Taking Time to Fill Your Resilience Reserves
In each of our Triannuals, we’ve emphasized the need for building up our personal stores of resilience.
Operating with a full tank of energy and enthusiasm is essential to our work as a leader. If we do not first ensure that we are fueled and ready to serve, we simply won’t be able to help build up our teams or deliver the care we’ve been called to provide.
Last April, at our very first Triannual, we took a group poll about “What’s on our bucket list?” We were seeking to learn what activities and practices help fill our bucket and allow us enough strength and overflow to serve our patients, families, and teams well.
This holiday weekend, look back on your Triannual I workbook and review what you believe most fills your bucket and helps you build back your resilience reserves. Make a deposit into your resilience bank account and be extra generous to yourself by making time to give yourself exactly what you need.
**Resilience Challenge: In today’s ever-connected world, time away from our electronics is one of the most impactful things we can do to care for ourselves and build back our resilience reserves.
Leave the phone at home and spend time outside with your family, soaking up the fresh air and sun, and appreciating the beauty of nature. You’ll be surprised at how deeply you are restored and how you’ll return even more rested and ready for whatever lies ahead.
BUILDING A RESILIENT LIFE: 5 Steps for Growing Stronger through Adversity
As we’ve worked to build resilience, we’ve focused primarily on the idea that our practices of self-care, time for rest and recovery, and connection with loved ones and family are key to giving us the energy and fuel we need to serve our patients, teams and families.
The original definition of resilience from the 1627 Oxford English Dictionary is the ability to rebound or recoil. We’ll hear people speak of resilience in this way when they say a resilient person is someone who is able to “bounce back” after a difficulty or challenge.
In 1824, the definition of resilience was expanded to include the power of resuming original shape after compression or bending. You can think of a nerf ball or stress ball and even though they’ve been squeezed to their extreme, they do resume their original shape when we let go and the compression ends.
As humans, our ability to be resilient is not quite as neat and tidy as it would be for a spring or a nerf ball returning to their original form.
When we go through a stressful season, difficult event, or experience that struggle and compression, we don’t usually emerge unscathed. Throughout the challenge and trial, we can become weathered and scarred and we emerge from the fire fundamentally changed.
Rebekah Lyons, author of the new book “Building a Resilient Life: How Adversity Awakens Strength, Hope, and Meaning” helps us to see that this transformation is actually a gift and we need not fear trial and adversity. In fact, those trials and struggles are the very things that will help us become more resilient and capable as we walk through them and strengthen our mental and emotional muscles.
Whether you’re facing a difficulty or challenge at home, adjusting to the new campus, or returning to some sense of your original rhythms after a busy or stressful season of compression, Rebekah gives us five steps towards walking through those challenges and emerging stronger, more hopeful, and more resilient:
1) Name the Pain: Before we can work to build our strength, we must first come to terms with what it is we’re facing and why it feels like a difficulty or challenge. The first step to building our resilience is simply naming the pain and acknowledging what feels so hard about the situation.
2) Shift the Narrative: Once we know where the challenge lies, we can reclaim agency and control of the story we’re telling ourselves and recast a more hopeful and honest narrative about what’s happening.
If we are struggling with one of our kids, we may deeply internalize that struggle and believe something is fundamentally wrong with us as a parent. Or, if we have a conflict with a team member at work, we may be tempted to believe that coworker is fundamentally flawed.
By embracing the quest mentality and reframing the challenge as simply a temporary struggle that we can all work through together, we regain the capacity to move through the challenge and rebuild our connection with others.
3) Embrace Adversity: Typically, we’re trying everything we can to avoid pain and struggle at all costs. Unfortunately, life is going to throw us curve balls and challenges that will test us and require us to continually build our strength.
However, these trials and emotional, physical, and interpersonal challenges are exactly what allow us to continue to build our resilience. These struggles are akin to using the weight rack at the gym to push our bodies to their limits and build up our strength in the process.
When we can embrace the challenges and adversity we face as gifts to build our resilience, we can gain so much and become even stronger and more able to handle what comes. Regarding her struggle with anxiety, Rebekah came to see her challenges as benefit: “It taught me how strong I am. It taught me how when it returns, I now know what to do.”
4) Make Meaning: Each time we work through a tough season, we become even more capable of walking through a similar struggle in the future and we become more capable of helping others navigate that challenge as well.
When we are able to see how the trials we’ve walked through can help us serve others, we can gain hope, a deeper sense of purpose, and meaning from the trials we’ve faced.
While we may not ever have wished to walk through that difficulty, there may eventually be a hopeful purpose arising from that situation that can give us even more strength.
As an example, one gentleman faced a season of unemployment and would certainly not have wished to walk through that struggle. However, in hindsight, he was able to appreciate that season as the extra time and availability he had while out of work allowed him to spend more 1:1 time with his father who was dying.
You may not be able to see that deeper purpose just yet, but in time, may be able to appreciate the gift of improved resilience and strength that comes from each challenge and trial.
5) Endure Together: It may feel unbearably hard to face a challenge and believe there’s a deeper purpose or gift waiting in that adversity. However, with the support of others, we can be buoyed through the pain and help regain our perspective from a point of greater strength.
Companionship and connection is one of the greatest supports we have to walk through seasons of challenge and struggle.
If you’re not currently in a season of stretching and building those resilience muscles, you may be in a position to be the support and companion for someone else. Be attentive to who is walking through a similar trial and offer your friendship and assistance wherever you can.
Putting It to Work
Think about a current challenge you’re facing or have recently walked through and take a moment to journal through these five steps.
How can they help you overcome and grow stronger and more resilient through the challenge?
How can they help you provide better coaching and leadership to your team through a challenging phase of growth or a busy and stressful season?
How can you use what you’ve learned through adversity to support and guide others through their trials?
REMEMBER + HONOR: Memorial Day 2023
As we commemorate Memorial Day 2023, let us remember and honor the soldiers and families who have gone through extraordinary challenge and hardship on our behalf.
May we emulate their heart for serving and challenge ourselves as leaders to lead with that same heart of service and commitment to something bigger than ourselves and for putting the needs of others above our own.
Take the time this weekend to offer an act of service for veterans and those who are actively serving. Help build back their resilience reserves by taking over a hot meal, offering to watch their kids, making the call to say thank you, or offering comfort and companionship.
Let’s do what we can to support and honor them and their families this day and every day.