Resilience: A superpower you never knew you had

The North East Fundraising Conference 2019 is being organised by the Institute of Fundraising North East (IOFNE) in partnership with VONNE and the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

As headline sponsors again this year, the KEDA Consulting team share what the conference theme of GROW means to them through a series of articles exploring Grit, Resilience, Opportunities, Wellbeing. 

Resilience: A superpower you never knew you had

By Keith Nicholson, KEDA Consulting

Resilience means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or the ability (of an object) to spring back into shape and having resilience in life is a very important part of moving through adversity. The ability to be resilient is extremely helpful in personal development, as it provides an ability to move through learning experiences and this article will show you exactly how you can use that learning to grow your resilience.

Imagine if you could tap into a resource which would help you become the best version of yourself you possibly could…

Imagine if this didn’t require a little blue pill or a decade meditating in a monastery high amongst the clouds…

I would suggest that by you can tap into a superpower you never knew you had in order to achieve this – namely that the ability to harness negative feedback is your untapped resource to being your best you!

Often when criticism comes our way, we react with our emotions and ego front and centre and this is a perfectly normal response. “I’m not good enough”, “You’re wrong!”, “That’s only your opinion” and so on, are ways that we often respond emotionally to criticism about our work but dealing with criticism both is not as hard as it seems and can benefit you beyond the immediacy of the situation. The ability to respond by engaging with feedback critically will improve you and the teams you work in and the alternative of not getting any critical feedback means your work is probably sub-par and no-one’s telling you and you’re not developing your skills.

Here are some simple ways to get the most out of the feedback you receive, based on principles of UNDERSTANDING THE FEEDBACK and ACTING ACCORDINGLY.

Seek out feedback

Most places of work, regardless of where you sit in the hierarchy, have some form of feedback on your performance. If it isn’t meeting your needs in terms of giving you the feedback to improve, then seek it out – set up a 1-2-1 with those around you. Make it easy for feedback to be given by setting some questions in advance about your performance and behaviour and using language such as advise rather than feedback and remember that the person may feel awkward. This may include questions like “What can I do, or stop doing, to make it easier to work with me?” or “Can you tell me about a time when I could have behaved differently to complete a piece of work to a higher standard?”.

There are lots of free web resources to help with this. Receiving critical feedback can feel like a bit of a rough time, but having a context and a reason for seeking it out can help take emotion out of the conversation. Resist the urge to take action at this stage, simply listen hard and make clear notes of candid responses, thanking people for their openness. By having an open and honest culture, some organisations can make this process about improvement and candour a lot easier.

Act accordingly

Now that you have some structured feedback to work with, you have the opportunity to view it objectively. Think about:

  • How can you best use this to improve your competence levels/behaviour and what do you need to do to improve?
  • If the feedback is an opinion you don’t agree with then remember you don’t have to respond to unfair or incorrect criticism.
  • Respond appropriately – if some feedback is significant enough that it needs to be responded to, make sure that the response is undertaken in a measured way and focus on what you are doing to improve your practice or those around you.
  • Consider the bigger picture and context at play and think objectively about how the feedback will improve the situation for those around you and the organisations you work with or for.
  • Thank the person for their feedback – it is hard to be open and candid, especially for staunch British characters, and so it is important to thank people for their feedback. Perhaps consider how you might be able to follow up later down the line to show the positive impact that came from the feedback.

Obtaining rich and insightful feedback from those around you will give you insightful ways to improve and be your best self. It requires that you let go of the fear of feedback and actively make it OK for people to provide you with their thoughts. You will have confidence that your performance and behaviours are at least meeting expectations if not exceeding them, and give you the personal and professional satisfaction worthy of a superhero.


For the second year running, KEDA Consulting are championing fundraising excellence in our region as headline sponsor for The North East Fundraising Conference. The team is very excited for the event and have a busy two days planned, including:

  • The Lego Approach to Trust Fundraising: a session delivered by our Fundraising Consultant, Amy Appleton and Mat Cottle-Shaw from The Bone Cancer Research Trust
  • A session exploring regional relationships delivered by our Fundraising Consultant Helen Alderson and Jessica Murphy of St Oswald’s Hospice
  • An opportunity for you to shape our 2020 fundraising training programme
  • Chances to win exciting prizes including a spa day for two, free training and £100 for your charity
  • 50 exciting eco-friendly giveaways to match the GROW theme – make sure you get to our interactive stand early to ensure you don’t miss out!

We look forward to seeing you at The North East Fundraising Conference 2019! Don’t have your tickets yet? Book them now and use the discount code ‘KEDA’ to get £30 off!