Are you prepared for The New Order?


We have yet to fully understand the consequences of the damage done to the economy and how those consequences will play out.  Many of us will experience challenges to our health, relationships, mental health, finances, education and employment. Those with a healthy degree of  personal resilience will adapt better than those without it. Here are some tips for developing personal resilience.


1. Take On Challenges

Human beings are beasts of burden. We are built to contend with the world and with the problems life serves up to us. Understanding that ‘being happy’ is not a meaningful goal in itself and is not the default state for most of the people most of the time,  we can learn to embrace difficulties and deal with the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ as someone famous once said. Being open to and moving towards new challenges in our lives is something that all resilient people do. If it’s easy then it’s not a challenge.


2. Start Small

You already know what you should be doing to make yourself a better person, but take it easy to begin with. Set yourself some goals that are achievable and have a good chance of success. Begin by establishing a simple routine. Don’t set the goal of running a marathon or changing the world. Fix the small things in your life that you know you can do. Before setting out to renovate the whole house, just try cleaning and tidying up one room. Recognise the small things you have control over and take small steps to bring order where there is chaos. What’s important isn’t necessarily the thing you are doing but the fact that you are taking forward steps to meet an uncertain future. You are demonstrating to yourself and to others that you are the person who goes forth to meet the challenges rather than shrinking from them.


3. Don’t Make Excuses

We are all prone to blame others for problems in our lives and, whether we are right about apportioning blame or not, this is not a mindset that will help us to overcome adversity. There are clear advantages to blaming others but if we are honest with ourselves we know there is something we can do ourselves to make things better. There will always be ‘good reasons’ for not doing what we know we should be doing. We may or may not know exactly what those things should be but to make excuses by blaming other people, or bad luck or the weather, is not the way forward. The only thing more insidious and counter- productive than making up excuses for our inaction involves the game of trying to extract sympathy for our plight in an attempt to be absolved of the responsibility to do what needs to be done.


4. Develop Resilience

In the post-pandemic world there is a crisis of confidence and security in our capacity to  keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy and safe. It’s never a good idea to feel too safe. The world is a dangerous place and feeling safe may offer some comfort, but it may also lead to complacency.  Developing personal resilience is akin to strengthening our immune system and having our own PPE to protect us from the harmful stresses and anxieties that can bombard us when we worry about an uncertain future. Better to feel strong and alert, rather than merely ‘safe’.


5. Toughen Up

‘You need to toughen up’  is not a popular message to put out there and may be seen by some as offensive and unhelpful.  ‘Toughen up’ is just a short-hand way of saying ‘Increase your tolerance for discomfort and pain’.  You may not know it but you are tougher than you think. No one gets to be strong without going through experiences that have hurt them in some way. No one gets to be strong lying in the sunshine and being fed peeled grapes all day.  There comes a point when you may need to stand up to a bully, to weather a storm or to endure physical or mental distress in your life.  The idea is to willingly expose yourself to small doses of those things that cause you distress with the aim of building up a tolerance for them.  Initially this just means thinking about them and imagining how you will confront them. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)  uses this technique to build psychological tolerance.  Mental strength and tolerance, like physical tolerance and endurance, is only achieved through practice and a willingness to accept some level discomfort or pain.


6. Become Disciplined

Discipline is all about imposing order on chaos. If you want to be good at anything in life you need to practice and the most effective and efficient way to achieve mastery at anything is to adopt a disciplined approach.  Designing a schedule and sticking to is one of the most powerful things you can do to set yourself on the right path. Acknowledging at the beginning  of every day that your resilience will be challenged in ways you have not yet imagined, will in itself help to prepare you. Practicing disciplines like gratitude, mindfulness and setting yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals will all help you to become better able to adapt in the face of an unknown and potentially chaotic future.


7. Just Do It  

Once upon a time you learned to walk. Then you learned to run.  You may have learned to ride a bike or to swim. You probably didn’t get it right first time. You probably learned in a place where there was a carpet, or a paddling pool or had training wheels. You more than likely fell over or floundered around at some point but in the end you learned by doing it. Then once you did it a few times you demonstrated to yourself and others that you could do it and you had the confidence to carry on doing it without even thinking about it.  The one thing we know about the future is that it will contain surprises for us. We also know that we will be called up to respond to it in some fashion. The choices we make will be influenced by our confidence in our ability to adapt. In many ways resilience is about response-ability. Those who respond best are those who have practiced. Those who just do it.


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The Uncertain Future

We didn’t need COVID-19 to remind us that we live in a highly complex and unpredictable world. ‘Twas was ever thus. It doesn’t matter how much data or information we have at our disposal, we never have, and we never will, be able to predict with certainty what will happen next.

