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PJ Harries

Founder of Gibraltar Trading Co. Former Royal Marine Commando, Firefighter, Anti-piracy/ Anti-poaching consultant, and Hostile Environment Instructor.

Resilience for me is the ability to endure. To resist negative outcomes created through adversity. Being able to continue progression, adapt, and thrive no matter what is standing in your way.

Gibraltar Trading Company uses a mantra of ‘Stay Wavy’ to reflect this. Going with the flow and not fighting the tide.

I didn’t just look up the word ‘Resilience’ for this piece and write it up in my own way. My experiences to date have created the way I view the world and deal with issues. My childhood was good, and I was lucky, it was however not without its own challenges. The ability to be resilient started to present itself as a strength. Whether it was a family issue, or just dealing with the weather playing rugby on a cold rainy morning, I noticed that I dealt with these discomforts better than my peers. At the time I didn’t see it as resilience, that came later.

It first manifested itself from stubbornness into true determination and resilience in this context during training for the Royal Marines Commandos. One of if not the toughest initial military training courses in the world. Without resilience not only will you never pass out of training, but you also definitely won’t make it a week at a unit. One of our training team once told me ‘you will learn more in your first 32 days in a commando unit than you did in 32 weeks here (Commando training centre Lympstone)’. He was not wrong. The lessons during my time serving in the Royal Marines showed me that toughness, determination, or just the ability to endure were a daily necessity to be able to survive in a world dominated by alpha males.

These lessons in resilience were further nurtured and practiced as I moved through my career and onto consulting privately. Working in anti-piracy, anti-poaching, and hostile environment instruction really drove home the ability I held to not only be resilient but also help and instruct others to develop their own version of resilience. It’s not a simple process, it’s about exposure, experience, and adaption to issues in a personal way. What it means is you, the person reading this and the person to your left and right can also develop those skills. Resilience isn’t reserved for the military or services much like GTC, it’s open to anyone who puts themselves in a position to face adversity. In whatever form that takes.

For some being resilient is about being stoic, not showing emotion, and processing stuff internally. For others, it’s the ability to speak about their issues and share them with others. Neither is wrong, there is a massive drive currently for men to speak about their issues and mental health. We fully endorse this! It is and should be normal for all mental health to be discussed just as if it was any other physical injury. However, it’s also ok not to talk, people are individuals. No one is the same, just because talking works for you doesn’t mean it will for the next person.

Let everyone develop their own ability to be resilient and support each other. Be Resilient, not resistant.

PJ Harries
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