Are you a Snow Bully?

Being a snow bully is snow joke…

Everyone knows a snow bully. Snow bullies just love it when the snow comes, for this is the chance for them to shine. A snow bully will walk 15 miles through waist high drifts just to attend a meeting that no-one else can get to. They will take the country lanes route to work when everybody else sticks to the main and treated roads. They will have snow shoes that they purchased from a specialist Alpine shop exactly for this kind of situation. They have a spare pair of dry socks that they keep in their desk for this type of crisis, and a glove compartment stuffed full of energy bars. Oh yes, they are well organised to cope with a little bit of snow. Unlike you, you pathetic ‘snow victim’…

A snow victim never wanders far from their slippers when the snow arrives. They are the first to fret about how the snow stops them from doing things. Much to the outward frustration (but inner victory) of the snow bully they will not be at today’s meeting. Instead, they have probably sent you an e-mail or text message letting you down. It’s unlikely that they will have phoned, too spineless to actually speak to you. The message will tell you how the ‘impassable’ roads - that you yourself have just driven on without any problem and you came down the lanes for heaven’s sake - are preventing them from getting into the office, and about how little Jimmy’s school has to close because there was a bit of ice on the footpath and now there is no-one to look after him. On the off chance that they did manage to make it to the office they sit, moaning, because they have wet and cold feet from the inappropriate footwear that they put on. Didn’t they look out the window? At their desk they will become obsessed with the weather forecast and will head home at the first sight of additional flurries. And they never have enough de-icer in their car.

Of course, if you see others as snow bullies then does that make you a snow victim? Likewise, if you see them as the snow victim does that make you a snow bully? Consider the paragraphs above. Who can you most closely identify with?

My predictable angle on this is that I believe our perceptions of snow bullies and snow victims are shaped by our own attitudes towards resilience. Resilience in this domain is the capacity of a system, individual or organisation to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances (Zolli 2012). I suspect that we all have different mental images of what a ‘dramatically changed circumstance’ might be. To some, it might be heavy overnight snow.

So if you are a snow victim what can you do about it? Well, here are our Top Tips:

Have a 'can do' approach. Building a positive mental attitude and finding a sense or purpose can help youb to overcome the sensation of helplessness that can come when you first see that blanket of snow. This is where the old Henry Ford quote comes: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”. Don’t give in.

Prepare and plan for such incidents. Look ahead. Watch the weather forecast. Imagine what you can do in the event of that critical snow fall. Take precautions and be prepared, This is all about following those tips and helpful hints that people give you about having a shovel in the boot of your car and – for some – might even go as far as making sure you have adequate protection against the cold (old folk might be less resilient in this area).

Build a strong network to help you get through. This network can give you emotional as well as physical support, encouraging you towards your positive mental attitude and might also be physically able to support you. This could take many forms. For instance, you might have a ‘snow bully’ friend who can help you get your kids to school or a neighbour who can help you dig your car out of the snowdrift that is your driveway

Seek information that might be useful to you. This reduces uncertainty and can give you the first indications that something different needs to happen. In the modern world local news and conditions are posted on Twitter and facebook almost instantly. Never has it been easier to gain intelligence on the world around you. Use these social networks to keep up with news and developments that may affect you.

Be flexible. Even snow bullies accept that things have to be different in extreme situations. Maintaining a flexible posture can help you circumnavigate the challenges that come your way. Be flexible with timings and, most importantly, with people.

But above all else don’t be a snow bully. Yes, it is wonderful that you are so resilient and wonderful that you haven’t let such an inconsequential thing as snow prevent you from going about your business. But be aware that not everyone has that ability and that, for many, the snow places a blanket of challenges that are best tackled with assistance, not dominance.

I’m off now to make a snowman.

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