In the 1980’s a university Professor by the name of Philip Tetlock conducted a long-term research project where he gathered 284 experts from various disciplines including government officials, professors, journalists, and others. They had different opinions, beliefs and political persuasions. What they had in common was a high degree of knowledge and experience and a proven ability to apply logic and assess the likelihood of probable outcomes. They were known as ‘super-forecasters’. This twenty-year experiment involved asking thousands of questions and making thousands of predictions about the economy, science, politics, climate and social issues.  Tetlock concluded that the ‘Super-forecasters’ performed only marginally better than a child might if they were making random predictions. It’s interesting to note that forecasters most often called forth by the news media to offer predictions were particularly bad at predicting the future.

Everything is obvious once you know the answer. But what are the questions we ought to be asking?

  • What exactly do we mean by uncertainty?
  • What causes uncertainty?
  • What are the consequences of uncertainty?
  • How do we as individuals and a society react to uncertainty?

We can’t deal with all these questions here but there is one we can address.

What should we do in response to an unpredictable future that holds both our dreams and our nightmares?

We do not what we ought
And what we ought not, we do
And lean upon the thought
That chance will see us through
Empedocles on Etna – Mathew Arnold

The trick is not to lean on chance too heavily but to do what we ought and stop doing what ought not.

It seems pertinent to employ a certain metaphor at this time which, although has its limitations, may go some way to help us understand how we can prepare. In applying some, if not all, of the suggestions below you will build an immunity to the fear and anxiety that so often accompanies uncertainty about the future. We can build individual immunity and if enough of us think and behave in just some of the ways suggested here, we can develop herd immunity. These 10 responses are a vaccine against the fear, stress and anxiety that feeds on uncertainty. Attention-grabbing apocalyptic stories in the media and other sources cannot infect us if we have already developed our own antibodies to fear.

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System Against Fear About The Future.

  1. Focus On What You Can Control: We often forget just how much freedom we have to react to events by choosing to think and behave in one way or another. Separate out the things you can control from those you cannot. Look at the options open to you and make the decision not to driven by fear and anxiety.
  2. Look For The Opportunities: The fear of chaos is just like the fear of uncertainty and where there is chaos there is opportunity. We can at least look for the upside. Just when things start to look like they’re falling apart, they may well be actually falling together. Seek out the positives and you will find them. Learn a few quotations, sayings and parables. They are powerful because they often contain ancient wisdom learned the hard way. We all know that every cloud has a silver lining.
  3. Avoid Avoidance: Be honest with yourself and make a plan for what you will do if your fears do indeed come to fruition. Face up to uncertainty by allowing your imagination to accept the consequences of the very things you fear may happen. What will you do? Will you lie down and give up or will you keep moving forwards? Having a plan can give you comfort, but don’t obsess about it. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
  4. Reflect On What You Think May Be ‘Good’ And ‘Bad’ Outcomes: It is said that the Chinese Premier, Chou En Lai, when asked to assess the impact of the French Revolution replied: “It’s too soon to tell.” Think back over the times when something you considered really bad happened only to realise that but for that ‘bad’ event, a whole series of good things would never have followed. It’s a fact that but for some ‘bad’ things happening in the lives of your parents, you wouldn’t even exist.
  5. Follow Your Own Advice: What would you say to someone you loved, or at least really cared for, who came to you with worries about their future? Think of the guidance you might offer a child who was fearful about the times ahead – then apply that guidance to yourself.
  6. Embrace ‘Failure’ And ‘Mistakes’: Adopting a learning mind set means accepting that the most profound learning experiences often come from making mistakes. History is littered with the mistakes and so-called failures of individuals that ultimately led to great discoveries. Point 4 applies here also. Don’t think of mistakes as bad or good; they are necessary. A mistake is just an event you haven’t yet turned to your advantage.
  7. Adopt a Routine: One of the most worrying things about chaos and the future is that you don’t know what happens next. The future is unrealised potential where virtually anything can happen and that is worrisome. If you develop daily routines then you really can impose your own order and predictability on things. A routine is just one of the ways in which you take control (see point 1).
  8. Manage Your Anxiety: Take steps to reduce stress and anxiety in general. There are lots of things you can do as part of your daily routine to change the way you think and behave. Learn mindfulness techniques, get plenty of exercise, watch what you eat and drink. Recognise the triggers that make you feel stressed. Sometimes it’s best to avoid these triggers but often it is good to address them head on and deal with them. Practicing these things once again emphasises the degree to which you may take control, not of the future events but your response to them. An anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body.
  9. Take Risks: But not with your personal safety. Moving out of your comfort zone involves risk. How often do you do this? Sometimes taking risk is invigorating and other times terrifying. You can manage the risks you take and just observe what happens to you when it doesn’t pay off. Learn to fail or fail to learn.
  10. Keep An Eye Out For The Absurdity Of It All: As with so many important ‘life-hacks’ and tips, keep a sense of humour and keep things in perspective. Remember what our ancestors went through and imagine what they would say about your fears and your ‘first world problems’.

