If there’s one thing we’ve all needed a lot of this year – apart from love and caring – it’s resilience. 

Both 2020 and 2021 presented many challenges and no doubt 2022 will throw a few more our way. 

Stress and anxiety are never far away. The more resilient we are, the more we can deal with everything. 

It’s an easy thing to say ‘Be more resilient!. It’s much more helpful to share some tips on how to improve mental toughness ready for the year ahead. 

Here are some principles to guide you. 

Live with Purpose 

When life throws many challenges at you, it helps to know what the destination is. That gives you a direction to keep steering towards. 

When you paint a bigger picture, have a vision or follow a dream, you have something to aim for. You can focus on it, set priorities and be in a better position to ride the rougher waves. 

People find strength and energy when they have a purpose. It provides a foundation and a core for what they do. 

Having a higher purpose, and knowing you can make a difference to others, develops those muscles of resilience. 

My mission is to help assistants around the world be superheroes – confident, savvy and always in demand. 

Look After Mind and Body 

When you are tired and stressed, it’s much harder to manage work. It can lead to sleepless nights, listlessness and poor decision-making. 

I’m no ‘mind and body’ expert but there are some obvious things to consider. Eating more healthily. Drinking plenty of water. Taking exercise. And, of course, getting enough sleep. 

There will probably be times when work demands long, tough weeks. But there needs to be balance, otherwise, the result could be burnout. 

It’s also not good to be stuck in the house, apartment or office all day, every day. Finding time for fresh air, even if it’s in the garden or on the balcony, is important. Better still if it includes a stroll. A walk can do wonders. 

Other practices you could try include meditation, yoga, pilates and mindfulness. Even if you sit in silence and breathe slowly for just a few minutes each day, it can help to calm the mind. 

I have to confess I’m not the best at taking things easy. But last year I did recognise how important it was to take breaks and maintain energy levels. 

Be in Control 

In any given situation we are at choice. We can choose how we react and respond to what’s happening. 

Resilience is about how well you can maintain your self-control, even in the most difficult of circumstances. 

How well do you react to challenges? How well do you respond to criticism? How good are you at turning a negative into a positive? 

If this is an area of development for you, consider breathing exercises and reframing. Get to know what ‘presses your buttons’ and learn ways to stay in control. Research the topic. Hire a coach or other expert to help you. 

Improve Your Decision-Making 

People make decisions every day. Some are more important than others. Whether you order a latte or cappuccino at the café is unlikely to have lasting ramifications. Choosing whether to take on a big project or a new client could be more significant. 

Being calm and rational, trusting your intuition or ‘gut feeling’, and having the means to size things up properly can all help you to make better decisions. 

One of the simplest ways to make things easier is to learn to say ‘No’ to more things. If it’s not a priority or a high-value activity for you, perhaps it’s best to leave it or delegate it to somebody else. 

I’ve been outsourcing some of the work my business needs for years. More recently I took the decision to finish my podcast to focus on my YouTube channel. 

Good decision-making nurtures resilience. 

Make Use of Your Support Network 

During the past couple of years, this may have been one of the most important factors in determining how resilient you’ve been. 

The support network could mean family, friends and colleagues. It could also mean your business networks, online communities or Facebook groups. Perhaps a coach, mentor or Mastermind. Maybe even a trainer who offers customised 1:1 training

They say a problem shared is a problem halved. And there’s some truth in that. Nobody should have to feel they are alone or there’s no help at hand. 

I have been using mentors to help me build an international online business. I don’t know it all so being able to get advice and guidance from experts is really helpful. 

Build Skills and Confidence 

Experience is always useful in business. But you also need relevant skills, regularly improved, to make a success of things. 

The professional assistant who knows how to use Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 well is going to be in a better position than one who only knows ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’. 

Being in command of the technology gives you confidence. You know that you can carry out essential tasks with efficiency and calm. 

The savvy assistant understands the importance of training and continuing professional development. They can build their skills, either with individual online courses or a box set package such as The HUB

Embrace Gratitude and Laughter 

I’m told that in the UK, a national newspaper invited various celebrities and writers to share words that reflected how they felt about 2021. 

Many of the contributors cited the word gratitude. 

They were thankful for family, good health and friendships. They were thankful for the health service and time for reflection. Perhaps many of those things resonate with you, too. 

Expressing gratitude helps us to take a different perspective on things. It is a way of looking for positives and valuing others. It is a form of resilience. 

It is said that laughter is the best medicine. Despite all the doom and gloom you may see and hear, there are many things to enjoy. Sharing a smile and a laugh can help to get through the day. 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words 

There are many, many ways to build your resilience. I’ve shared a few of those here. 

It’s sometimes defined as a kind of ‘mental toughness’ but it’s more than that. It’s not about shutting things out. It’s about dealing with them and managing, even when difficult challenges present themselves. 

At the start of 2022, we hope for the best. You never know, this might be one of your strongest years yet. 

What will you be doing to build your resilience for success? 

I find Shelley’s training easy to follow and the very best thing is that you can do it all at your own pace and revisit modules if it doesn’t quite sink in the first time round! I have learned so much from her training and continue to do so! She is responsive to my questions and I learn something new with each module. I find Iam hardly ever having to Google or YouTube information now, so it really is saving me time in my work day. Time that can be better used by learning more about the business I operate in!
Thanks Shelley!

Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

I have been following Shelley on Linkedin for several years, and always loved her hints and tips. In May of this year, I had the opportunity to recommend Shelley as one of our workshop speakers at the annual HMC Heads’ PA Conference in Sheffield.

On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

From initial enquiry to delivery Shelley is the consummate professional and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to engage with her.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Shelley to any individual or group.

Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

Shelley is THE guru on all things Microsoft.

I love Outlook, use it every day, and think I have a pretty good understanding of it. But every time I attend one of her sessions I learn a lot more. Her knowledge is remarkable. And she delivers her knowledge in a really clear, engaging way.

Thanks Shelley

Kathy Soulsby

I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn. It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney