Developing the power of resilience


Resilience seems to be a hot topic at the moment. When times are challenging and we’re facing many changing demands, the ability to withstand what is thrown at us and bounce back quickly from set backs is all-important. So we asked our athlete ambassador, Sophie Radcliffe, to explain what resilience means to her.

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like if you never got knocked back? Things happen to us daily that hit us and disrupt our path to our goals. Physically, a knock can result in injury and distress, but often it’s mentally a knock that can affect us the most, hitting confidence and determination right where it hurts.

The times we get hit

It’s happened to me many times. In a flash I’ll change from being the warrior I know I can be. Standing strong and confident in the preparation for my pursuits; running a marathon, giving a motivational talk, launching a new campaign. The set-back happens, I retreat and question everything.

I feel like it’s in the preparation for my biggest goals and achievements that I can get knocked back. Once I’m out there in the arena, I’ve committed and I’m doing it. I’ve overcome all the obstacles that could have knocked me back and I’ve reached the moment to perform. But what of those times when I didn’t overcome the obstacles, the doubts, the setbacks, the fears?

Those are the times my mind got the better of me and my resilience wasn’t strong enough to see me through.

Training resilience

I love to run, swim, climb and cycle. As an endurance athlete, I set myself challenges to explore the mountains, lakes, trails and forests and test myself against the force of nature. The outdoor world gives me a chance for inward exploration. When climbing a mountain, there is so much to contend with. It’s a constant process of testing my limits, understanding the risk around me, managing it and finding a way to continue despite everything the world and my body throws at me. My aching legs, my tired mind, the driving rain, the loneliness, cold and fear. All of these are enemies in my objective to climb the mountain, but I learn how to persist and drive forward. It’s resilience.

The times we get up

Rocky Balboa said “it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. Champions are made when they get to what feels like the end of the road, to the bottom of the tank, to the darkest of moments, and they find a way to pick themselves up and keep moving forward.

I practise this every time I set myself a challenge that requires me to fight for what I want and who I believe I can be. If I wanted to stay the same, I would stay in the comfort of my home and do the same things I’ve always done.

The power of resilience

I don’t want to stay the same. Not in the same place, nor be the same person. I want to grow, learn, adapt and discover how I can be the very best version of myself.

That person is a resilient person. A person who can keep moving forward when it becomes hard, cold, lonely, I run out of money. When I fall over, or someone closes a door in front of me and says “you can’t do that”. After years of training, I’ve learnt how to give strength to the voice inside that says “yes you can” and I find a way to make it happen.