It’s widely believed Benjamin Franklin was the first to say: “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes”. Others say it was an English actor by the name of Christopher Bullock. You see we can’t even be certain about the past. What chance do we have in predicting the future?

Don’t try to predict the future. Just be prepared for it as best you can.

Here is a list of all the other free courses available on the Wellbeing Ecosystem for subscribers.

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Learning about resilience isn’t just for adult workers. It’s about children, teenagers and whole families.

We have added three new titles to our course list. Subscribers to the Well being Ecosystem now have free access to online learning for themselves and their families.

  • Resilience and Me for Children
  • Improving Emotional Resilience For Teenagers
  • Resilient Families

Here is a list of all the other free courses available on the Wellbeing Ecosystem for subscribers.


Latest Topics


Identify What’s Important To You  


The Role of Self-discipline

Support Without Judgement

How Mental Health Affects Every Aspect of Life

Employees increasingly need Resilience, Adaptability and Creativity

As a result of technological advances and demographic changes, more than six million people in the UK are currently employed in occupations that are likely to change radically or disappear entirely over the next few years. Here are just a few sectors that will be significantly affected. In no particular order …

  • Telemarketing
  • Customer Service
  • Retail Staff
  • Accountancy Roles
  • Till Cashiers and Bank Tellers
  • Logistics
  • Construction
  • Warehousing

A recent labour market report states that employers are looking for individuals with key transferable skills like resilience, adaptability and creativity and these are more important than paper qualifications. For as long as I can remember, employers have voiced concerns that recruits from education are not sufficiently prepared for the world of work. But it’s not just the young. Without the ability to adapt, older workers too, are at risk of becoming trapped in insecure, low-value, low-pay employment – or worse, forced out of work altogether. Here are 10 rules or truths about the world of work.

10 Truths of Hiring and Firing:

  1. Nobody owes you a job
  2. You have to compete to get a job – You need tenacity and creativity. You need resilience.
  3. You need to adapt to keep a job. There are no guarantees. Loyalty, years of service friendships are not enough to keep you in a job.
  4. You may quit your job any time you want to and without any warning to or much notice, leave your employer ‘high and dry’.
  5. Your employer may make you redundant or fire you at any time. They may do this because they can’t afford you, or your job has become obsolete, or the business is collapsing.
  6. If you quit your job you may do everything in your power to help your employer find a suitable replacement – or you may do nothing.
  7. If you are fired or made redundant your employer may do everything in their power to help you find other employment – or they may do nothing.
  8. As you look back you may decide that your employer treated you well and in accordance with their publicly stated values or you may look back and decide they treated you badly and in direct contradiction to their stated values.
  9. If you are the only one to be ‘let go’ you may find that other employees will promise to support you and fight to save your job. On the other hand, they may do nothing at all to help you.
  10. When faced with the need to adapt you may embrace the opportunity to learn new skills or you may choose not to.

Accepting all of the above, you are a rare and unique individual no matter how the world of work treats you. Your worth is not defined simply by your work but by your spirit, your dignity, your compassion towards others and your resilience.

(Adapted from ‘What Colour is Your Parachute?’ Richard Nelson Bolles)

We at Embrace want to hear from organisations about the challenges they face and how online tools can support workers at risk from new technologies or restructuring.

Click here

For organisations that engage with us, we offer two prize draws per year and award the winners with a 6-month subscription package to our support system for their entire workforce free of charge.

Contact Mike Burke 0161 928 9987 or

Adapt or fail. This is the essence of resilience.

The ‘Stages of Change’ is a behaviour change model used widely in psychology and addiction therapies. It has something of real value to offer those wishing to manage change in their own lives and improve their resilience and mental health.

It’s safe to say that Mental Health is now firmly on the agenda for employers of all shapes and sizes. There is quite rightly, a lot of energy going in to promoting messages calling for people to talk more about mental health. However, one of the problems is that talking about mental health all too quickly turns in to talking about mental illness.

The medical model focusses on mental illness and looks for symptoms. It arrives at a diagnosis and then offers treatment options to the patient. In other words, mental illness (such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorder) is treated in much the same way as one might respond to a physical diagnosis.

The psycho-social approach takes a different approach to mental health by focussing not on treatments for an illness, but what can be done by the individual to improve their mental health. This approach is sometimes criticised because it appears to ‘blame’ the individual. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the message of building resilience. It’s not about blaming and it’s not just about the individual. It is about taking responsibility for the choices we make and, when necessary (and possible), to change the environment around us.

Applying what we know about behavioural psychology to promote resilience through change is becoming increasingly popular as a tool to improve mental health, emotional resilience and physical wellbeing.

What is the ‘Stages of Change’ model?

