Spotlight on Spouses – Nicki Bass
Name: Nicki Bass
Company Name: Resilience at Work
My name is Nicki Bass and I am a former Army officer and the founder of Resilience at Work – a consultancy focused on developing resilience and confidence for women in the workplace. During my time in the military, I served in the Educational and Training Services where my jobs ranged from teaching languages and promotion courses, to helping develop Army Higher Education policy. Over the years, I also deployed on several operational tours including Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whilst serving, I also completed a Masters degree in Occupational Psychology; my business now combines this knowledge with my military experience, as well as my passion for adventure sports! I offer both individual and group coaching as well as experiential workshops for women which are designed to build confidence and resilience in the workplace and beyond. The workshops combine adventurous activities with mindset coaching, providing a safe and fun space where you can challenge yourself both physically and mentally – and start to counter some self-limiting beliefs!
I am not only a former Army officer, however, but also married to one! My husband Oz, served in the Infantry for 20 years; he left the year before I did and now works for a charity. We have 2 young children and one of my main motivations for leaving to set up my own business was to have a career that could be more adaptive to the needs of my family.
Oz deployed on two operational tours whilst the kids were very small and so I fully understand how much resilience is required in daily life as a military spouse – whether that is managing deployments/ time away, constant moves or even working out the vagaries of the MOD housing system! I also know what a toll it can take in terms of both physical and emotional energy, which can make the idea of returning to work feel even more daunting.
So, what is resilience? It is one of those terms that is used in a lot of different ways to mean lots of different things! My perspective is that resilience is the ability to come back from and grow as a result of challenge and adversity. One way to think about it is to picture a willow versus an oak tree. On the face of it, the oak seems strong and invincible. However, it is actually far more vulnerable in a storm than the flexible willow tree which can be buffeted around in the wind, but ultimately remain standing.
The other important point about resilience is that it is not just a characteristic that the lucky few possess. Rather, it is a quality that is open to all and that can be actively developed over time. Resilience is not just about grit and mental toughness. Resilience is about managing difficult experiences, learning from them and ultimately being able to thrive.
As part of my Masters, I conducted a lot of research into ways in which resilience can be developed. There is now a compelling body of evidence that supports the idea that that going outside of your comfort zone leads to growth. This idea has been explored in a range of fields, from elite sport to the corporate world. However, this is not about taking a leap of a cliff and hoping you will be ok (although sometimes this can work too!).
Instead, it is focused on the idea of a ‘grow zone’ – an ideal area just outside of your comfort zone where you can test and grow your perception of what is possible. My approach is very much founded on the idea that growing resilience is an ongoing commitment to continually stretching that comfort zone. In doing so, you develop your inner strength and your confidence in your own ability to adapt and perform.
My overriding experience is that military spouses have resilience in spades! Living a life that constantly forces you to flex, often at very short notice and with limited information, means you are constantly adapting, overcoming obstacles and making new connections. What is sometimes less obvious is how the resilience you have developed in domestic circumstances can help you in the often, less familiar, workplace environment.
So, over the course of the next few weeks, I will be delivering a series of fb lives aimed at helping to make that connection. These will focus on tips and strategies to help you build on and employ your resilience throughout the job application process. I will be looking at areas such as how to deal with your inner critic, managing fear and ways to keep going when it all feels too much! And if there’s anything you really want to focus on, please let me know – I look forward to meeting you all in person very soon!