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What the Six (Ex) Wives taught me about building resilience

Everyday adventures come in many forms

I talk a lot about pushing yourself on physical adventures outdoors - but on Saturday night I was indoors, but more out of my comfort zone than I have been in a long time…

In fact, staring at around 100 faces - and some very bright lights - as I heard the opening bars of “Don’t Lose Your Head”, I was completely terrified. 

And given my experiences of solo singing were limited to drunken karaoke renditions of “I will survive”  20 odd years ago, I had a pretty good reason to be concerned. 

How did I get here?

Well, back in early January, our lovely choir director announced we were performing a showcase of the songs we’d been working on & she also needed a few soloists. I’m obsessed with the musical SIX and that was one of our songs…plus I always feel bad for people when no one puts themselves forward (which, incidentally, is the root cause of most of the trouble I’ve got myself into over the years 🫣).

Of course, I volunteered 

So, there I was, approx 5 weeks later exhibiting every text book symptom of stage fright. But I was already too far in to run…

So I stayed - and I sang! 

I won’t pretend it went perfectly 😳 - there was a missed cue, some jumbled up words and at one point my vocal cords felt like they had packed up and left the country. 

But, what I lacked in musical ability was definitely made up for by my commitment to facial expression 😁 (my 6th form drama teacher would be proud!) 

I spend a lot of time talking to clients about how important risking failure is to building resilience. Most of our time as adults is spent perfecting the things we are already good at and we tend to actively avoid those things we think we can’t do. We can’t risk the shame. 

The problem is, that this avoidance stops us from really growing. From challenging our own self imposed limitations - “I am good at this, I’m not good at that”. And from building the muscle memory that tells us “it will be ok”. 

 And why does it even matter if we’re any good when we start? Because we can always improve - but the hardest part is usually showing up at all. 

I am no better at singing today than I was on Saturday night. But I have developed my belief in my ability to manage hard moments that little bit further - and now I have the photos to prove it 

PS thanks to the brilliant photographer from Forres Sandle Manor School for capturing this beauty and many more!

Nicki Bass is a Business Psychologist and founder of Resilience at Work


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