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Cycle of Change’ or the ‘transtheoretical model’, it is a way of understanding behaviour change that was pioneered by two American psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente in their work on mental health and addiction.

The model describes a cycle of change because the stages a person goes through in making changes to their life are often not linear, but cyclical and they often follow a sequence.

The stages of change are identified as:

  1. Pre-contemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparing to Change
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance
  6. Relapse

Guiding Principles

There are underpinning principles which help to guide the person through the various steps involved in making long term sustainable changes in their life.

  • Be honest in your assessment of yourself
  • Believe in your capacity to change
  • Don’t seek to be ‘happy’. Aim to be authentic
  • Develop your own personal routines.

How does it help you to become more resilient?

The stages of change model underlines the importance of motivation and helps us to adapt our responses to adversity. It emphasises the power we have to make choices and voluntarily expose ourselves to the risks and benefits of change.

One way or another, adversity and change is going to come in to our lives. It is our response to adversity that defines us as resilient or fragile in any situation. Just as talking through our thought processes with a counsellor can be therapeutic, so can writing our thoughts down. The e-learning course offered by Embrace Resilience contains this therapeutic writing dimension which helps to bring clarity and relevance when thinking about change and resilience.

For more information on the Change and Resilience e-learning courses, contact Mike Burke or call 0161 928 9987.

Reasons for employers to provide learning opportunities.

The menopause is generally seen as a personal matter rather than an issue for employers, but it is increasingly acknowledged that supporting the health and wellbeing of the workforce is an investment that will pay off for the employer in all kinds of ways.  Any employee who feels their organisation is serious about supporting them is more likely be more engaged, more productive and more loyal. 10% of women leave their jobs because of their menopausal symptoms.

What if male and female managers were aware of how the menopause impacts the workforce? In research conducted by the British Menopause Society 47% of women surveyed, who are in employment and who needed to take a day off because of the menopause, said they would not feel comfortable disclosing the real reason to their employer or colleagues.

The single most impactful thing an organisation can do to support women on this issue is to provide useful information, advice and guidance to both men and women at all levels of the organisation.

Three Employee Benefits from learning about mental health, resilience and the menopause.

Be prepared

For younger women, simply having an idea of what to expect can be a huge benefit. Understanding the menopause before it starts can give them time to prepare. For one thing it would help with the anxiety that comes with not knowing what’s happening or why it’s happening.

Women already going through the menopause, when armed with accurate information, advice and guidance, will be much better placed to take control and manage symptoms.

Treatment Options

Knowing about options for treatments can make a huge difference and may come as a great relief for some women.

20% Sail through with hardly any symptoms

60% Have relatively minor and manageable symptoms

20% Have severe problems that can go on for years after menopause.

For around 20% of women there can be severe physical and psychological symptoms arising from the hormonal changes associated with the menopause. Night sweats and mood swings and aches and pains are some of the common ones but there are often complex issues that require medical intervention.

Take control

Menopause and Mental Health is a resilience issue. There are things you can do and choices you can make to adapt to the changes resulting from the menopause.  You can take steps to address symptoms and at the same time grasp the opportunities provided at this transitional time in a women’s life. Understanding the extent to which you can take control is the essence of resilience.

What we mean by taking control is making choices about medial treatments such as HRT and other lifestyle options available. Taking time to ask questions such as:

  • What steps can I take to improve my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing?
  • Who do I need to speak to about the symptoms I am experiencing?
  • What changes can I make to the way I think and behave that will improve things for me and my loved ones?

Learning opportunities afforded by online learning can go a long way to help women answer these questions.

Online Learning – Well informed people tend to make well informed decisions.

Embrace have developed a useful e-learning course where learners will be able to:

  • List common symptoms and apply guidance on how to respond to them
  • Take steps to adapt to changes in the mind and body brought on by the menopause
  • Describe the links between mental health and the menopause
  • Describe the basic changes brought on by perimenopause and menopause
  • Describe treatments available for women going through the menopause
  • Make a judgement concerning the risk factors associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy HRT

For more information contact James Clarke

Tel: 0161 928 9987

Here is a list of trusted sources of information:

The British Menopause Society


NICE Guidance on the Menopause  

If you’re a primary school head, working in Leicestershire or Rutland and if you have an interested in exploring the emotional process of transition between primary and secondary education,  the Embrace team would love to hear from you.

embrace resilience KS2 leavers

Year 6  leaver shirt – I will miss you

We’re in the process of creating brand new e-learning resources designed to build personal resilience and develop coping skills in young people at school and at home.

The goal is to prepare kids for this famously tricky journey of separation and independence, encourage them to adopt a positive outlook and stay in great emotional shape through the trials and tribulations of the year seven experience.

This is an exciting opportunity to form an ongoing partnership with a group of creative professionals and see your ideas and experience brought to life in our really useful e-learning modules.

For more information, call or email /0161 928 9987