check it in – all it took was to ask, and be direct about it – he had a heart, as everyone does – he knew their special Bulgarian honey was a lovely gift for family, and even said I should come to the start of the security queue when I got back. So far so smooth. Downstairs at the check-in though, the cold, bored ladies were unrelenting. “We’re not going to be able to get your bag back”. What was obvious here? They weren’t interested in the fact that it was special Bulgarian honey, nor that it was for my family. They clearly thought it’d be the biggest hassle to try to find my bag. But it was gold! My suitcase is a bronze-gold colour! You can’t miss it. Just by asking myself what was obvious, I saw the way through. The first check-in lady wasn’t interested. I could see I wasn’t going to get anywhere with her. “Thank you very much” and I moved down three ladies to another, whose face looked softer and who looked a little less bored with her job. She radioed her colleague and in 3 seconds they’d found the bag. We were in! Scurrying across the floor to the conveyor belt which takes it I saw my bag, and got my honey in. Sorted. Was I on a high the rest of the day? Yes. Did I feel powerful that I had absolutely nothing but myself to get what I wanted? Yes. Was I surprised that actually, 3 out of 4 people were cooperative and understanding? Actually, yes. Did I have a great tale to tell my non-plussed 3 month old nephew who’s too young to have a clue what I was saying? For sure.
The fact is, it isn’t when you have resources that you achieve what you want and gain the momentum it takes to do the next, bigger, better thing. It’s when you DON’T have the support you feel you’d like. When things AREN’T perfectly lined up. When people AREN’T rooting for you. When the opportunity DOESN’T seem to be there. When the funds AREN’T there. That’s when your resourceful nature has the opportunity to kick in. Keep focusing on what you want and remind yourself of all the times you made something happen out of sheer resourcefulness and watch your resolve and commitment to being a bigger, better person, your personal strength, your confidence in your abilities and your hope for the next day, week, month and year rise from the ashes. Silk from sawdust. As if by magic.
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