Six Strategies to Face Life’s Challenges

Last week I attended a special briefing for psychologists on the Queensland floods. The lecture theatre was packed with over 300 people. Seven distinguished panelists faced us from the front — all researchers and practitioners in the field of disaster recovery. Over the next two hours these experts shared some amazing insights into helping people prepare for and recover from traumatic life events.

Their recommendations could be applied to anyone facing significant business or personal loss.

How to Build Psychological Resilience

One presenter who particularly impressed me was Professor Richard Bryant, a quietly spoken but impassioned researcher, who captivated us with stories of his work helping people around the world come to terms with disasters including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian Tsunami and the Victorian bushfires.

He shared six strategies for building psychological resilience, based on a significant body of research. These would also be useful to anyone in a franchisee support role. (By the way, if you want more in-depth material on this topic you can download a free Franchisee Support Kit developed by the FRI team in response to the floods. Over 400 franchisors have downloaded the Kit so far). Here are Professor Bryant’s six strategies:

  1. Clarify the problem. Just helping someone clarify the problem and name their fears or concerns can be a huge benefit. For instance you may feed this back to them, “It sounds like your biggest concern at the moment is …”
  2. Support problem solving. One powerful technique is to identify what is and is not under a person’s control. Then to explore possible solutions and break these down into manageable action steps.
  3. Encourage positive activities. It is useful if people can get themselves into a productive routine doing small, meaningful, practical activities. This helps to improve mood and sense of control.
  4. Promote helpful thinking. Our thoughts influence our moods so unhelpful thoughts such as “The whole situation is hopeless” should be challenged and replaced with more realistic thoughts such as “Yes, there are specific problems which are frustrating, but the whole situation is not hopeless.”
  5. Encourage calm. Techniques to stay calm include slowing down, practicing some simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, or writing out one’s thoughts in a journal.
  6. Engage with supportive social networks. Connecting with people or groups who care, helps to build our capacity to cope with life’s challenges and can be a powerful antidote to feelings of discouragement and despair. This is the most important strategy of all.

The Power of Collegial Support

I came away from this event feeling inspired and refreshed. It reminded me of the power of being in a room with likeminded colleagues and the value of having access to passionate experts who have useful information to share. It also enthused me about our Multi-Unit Franchising Summit coming up in Melbourne on March 10th and 11th where over 100 franchisors and franchisees from different brands, and some of Australia’s leading experts, are coming together to share their insights on this vital topic. (Click here to see which brands have registered so far).

There is nothing like getting together with a group of high calibre colleagues to stay fresh, focused and motivated. I recommend it.

This posting is part of the "Greg's Tips for Healthy Franchise Relationship" series. If you would like to receive these tips send your details to subscriptions@franchiserelationships.com

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