Client story: Coping vs Breakthrough
Stories from the Resilience Engine Community of Practice: Yvette Elcock
“Working through the difference between soldiering on or what you described as breakthrough is very powerful. The difference between soldiering on and breakthrough is significant. The unfortunate trap here is that tenacity and endurance are seen as virtues, which they are and the ability to keep going has probably served as well in the past.
However, I would suggest that just coping is a very passive way of responding to a situation and comes at considerable cost which becomes attritional.
‘Breakthrough’ is the active management of a situation where one might decide it’s appropriate to endure for a short period, or change the circumstance, but either is an active decision and strategy. This can be more demanding initially because we have to maintain a broader perspective, assessing both the situation and our own state, and consider options. One has to resist the ‘perceptual narrowing’ that pressure and stress can generate.
For me tai chi gives a very useful, physical example and analogy. The principle in tai chi is to keep contact and so remain engaged and ‘listening’ to one’s partner/opponent whilst also staying soft, moving and turning. Again for me, the warning signs are the sense of pressure and when the focus is on the very immediate, or if I am thinking’ I just need get passed that Board meeting or those dates…
Just coping is a very passive form of endurance. ‘Breakthrough’ is more skilful, and so requires an initial investment of effort; but is empowering and more sustainable”.
CEO of mid sized organisation
We couldn’t say it any better.
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