By Rebecca Savvides
Rebecca Savvides from Deloitte’s TechWorks team gives a personal account of resilience.
For those who don’t know me, I’m Rebecca, Beccy, Bex, Bec, Becca. A Professional. A Wife. A Mummy. A Daughter. A Sister. An Aunty. A Godmother. A Friend. A Colleague. So many faces, so many roles, so many jobs to do and so few hours in the day! Some days I feel like I’m failing at more than one of them and on others I feel the luckiest person in the world.
But I think of this quote, and know that it’s true.
“Women are some of the most resilient creatures. Appreciate them.”
If there is one thing that COVID and the past twelve months has taught me, in fact all of us, is that we are resilient. But the convergence of our personal and professional lives in lockdown has really tested us and magnified pressure from all angles. And for me, as a woman its been hard. Especially as I have little ones who lean on me to be their everything.
But what does resilience even mean?
“Resilience - the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties… spring back to shape."
A couple of years ago during a promotion process, someone questioned my resilience. Of course I came through with determination and I was promoted, but I still question what good resilience looks like.
I’m the first to admit since having my second child, I’m emotional. I’ll always be someone who’ll shed a tear in fear when watching Night Stalker or spring tears of joy at any wedding or christening; I get goosebumps when I hear of people who have faced pain or trouble and feel angry for others if I feel people have been wronged.
But is this a lack of resilience or is it empathy? And is it such a bad thing?
Resilience shows itself in different ways and none of us know the personal challenges others have faced. When I reflect back on my life, I’ve faced some really hard decisions. Those I’m willing to share include changing my first graduate job and stopping my first wedding. Even though I never talk about them, these are huge choices I made and steps on the journey that have made me the person I am today.
If I hadn’t changed my job with a retail firm, I wouldn’t be working at Deloitte. If I hadn’t ended my relationship, I’d never have met my wonderful husband and share the amazing life I have with him and my two small children. I’m very blessed and yes, I am resilient. But recovery took time.
We all make choices and, despite the pain some cause, we learn from them and should be proud of doing so. Maybe within society, we need to reframe our definition of resilience so it recognises that each of us is different and resilient at our own pace and in our own ways.
The pandemic has enabled us to focus on the things that matter, understand what frustrates us and what we love, and work out that family always comes first. But the restrictions have been brutal in their impact. They’ve taken away everything that we used to enjoy and made everything excruciatingly intense, but there is also something incredible that has come out of the pandemic.
It’s made us appreciate all of those around us we love and want to spend time with (and those we don’t). It’s made us desire touch and embraces that we once took for granted. It’s made us awaken a self-awareness about what makes us happy and for me, what makes my mind and wellness work. I understand myself and what’s good for me probably better than I ever have before.
Corona has tested people’s resilience all over the world. It has definitely taught us some life lessons. But it has also renewed our zest for life and joy. The sun is beginning to shine and hope is here. We are all united in this extraordinary and we should listen, be kind and appreciate each other.
I have to admit, more than once in the past 12 months my client meetings have been interrupted by a four year old spiderman. On occasion, I’ve also been so stressed and tired that I’ve left my desk (obviously now at home) to go to my bedroom to have a cry. Then I’ve wiped my face, put my concealer and lippy on, smiled and continued back on Zoom as if I were fine. As per the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of resilience, I ‘sprang back into shape’. I’m confident I’m not the only person who’s reached their limit, had a time out and done a quick repair job before continuing on.
Brits may be renowned for their ‘stiff’ upper lip, concealing how we truly feel, but this is not a barometer of resilience. Which leads me to wonder: what if the world was different and transparent, and we celebrated emotion rather than fear it, especially in the workplace?