Swimming against the tide (8 August 2016)

Despite my misgivings – doping, the IOC, golfers pretending their absence is down to Zika – I found myself watching Olympic gymnastics (gymnastics?) from Rio last night. I can’t help it; from schooldays until now, I remain a fan of the Olympics, despite all the creeping professionalism and rampant commercialisation.

I remain cynical about the overpaid bureaucrats who milk the Olympics, but the genuine moments of sporting triumph and disaster still can move me; poor, sad me, maybe! And, as in London 2012, the volunteers in Rio seem to be the true face and spirit of the Olympics, even more so than the competitors.

To be grudgingly fair, one innovation by those faceless bureaucrats has stood out: the participation of Team Refugee. Ten displaced people have earned the chance to compete, though they are formally displaced people and seeking asylum. Yusra Mardini, a swimmer originally from Syria, has been the team’s figurehead, and her story of escaping – by swimming – with her sister from a sinking boat as she tried to cross into Europe captures what she and her fellow refugees face to find a new, safer life.

I’ve listened to Yusra being interviewed, and what is paramount, amongst all her other amazing qualities, is her resilience. She has been through so much horror and adversity; yet she seems a normal teenager.

So what is resilience, and how can it help us?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back, to cope with stress and adversity, to maintain a positive outlook. We all need resilience; and the good news is that can be built and developed. Try these:
1. Strengthen your self-belief (e.g., make a list of your strengths and achievements, don’t say negative things about yourself)
2. Look after yourself (e.g., get enough sleep, eat well, go for a walk; keep doing things you like)
3. Accept and embrace change (e.g., be flexible, grab new opportunities, take small steps outside of your comfort zone)
4. Reflect on your past experiences (e.g., make a list of all the events that you have overcome and have made you a stronger person
5. Show Kindness (e.g., lend someone a helping hand, join in activities within your local community, take a bag of clothes to a charity shop)
6. Develop a solid circle of support (e.g., share your feelings, have a catch-up with a friend)
7. Set Goals (e.g., set goals and take the steps to achieve them)
8. Enhance your problem solving skills (e.g., “how can I improve this situation?” Or “what can I do to change things for the better?”)
9. Look for the silver lining (e.g., hope about a brighter future moves you one step closer to getting to it).

You will become more resilient by overcoming setbacks and maintaining a positive outlook.

Think what Yusra went through; you can do it!  

All the best

Graham

www.tigercoaching.co.uk - email: graham@tigercoaching.co.uk - tel: + (44) (0) 7890 360 806 - skype: tigercoaching1