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How Resilient Are You?

Updated: Jul 15


People movin' out, people movin' in. Why, because of the color of their skin. Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Vote for me and I'll set you free Rap on, brother, rap on. Well, the only person talkin' 'bout love thy brother is the preacher And it seems nobody's interested in learning but the teacher Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation Ball Of Confusion that's what the world is today (yeah, yeah)”

Ball of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)

Norman Whitfield / Barrett Strong

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


I have been in webinars and workshops where the subject is the VUCA World that we are living in. VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. That is certainly an appropriate description. Unless you have been sleeping soundly under a rock, you notice the world is attempting to reopen while still battling a worldwide pandemic. The advent of COVID19 has changed the way we live, work, and interact with our loved ones and everyone else. Much of the United States has been on lock down since March 19th. Some states opened and are seeing a resurgence of the virus. I would not be surprised to see another shutdown because of the spikes states are seeing.


In addition to COVID19, ongoing killings by police of Black people in the U.S., and abroad are sparking international protests, some that include violent clashes with police (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/06/police-violence-protests-us-george-floyd). Without speaking for other countries, Blacks and Whites are grappling with how systemic racism has impacted how Black people in the U.S. https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6#the-employment-population-ratio-measures-the-share-of-a-demographic-group-that-has-a-job-and-its-been-lower-for-black-people-for-years-1 In addition to the above, this is an election year, so politicians are vying to be on the "right side" of whatever issue is affecting the masses.


With all that is happening in the news, it is easy to get swept along in one movement or another. Everything that is happening is important. Very few can look at the issues facing our world without having strong feelings one way or the other. No matter what’s going on in the world, however, remember that you must still show up for you first.


Have you been working at home since the middle of March? That is not a small thing. Have you lost your job because of COVID19 shutdowns? That could be devastating, liberating or something in between. I just mentioned things related to COVID19 and world events, but there are also things happening in your life: relationships, losses, transitions, new demands, and a myriad of other things. How are you handling what you are facing? Are you treading water, swimming, or drowning? I am asking this series of questions because, (a) that is what coaches do and (b) you must answer them for yourself if you are to move forward.


Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness. This word has been coming up for me a lot over the last week or so. Brene Brown writes in Rising Strong,


“While vulnerability is the birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for – love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust, to name a few – the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.”


If we look at resilience as the ability to get back up after being knocked down (or out), we learn our strength as we navigate getting up. So how do you begin (or continue) the process of getting up and recovering from the challenges you are facing? Here are some tips from an article from Psychology Today about developing resilience that may help you get up. I’m only using three of them, but you can find the entire article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/design-your-path/201305/10-traits-emotionally-resilient-people:


Resilient people know their boundaries. Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary suffering. The stress/trauma might play a part in their story, but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

Resilient people are willing to sit in silence. We are masters of distraction: T.V., overeating, abusing drugs, risky behavior, gossip, etc. We all react differently to stress and trauma. Some of us shut down and some of us ramp up. Somewhere in the middle there is mindfulness—being in the presence of the moment without judgment or avoidance. It takes practice, but it’s one of the purest and most ancient forms of healing and resilience-building.

Resilient people know how to get out of their head. When we're in the midst of stress and overwhelm, our thoughts can swirl with dizzying speed and disconnectedness. We can find reprieve by getting the thoughts out of our head and onto our paper.


So right now, wherever you are, make up your mind to get up! Let's concentrate on you for now. You are stronger than what you've been through; stronger even than what you're going through. Get up. After you get up, we can talk about the resilience of your team.

Michele Aikens is CEO and Lead Coach of Sepia Prime Communications & Coaching. If you are having trouble getting up, connect with her at Influence@sepiaprimecommunications.com.

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