The art of resilience is an often undervalued and underestimated life skill. However, in my professional and personal experience, resilience ranks highly as an indicator of future success, abundance, and overall well-being. Resilience is a competency that falls into the category of emotional intelligence. It’s a competency I consider to be a survival skill.
The Covid Pandemic and its accompanying requirement for the world to think, operate, live, and exist differently, brought our collective resilience (or lack thereof) to the forefront. The forced pivot exposed us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Societally, the pandemic was a larger-than-life stress test on our systems, our way of life and on our fortitude.
We routinely hear people discuss the resilience of children. It’s often referenced in the context of a child’s capacity to overcome challenging situations in a functional way. The dictionary defines resilience as the ability, “to adjust to or recover from adversity and major life change”. We all experience life on life’s terms. Resilient people are no different. Yet, when they experience a negative, they learn the lesson, move past the experience, and use it to positively inform future behavior.
Resilience is a way of life that resides at the nexus point of adaptability, flexibility, utility, and positivity. Simply put, it is the active practice of taking your lemons and making lemonade. The art of resilience is the ability to extract nutrient rich sustenance from the experience, while leaving the empty calories behind. In my coaching practice, I challenge clients to consider what they learned from a particular experience.
Like muscles in the human body, resilience is both an ability and skill we build over time. I consider it a “sibling skill” to emotional self-regulation, (the ability to respond to on-going experiential demands with a range of appropriate emotions). These responses are typically socially acceptable, flexible in nature and impervious to instant gratification.
Often preceded by less-than-ideal circumstances, we get opportunities to practice resilience when things don’t go as expected or planned. And let’s face it, life isn’t always a crystal stair. Adversity comes and, although we may do our best to avoid it, most times the only way out is through it.
Resilience Is Not
Though resilience is the practice of finding meaning in the struggle, we shouldn’t confuse it with avoidance, resignation, or accepting defeat. It’s not about sticking your head in the sand, rather, it’s about learning the lesson your higher being has intended for you. Resilient people see opportunity and adapt to adversity all while maintaining a positive perspective. Cultivating resilience requires one to purpose and re-purpose their energy on growth, learning and application. Developing this practice organically shifts us from being passive to active participants in our experience and is foundational to our capacity for change.
The Art of Resilience
Resilient people have a profound sense of their place in the world as well as their purpose. They spend less time asking the question “why me” and more time figuring out their new purpose resulting from their unexpected circumstances. This doesn’t mean they don’t question. However, they don’t get stuck in their analysis. They don’t allow it to consume them and limit forward progress.
Resilient people are adept at taking things in stride and keeping the negative in perspective. They’re not as easily overwhelmed, and they know trouble doesn’t last forever. They don’t catastrophize roadblocks. Through trial, error, and a willingness to fail & learn, resilient people rely on a common-sense approach to overcome challenging situations. They ask for help when they need it, and don’t get easily defeated.
Resilient people are agile, realistic in their expectations of self and others, and resist the urge toward external control and rigidity. They are slow to internalize setbacks and often demonstrate an ability to embrace change quickly focusing on new goals and hopes.
More than ever, resilience is a critical life skill useful in personal and professional relationships. Navigating life’s ups and downs can be an obstacle course. Doing so with a foundation of resilience helps us to maintain balance, perspective, and emotional well-being.
Join The Perry Perspective next month for a follow-up article on the habits of resilient people. If you have questions about tapping into your resilience, contact me here.