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Personal resilience, Day 1 – 2nd of March 2020

Thank you for joining our month-long focus upon resilience and wellbeing. Each day, Monday to Friday, for the month of March we will be sending out an email encouraging you to think about how you can build your resilience, and how this will help build the resilience of your farm business. These emails (you can sign-up here) support the Resilience for the Future workshops which were run by the Farm Advisory Service over the last year. In a number of these emails, we will encourage you to complete some self-review exercises. These should take no more than 10 minutes.

Day 1 – 2nd of March 2020

Why focus upon resilience?

We live in a world of constant change and uncertainty.  Inevitably, this results in challenges.  Responding in a way that is right for us requires resilience.  Lack of resilience has an impact upon our physical and mental wellbeing.  It can have a negative impact upon our relationships and our ability to make good decisions.  The good news is that we all have resilience and we can strengthen our resilience so that when we are tested, we are more like to bounce back and cope.

Losing a job, ending a marriage or moving to another place are examples of changes that many people have experienced.  We lose out on something important, a big plan collapses, or we are rejected by someone.  Another way of expressing this feeling of loss is that a door is being closed.  Many of us want these situations to come to an end as quickly as possible and move on.  Reflecting upon our experience is an easy way to develop our resilience.

Please see the worksheet below to enable you to reflect upon your own experience.

Closing door exercise instructions


Think about a time in your life where someone rejected you or you missed out on something important or when a big plan collapsed. These would be points in your life where a door closed. Now think about what happened after: what doors opened after? What would have never happened if the first door didn’t close? Write down these experiences (write as many experiences as possible that come to mind).

The door that closed on me was:


The new door that opened for me was:


Now, reflect upon your experiences and respond to the following questions:

  • What led to the door closing? What helped you open the new door?
  • How long did it take you to realize that a new door was open?
  • Was it easy or hard for you to realize that a new door was open?
  • What prevented you from seeing the new open door?
  • What can you do next time to recognize the new opportunity sooner?
  • What were the effects of the door closing on you? Did it last long?
  • Did the experience bring anything positive?
  • Which character strengths did you use in this exercise?
  • What does a closed door represent to you now
  • What did you learn from the door closing?
  • Is there more room for growth from these types of experiences?
  • Is there a closed door that you still wish to see open?

Now think of all the people that have helped you open doors in the past. What did they do to help you? And what could you do to help others?




‘Resilience’ is a word we hear often these days, and is key to successfully navigating change. As any who went on the Doug Avery tour will know, how you feel has a big impact on how you deal with change.

My name is Mary-Jane Lawrie and I run the Developing People topic of the Farm Advisory Service and over the past year I’ve been organising the resilience workshops for FAS which have taken place across the country.   This month-long resilience campaign came off the back of the workshops we’ve run and allow people from across the country to get involved if they didn’t have meeting close by.

I’d love to heard from you if you’ve got any feedback about the exercises and advice that will be a part of the campaign.  I’d also love to hear how the campaign has helped you! The workshops had a really positive impact so it would be great to hear what worked for you.  You can email me here.

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