Exploring Resilience

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Exploring Resilience

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This is something that’s been running around my brain for quite a while now. The notion of resilience

I think the genesis point for me is when my friend Mary Thorn shared her intent to do a keynote focused on the term Grit or Gritty, at the 2020 Spring AgileDev conference. If you know Mary, she is incredibly gritty. Mary is smart and experienced. But her ability to preserver over diversity and around resistance is what makes her a phenomenal coach. 

Here I want to explore it as the term resilience and see where things go…

There were two definitions that came from a dictionary search—

1.     The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

2.     The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

I also discovered this definition from the American Psychological Association—

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

I liken resilience as an extension of our fight or flight reactions. It’s how we recover, how we respond, and how we grow.

Using Mary as an example, she certainly has encountered challenges throughout her career. And she’s gotten frustrated and down at times. But then she’s picked herself up, recovered, and moved forward with purpose. With grit.

I like to think of all of us as having something special to give. Or a unique legacy to leave behind. We can’t let adversity “win” and stop us from being the unique and special people that we are.

Putting all of that background aside, I’ve been pondering what it means for me.

Current events and Covid-19 has taken quite a toll on my agile coaching and consulting business and on me personally. Lucky for me, I’ve created a buffer over time and I’m riding the storm out. But that being said, it’s still beating me down.

  • I look at my bank account, and I get down.

  • I see the lack of leadership in our leaders, and I get down.

  • I look at my payables vs. receivables, and I get down.

  • I see the lack of transparency and honesty, and I get down.

  • I see the toll in the BLM community and I get down.

  • I worry about my children and grandchildren, and I get down.

  • I see the United States struggling, and I get down.

You get the idea and the list goes on… 

I’ve had no greater test of my personal resilience than right now. But I need to stop whining and get back to doing something more resilient. Let’s look at how to build your resiliency muscles.

In this article they shared 5-things to work on to help in building your resilience including—

  1. Building your connections—this is all about relationship building. Reaching out to family and to friends and solidifying your relationships. But it’s also about establishing new connections. Even though everything is nearly virtual now, I’ve managed to expand my connections. 

  2. Fostering wellness—well, I’m not the most physically healthy person in the world. But I’m working on it. But I’m also working on the health of my mind. Focusing on mindfulness, meditation, and prayer. 

  3. Finding purpose—this is your WHY for what you do and how you show up in the world. I’ve been reflecting a lot on the #BLM movement and moving from simply supporting it to taking action in specific areas where I can make a difference.

  4. Embracing healthy thoughts—this is an area where I need to work on. I need to stop watching and reading the news so much. The other thing here is all of the misinformation, I’ve begun to limit my sources to just those that I trust. 

  5. Seeking help—another work-in-progress area for me is asking for help. You see I’m good at offering or helping others. But I’m reluctant to ask for help. What I’m discovering is that resilient people ask for help when they need it.

And I’ll add one more, that is—Looking toward the future… 

I wrote an article called Defining Moments in March. It was focused towards coming out the other side of these challenging times in a much better place. That, if we look at things opportunistically, it can motivate us to pivot or reframe ourselves towards the future. Towards being and doing things that might be a stretch, or different, or out of our comfort zones. How exciting is that?

Getting back to Mary, I hope that I can be resilient and gritty during these times. And I ask that you reach out occasionally to check-in on me.

I absolutely believe that we are forged in our life’s journey and how we respond directionally is more important than the individual ups and downs.

Stay safe, stay agile, and stay Gritty my friends,


BTW: here’s another post I’ve written that compliments this one.

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