November 27


The Zen of Not Being Perfect – Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Resilience 2The Jersey is a fan of making the best of bad situations.  From blooming where you are planted to embracing the “suck”, each of these paradigms are opportunities for the learning leader to figure out how they can or will respond when you missed the Rainbow and Unicorn Train. Whenever possible, putting a real-world face to this concept helps us all understand not only what is possible, but on this particular day, reflect on all the gifts for which we can be thankful. The gift of life seems a good place to start.

As captured in this article, Debra Rayburn has some pretty powerful reasons to be angry and resentful.  Bucking lottery odds to catch a debilitating virus is one of those “why me” situations that can crush the spirit of even the most hardy. One of the things that stands out from her story is how she makes her mark on her life a symbol of the very thing that changed it so dramatically. Between her daily gratitude journal, and her appreciation for the most evolved way to scrub a toilet, she presents a picture of someone who understands how much of a gift life can be when someone takes the time to appreciate the possibilities.

Resilience in leaders is certainly a desired trait, but what exactly is resilience? According to the American Psychological Association, developing resilience is a personal journey that differs from person to person. Ultimately, the goal is to come back. There is no guarantee that coming back will be to the same life, but it is the “coming back” that is the critical element.

“Resilience is 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. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.” – American Psychological Association

Resilience 1One of the unfortunate characteristics of choosing careers of action and responsibility and stress and high ideals is that these can sometimes end up in a toxic stew of emotion.  The flip side of resilience, is being unable to resolve all of this and “come back” when necessary. This leads to those moments in life that all of us have experienced when a trusted teammate gets to that place where the future is no longer visible.  I have lost many friends to this place and it makes me angry, sad, and frustrated.  The aftermath is always the same – when did I last talk to them, was there something that should have been seen, what was it they couldn’t see any more?

There are many strategies that are suggested in building a high level of resilience in the individual. While they are centered in the actions of the individual, they are also a potential roadmap for leaders to use when the situation seems ripe for intervention. Being hopeful, having a positive self-view, keeping perspective, and accepting situations as they are, are all opportunities for leaders personally and as they lead their teams.Resilience 3