Thursday Thoughts No. 11 (10/7/21)

Picture this: You’re on the precipice of sleep. Your brain is wandering in and out of consciousness and all of a sudden you remember that thing that happened today and your heart starts racing, your mind replays that stressful situation, and you’re jolted awake. You think, “Dang! I was so close to falling asleep.” Listen, I’m human. In fact, I’m a pretty sensitive human. I have allowed those thoughts and feelings to penetrate my pseudo-awake state, but now I am able to flush them out with what I’ve learned about resiliency.

Not too long ago, I reached an all-time low and my resiliency tank was running on empty. I wasn’t able to recover from the difficulties in my life. Imagine a whole pumpkin. As time went on, every negative situation was akin to another scraping from inside the pumpkin. I was being carved out. Eventually, I had a fake jack-o-lantern smile etched into my pumpkin-like face, and I was completely empty on the inside—even the candlewick was burned to the bottom. My passion, zest, and love for the job were simply gone.

Here’s what I’ve learned about resiliency and how it can be applied in the future.

First, find a healthy OUTLET. Long ago, I learned that one of my best coping mechanisms is to verbalize my anxieties. I full-heartedly believe that is why I gave my very first presentation about my experience in Iraq 16 years ago. It was my self-induced therapy session with 80 audience members acting as my therapists. I also love physical activity—walks, runs, home demolition—to name a few. What’s your OUTLET? Is it healthy? If not, how can you change that?

Surround yourself with a trusted NETWORK. As a Middle School Principal, I talked to my Associate Principal, my mentor, my husband, or my direct supervisor. I gave myself a place to process the stressors of the job and to gain perspective. Do you have trusted advisors who help you bounce back?

Lastly, hold true to your core VALUES. The values I hold dear are integrity, trust, and compassion. I know that if I live my life according to these values. I have ultimately done my best and I have to let any guilt or negative feelings go.

Still feel like you’re struggling with resiliency? Try these action steps:

  1. Rediscover the energy and passion for your work. If that means taking a step back from the latest hustle, redesigning your day-to-day habits, creating consistent routines to help you feel more grounded, or delegating the work that brings you down, do it.
  2. Use your own judgment or consult your trusted advisor to assess what is diminishing your elasticity to bounce back. You might have too much on your plate, you might be spinning your wheels on a mundane task, you might be doing the right thing at the wrong time, or vice versa.
  3. It takes courage and confidence to get back up and persevere. However, every time you do that, it gets easier and you add another notch of resiliency to your belt.
  4. Build strong morale during the good times so that you can lean on it during the bad. Moods can fluctuate but a strong culture and sustainable morale will help you and your organization boomerang back from misfortune.
  5. A sense of humor, play, and joy can work wonders.

Are you asking yourself, “How do I do this?” I can help!

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