“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” – Anonymous
The Face of Resilience
I’ve been a friend of Dan and Yasmeen for a long time. Dan, like my husband, is a professional in the mining industry and has a great record and valuable experience. But, last year, he unexpectedly lost his job.
After the initial shock of what happened, Dan and Yasmeen were optimistic that he would quickly find another position. However, Dan’s pay bracket, and the fact that he’s over 50, became serious barriers to him finding a new role.
As the months went by, I expected to see the couple becoming severely stressed and anxious, but, many a time, I was astonished by their calmness and resilience. They simply tackled each day anew and went on with their lives.
After Dan had been jobless for about eight months, I asked Yasmeen how they managed to deal with the situation so well. Her answer was simple. “We have to. Falling apart won’t fix anything.”
She also shared with me that they had lived within their means for a long time and built up a sizable financial buffer. It meant that they didn’t have the immediate stress of failing to pay bills.
Yasmeen also told me that, immediately after Dan’s job loss, they made some practical changes and arrangements that would help them to cope without his income. Although they’ve never lived extravagantly, they cut out certain small luxury items.
After Dan had been out of work for about a year, Yasmeen and I were drinking coffee one morning when she unexpectedly started crying. She was having a bad day and needed to vent. After sharing some of her frustration and fears, she wiped away her tears and, by the time we left the coffee shop, she was her old joking, optimistic self.
Although it was a stressful time for Dan and Yasmeen, they literally took one day at a time and didn’t allow the situation to overwhelm them. They managed their stress and emotions with a practical approach and a sense of humor.
Shortly after the coffee incident with Yasmeen, Dan found a new job.
To an outsider, it would seem that their lives went on without a glitch, during and after Dan’s job loss. The truth is that they have been practising good habits for many years. In a time of crisis, their calm demeanor and practical approach to their challenges only served to strengthen their resolve and to increase their resilience even more.
Resilience: Be Ready for Anything
During our Twitter chat last Friday we spoke about being resilient. Here are the questions we asked and some of the responses from participants.
Q1 What does “resilience” mean to you? #MTtalk
@ankitapoddar The ability to bounce back from the depths of despair. To learn instead of allowing it to pull you down.
@JKatzaman Resilience is stick-to-it-iveness – not taking no for an answer or accepting setbacks.
Q2 What are the benefits of being resilient?
A common theme of personal growth and becoming stronger emerged:
@SanabriaJav Resiliency promotes both personal & interpersonal growth. It can help us work out our weaknesses & strengths.
@DianaProbst Being able to deal with unexpected setbacks. Being trusted to get back up and get on with things. Being seen as reliable.
Q3 Why do you think that some people seem more resilient than others?
@SnowinRI Stronger folks just know how to organize their suffering so as to bear only the most necessary pain.
@alberMoire Some people know that there are triumphs and disasters in life, you need to deal with both.
@ShereesePubHlth Resolve! There are realities of life we can’t change; the rest we make up as we go along. Those who resolve to rise, do.
Q4 When have you found yourself lacking resilience?
A few participants said that a hostile work environment drains their resilience. The following responses also struck a nerve:
@WonderPix It can be hard to be resilient when tired, worn down, sick or unhappy. Fix those things and it’s easier.
@E_Toohig Sometimes when others sow seeds of doubt.
Q5 In which situations are you most resilient? Why?
@harrisonia I am most resilient when I have a strong support system of competent people nearby.
@BrainBlenderTec I find strength in changing the world for the better as that’s a battle not only for us but for our children.
Q6 What characteristics have you noticed in highly resilient people?
Apart from resilient people being goal oriented and purpose driven, they tend to show a number of positive traits. The following responses name a few of them:
@d78stock Emotional Intelligence. High levels of self-esteem. Openness to change. High levels of confidence. Very positive attitude.
@TwisterKW Positive attitude. Take action. DO something. Focus on what can control. Talk to others. Share.
Q7 What are the pitfalls of being highly resilient?
@MicheleDD_MT You keep pushing beyond your limits. You may not know when to pull back & take care of yourself. Could lead to burnout.
@Midgie_MT Perhaps you might be expected to always be the positive one, the one who is able to bounce back from anything & everything.
Q8 What happens when you no longer feel/act resilient?
@ZalkaB It can be damaging and can lead to mental health issues too. Resilience for me is to also guard your boundaries to protect yourself.
@jeremypmurphy We disengage, sometimes we lose our way and wander a little. But not all who wander are lost (JRR Tolkien quote)
Q9 What techniques or approaches do you use to strengthen your resilience day to day?
@70mq I take a break by getting involved in community activities
@Yolande_MT I practice joy and gratitude every single day and it consistently builds my resilience.
Q10 What tips do you have for others to become more resilient?
@hopegovind Just think what worst could happen if this does not get resolve and is there a way out? There will be always a way out.
I conclude with these wise words from @harrisonia, “Become more resilient by listening to the stories of tragedy survivors.”
Next time, on #MTtalk…
In the “old days,” it was considered weak to reveal things about yourself that showed your vulnerability. Nowadays, being willing to show your vulnerability is considered a strength. We’d like to hear your opinion about why it’s good if leaders dare to be vulnerable through self-disclosure. Please cast your vote in our Twitter poll here.
In our next #MTtalk on Friday July 7, our topic is “Daring to Be Vulnerable.” To share your thoughts and ideas, please join us at 1pm EST/5pm GMT/10:30pm IST.
To participate in our chat about daring to be vulnerable, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. To join the conversation, simply include #MTtalk in your tweet and it will show up in the chat feed.
In the meantime, here are some resources that will help you to learn more about developing resilience: