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Soldiering On

Two minute read.

To ‘soldier on’ is to continue doing something even though it is difficult.

We often admire people for doing so and hear phrases such as ‘I really admired the way she soldiered on when her department ran into trouble’.

Let’s now talk about the R word. Resilience.

Resilience and soldiering on often go side by side. And both phrases can be misunderstood, with consequences that have the potential to be very damaging for leaders and those they lead.

These words aren’t about just pushing on regardless. They aren’t about having a typically British, stiff upper lip and not being phased by anything. Nor are they about a particular set of personality traits that mean some people are more able to do this than others.

To believe any of these things is dangerous because these beliefs encourage us to ‘bottle things up’ and try to hide our wobbles. We must never allow ourselves or those we lead to believe that to falter and get knocked down is a sign of weakness, because it’s not. It simply means that we’re human.

As Alfred said to Bruce Wayne:

“Why do we fall, Sir?

So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Resilience is about taking care of ourselves so that we can continue doing something, despite it being difficult.

The most resilient people and organisations think about this on three levels. Before, during and after.

1. Before. What can I do now so that I am able to cope when things become difficult? This is about training and preparation.

2. During. What can I do when things are difficult to maintain my performance? This is about maintaining our physical and mental health, pausing to recover when we can and maintaining focus.

3. After. What can I/we do once the difficulties have passed to recharge and learn so that we’re better able to cope next time?

Whichever phase you’re in right now, build a plan to ensure that you and your people are able to continue doing the things that are difficult. Especially when we’re not entirely sure where the finishing line is.

If you need more support and guidance, take a look at my new Weekly Planning Protocol short course that you can access for free until 31st March 2021, or get in touch via

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