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  • Writer's pictureSkye Deane

Building resilience and Mental Strength

What an amazing couple of weeks. The brilliant performance of Emma Raducanu, our Regaining your Mojo kicking off, as well as our 3-month Resilient Women Leaders programme which started on Wednesday night with 9 awesome women. Different stories to tell, different stages in career and different ambitions and lives. Just a great mix of individuals who will benefit from applying the Resilient Leaders Elements framework building confidence both personally and professionally.

Today though, we take you back to the story of Emma Raducanu, a young athlete who has triumphed with the most amazing achievement of winning the US Tennis Open at the age of 18. There has been a lot in the media about: what it takes to be a champion - talent, positive attitude, determination, grit and discipline; conversations around the supporting team around her; insights into how her mental strength took her from dropping out of Wimbledon (she got to the last 16 by the way) to then winning the US Open?

Clarity of Direction: Strategic Intent, Unifying Purpose and Determination

Emma and her team had clear direction to match her talent, ambition and hard work. Consequently, the strategy was created to make sure she was in the best form, both physically and mentally to compete. They all communicated so everyone was clear on their role in getting Emma to where she needed to be, whether that was through psychological preparation, physio, nutrition or logistics to name a few. Ultimately to ensure everyone knew what direction they were going in and why, so everyone had the determination and belief to achieve it.

Awareness: Self, Others and Environment

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of Emma and those in her team supported robust decision making, in regard to training and recovery. Knowing how to get the best out of others, depending on the environment and the situation, means you can prepare for high performance. Overdoing it, pushing too hard or not enough can put individuals under the wrong type of pressure. Understanding what it looks like for individuals when they go from pressure to stress means you can manage situations better and make even better decisions. Exactly what is needed in the workplace too.

Leadership Presence: Authenticity, Serving and Intention

I think we can all agree that Emma is nothing but authentic, and we really hope she can hold on to this. Being who you are is so empowering. Knowing what motivates you, what drives you, what you value, this is where high performance can happen because you are not having to be someone you are not. No pretense, just you, doing what you do best. The intent is always to follow the strategy, with everyone involved knowing that every decision they make serves the purpose ie supporting Emma to be the best she can be. If a decision is not in service to the strategy and to Emma’s performance, then they don’t do it. It just becomes simpler.

Resilient Decision-Making including facets of Robust, Versatility, Creative

We are all met with many decisions to make. How do we know they are the best decisions for us? If we have clarity of direction, awareness of ourselves and others around us, if we live authentic lives and live by our values, our decisions become easier and more robust. Every decision made by Emma’s team will have taken into consideration these key elements making sure the decisions had versatility because we know situations change so we need to be flexible and creative.

What Next?

But what happens next. How will the team be building up Emma’s resilience now? She will certainly need it because she has just become a huge star practically overnight. We just hope the team keep supporting her, keep a clear direction of where the next chapter is to take her, allowing for shifts in environment, support her so she doesn’t go from pressure to stress and then to overwhelm, which is often a hard place to come back from. Keep her grounded and fully determined to stay on this path of amazing talent and tennis achievements.

Her performance coach, Andrew Richardson, has said

"For me, the biggest strength she has is the mind, I think everything starts with the mind and the strength she has shown throughout the trip; and the resilience she showed. Her ability to deal with adversity and compete is where it all starts. I've known her from a young age, and she's always had that. I think a lot of it is parenting, and her parents should take a lot of credit for the person Emma is. The mental strength she has is truly special."

Building mental strength can be taught and our belief is the Resilient Leaders Elements framework, when applied to personal and professional lives, is the structure from which this growth starts.

So are you clear on your direction? Do you have that awareness of not only your own strengths and weaknesses but those in your team and family so you can make the most robust decisions? Are you leading with your values?

If you'd like to know more about our Leadership offering including our Resilient Women Leaders specific programme, 1:1 coaching and team performance workshops, we'd love to hear from you. Alongside private work for individuals and teams, we also run open programmes to provide world-class leadership development to all. Our up and coming open courses are:-

Our next Regaining your Mojo Programme starts on November 1st. Find out More

Our next Resilient Women Leaders Programme starts in January 2022. Find out More

Alex Webb and I work together on the Resilient Women Leaders programme supporting women to be confident in who they are and what they do.

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