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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Adu-Awuku

How to use patience and practise to become a resilient professional

Updated: Mar 30

Be resilient



In short, the scenic route is the practice of slowing down your career momentum with the aim of going further in your career. We're no longer on the scenic route. The Consulting hustle has been screaming for attention so we're back at the hustle full tilt…


There were signs since the last few weeks of December; working remotely in Johannesburg, I had to balance project work with submitting my Masters dissertation. It was very much 3am bedtime and 7am wake up times, while the whole country was on holiday - tough but I got it down. Afterwards, it was back to the status quo of balancing my lifestyle and Consulting. I was back in Riyadh and ready to start 2024 strong; resolutions were set, I just had to execute!

 

A consultant's arena


I set a lot of tough resolutions focused on my career, fitness, travelling and growing my passions. Execution requires lots of energy and discipline, but so far so good. The complication comes in maintaining consistency across my resolutions while being a world class consultant with Efficio - this starts to become a very demanding, although amazing schedule. Travelling to the client at a moment’s notice, ad hoc work that’s ambiguous and urgent, continuous refinement of deliverable reports, and ofcourse time pressure are the main demands that I had to deal with in the last three weeks.


The rigours of Consulting aren’t new to me but it still takes some getting used to. I stuck to the status quo, prioritised my tasks on a daily and weekly basis to ensure I wasn’t missing anything important. I was hyperfocused on my resilience as this becomes a very slippery slope during difficult times. I kept the excuses to a minimum - I stuck to two daily workout sessions, at least one hour of daily check-ins with the crew (I miss them so much), and eating as healthy as possible. It was mostly check, check, check on my resilience habits except my sleep. The only habit I couldn’t navigate, I just had so much to do. I had to bite the bullet and get used to four hours of sleep, which I managed well by working out and staying healthy.

 

The extra mile is crowded, keep going


But hang on, I had to deal with another complication. My Masters dissertation needed an article write-up and examiner comments addressed in parallel to finalising a client deliverable - tough times were here to stay! It became overwhelming to plan my days, so I focused on what I could control and executed as best as I could. Hence the four-hour sleep cycles. I couldn’t get around it no matter how fast I worked through my tasks - the pressure kept on piling. I was reaching breaking point. Physically I could manage, I was worried about my mental resilience. Flashbacks of December were vivid in my mind. I preferred to avoid that pain; the irony was I was already in it… I just needed a break, a pause to recollect my thoughts for the project’s final week. Luckily for me, the Saudi Founding Day holiday came at just the right time. It’s been a good day of recovering, gathering my thoughts, and writing this blog. I’ll need the weekend to fully recover but so far so good…


The last two months have pushed my resilience to new limits, for the next time I need bucketloads of resilience. For now, let’s get back to the status quo of balancing my lifestyle and Consulting. Resilience is a skill you should always nurture. You don't need a pressured situation to become resilient, you can simply build resilience into your daily life to prepare you for demanding, difficult situations. Here’s a shortlist of habits I focused on to keep my resilience as high as possible:

  • Use 15 minutes every morning to write down and prioritise three tasks you need to accomplish for the day. As time goes, stretch this to 30 minutes, and eventually plan your day one/two days in advance

  • Train and meditate for 30 minutes at least three times a week. To get the most out of your workout routine, aim for at least seven hours of sleep on the days you workout

  • Use one weekend out of a six-week period to rest and recover. This acts as a quick mental reset, boosting your energy and resilience in the short-term

  • Use one hour out of your weekend to plan your week in advance. This creates visibility in your schedule, empowering you to balance your busy periods with rest periods in order to sustain high performance longer

  • Take a two-week cooldown after a busy period. Switching to the “scenic route” helps recovery - focus on two/three easily achievable goals. These could be in the form of setting a routine sleep cycle, focusing on your family, or ticking an item off your resolution list

  • Ask for support from your colleagues when you need it. This is a hallmark of a dream team - the willingness to support each other to be resilient


I’ve been practising resilience long before I started my Consulting career so these habits are very natural for me. Pause and reflect on what resilience habits will work best for you. You'll fail repeatedly at learning resilience but don't be discouraged. Keep learning, experiment with your approach, and trust the process. Start small, become consistent, go big, and keep practising. Apart from improving your career endurance, building resilience into your life also benefits your health, your stress control, and your attitude towards life. Start building your resilience habits now, your future self will thank you.


Keep tuning in to The Consulting Diaries on Championship Mode Collective to learn and practise resilience. Stay in Championship Mode. Follow Championship Mode Collective on YouTube and Instagram to help grow the reach of this blog.


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