Showing posts with label Resiliency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resiliency. Show all posts

May 29, 2019

Beautiful People

I ran into this lovely lady in Rockville. 

Obviously, she has a disability, but I was so impressed with her. 

She had this cute dog sitting on her lap while in her wheelchair. 

And the wheelchair had this awesome colorful mosaic in the wheels. 

She seemed to be with family that loved her.

They stopped to stay hello and permitted me to take a photo. 

I was so inspired by them.

There are truly beautiful people in the world and they make the world a wonderful place for all of us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2017

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 

1. Teamwork - Remember you're not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 

2. Work-Life Balance - Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life--professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual--then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!

3. Perspective - You've got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side--we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!

4. Sense of Humor - When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you're looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly...perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!

5. Faith - No matter what...G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life's journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!

On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:

"The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!" (or in Hebrew "Adonai li v'lo ira")

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 15, 2012

Resilient To The Core

I circled back to an article that I saved away for the last 10 years (5 years before I started blogging and practically before it really even existed)!

It is from Harvard Business Review and it is called How Resilience Works (May 2002). 

It is an incredible article about what differentiates the person that falls apart and seemingly gives up under immense stress and those that use it as a stepping stone to future success and greatness. 

Resilience is "the skill and capacity to be robust under conditions of enormous stress and change."

Literally, resilience means "bouncing back," perhaps versus jumping throw a plate glass wall from the 50th story. 

Everyone has their tests in life--whether loss, illness, accident, abuse, incarceration, poverty, divorce, loneliness, and more. 

But resilience is how we meet head-on these challenges, and it "can be learned."

The article looks at individual and organizational "survivors" of horrible things like the Holocaust, being a prisoner of war (POW), and terrorist attacks such as 9/11, and basically attributes resilience to three main things:

1) Acceptance--rather than slip into denial, dispair, or wishful-thinking, resilience means we see the situation exactly for what it is and make the most of it--or as they say, "make lemonade out of lemons."

2) Meaning--utilizing a strong system of values, we find meaning and purpose even in the darkest of situations--even if it is simply to learn and grow from it!

3) Ingenuity--this is capacity to invent, improvise, imagine possibilities, make do with what you have, and generally solve-problems at hand. 

Those who accept, find meaning, and improvise can succeed, where others fail. 

Now come forward a decade in time, and another article at CNN (9 July 2012) called Is Optimism Really Good For You? comes to similar conclusions.

The article describes how optimism works for an individual or an organization only when it is based on "action, common sense, resourcefulness, and considered risk-taking."

"It's the opposite of defeatism"--we recognize that there are things not in our control and that don't always turn out well, but we use that as an opportunity to come back and find a "different approach" and solve the problem. 

The article calls this "action-oriented optimists" and I like this concept--it is not blind hope nor is it giving-up, but rather it is a solid recognition that we can do and must do our part in this world. 

Fortune Magazine summed this up well in an article a few months back as follows--There are three kinds of people: "those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those wonder how the heck it happened."

When things happen in your life--to you--which of these types of people will you be? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 20, 2010

Leading In Times of Crisis

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23-4).

We all go through difficult times—we are all human. What differentiates us is how we react to adversity—some of us will crumble beneath the weight and others will be strengthened by it.

Harvard Business Review (January-February 2010) has an article called “How to Bounce Back from Adversity” by Margolis and Stoltz.

The article defines psychological resilience as “the capacity to respond quickly and constructively in a crisis.” A challenge indeed, when at the depths of the crisis, we feel “paralyzed by fear, anger, confusion, or a tendency to assign blame.”

It is certainly understandable that those suffering under crisis conditions can succumb to feelings of depression, helplessness, and perhaps hopelessness. The vision of all they do have—faith, family, friends, and more—becomes obscured by the darkness of a bad situation, which they cannot seem to see through in those moments. Hence, the saying when there is hope again for “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The authors define resilient managers as those that can “shift quickly from endlessly dissecting traumatic events to looking forward, determining the best course of action given new realities. They understand the size and scope of the crisis and the levels of control and impact they may have in a bad situation.”

When something bad happens, there is a natural period of shock and despair, which is part of the healing process. If someone doesn’t react to the pain of a situation, there is probably a lot more to worry about, then if they do cry out. But resiliency means that like the analogy with children who fail off a horse, “you get right back up and ride again.” You feel the bruise on your buttocks, but you shake it off and go on to ride on—you go on to fight another day.

Leaders when faced with challenges cannot fail back into their chair and close the door for long, because others are waiting outside for their direction. While we all need to resiliency to persevere, a leader has a special need for resiliency, because others are looking to them for a way forward. The actions of the leader affect not only him/her, but also the people they are charged with. So the trait of resiliency is especially important for leaders.

Demonstrating leadership means quickly moving to “response-oriented thinkingactions to improve, impact, and contain the situation. This is in contrast to “cause-oriented thinking”—which instead focuses on a “woe is me” attitude and asking over and over again “why is this happening?”

Time waits for no one, especially someone in a leadership position. The message of hope for our organizations from leadership is that we “replace negativity with creativity and resourcefulness, and get things done despite real or perceived obstacles.”

Why do leaders have trouble with responding in crisis as well as acting proactively to prevent it?

Certainly, one big issue is the fear of acting or reacting badly. This is the misguided thinking that it is better to do nothing and “be safe”—not make mistakes and not be blamed (i.e. take the heat)—then to do something and be accountable for the results—good or bad.

Difficulty rebounding from crisis can be seen as understandable – rooted in the desire for self-preservation. After all, crisis management takes strong action, and it is easy to take potshots at the leader, and turnover among senior executives tends to be high. Unfortunately, we tend to back away from leaders who make strong and difficult choices, and so we end up with crazy organizations—where just sitting in the chair and not “making a mistake” perpetuates a paycheck. This situation leads to a de-prioritization of the organization’s real needs, which is, to put it mildly, unfortunate.

One lesson that I’ve absorbed from working in law enforcement, is that you do what needs to be done for others first and deal with your own needs later. Law enforcement and first responders in general are the ones who you see running to the scene of trouble, when everyone else is running away. That is real “response-thinking” and I believe it teaches us a lesson about how leaders of any organization can respond to crises and rebound effectively.


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