My Five Principles of Resilience
Updated: Oct 7
There will be moments in life when you’ll have the overwhelming feeling your world has imploded around you. Some of those moments will be like little blips in your story. Other times, they’ll be full chapters. It’s how you respond to these events and uncover the hidden opportunities that define the tone of your journey and reveal the leader you truly are.
How do you “bounce forward” from a lay-off, a break-up, or a pandemic?
For several years, my focus has been to work on strengthening the foundations for resilience and nurturing my emotional growth. Over that time, I've had the opportunity to learn and experience a few things along the way that helped me on my journey. I've taken workshops, sat down with coaches and mentors, and looked back on my own experience, and noticed certain elements that helped respond to situations where a quick, explosive action would have typically occurred. I call these the Five Principles of Resilience. I am more than certain that there could be other factors that help; however, I want to share with you what has helped me, in my growth, gain a little more perspective and hope.
Celebrate the Small Wins
The workout or run you thought was awful because it was too short or wasn’t intense enough, was still a workout. You moved. Your dinner plans may have been cancelled but instead, you curled yourself up with a good book from quality “me-time.” Or, how about your first blog?
If you have children, do you remember how exciting it was when they took their very first tiny step forward? I bet you remember shouting from the other side of the house for your spouse to get you the camera. However, your baby fell on their bottom but eventually getting up again. That was a small win for them. Winning the opportunity to experience something amazing.
We’re always looking for the big wins in life, like winning the jackpot or landing that dream job, forgetting that we have small wins every day. We swim in pools of positive emotions when we celebrate a winning moment. So, before you invite a scarcity mindset, ask yourself what’s one thing today that merits a high-five. Now, go and give that high-five to the nearest person. High-five first, explain after.
Possess an Attitude of Gratitude
The Benefits of Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude  by Dan Mager, MSW, highlighting research that explains that journaling expressions of gratitude, even for the smallest of things, enhances feelings of contentment, reduces stress, and strengthens bonds in relationships with others and yourself.
What or who made you smile today? What or who gifted you an opportunity for a win? Say thank you to them aloud and WRITE it down. Write down your expressions of gratitude in a journal or on a note pad. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just write it down.
My mentor Todd Durkin says, “Writing provides clarity. Clarity precedes genius.” Journal your positive and negative experiences, your statements of gratitude, and your positive self-affirmations. The power of writing provides the ability to easily look back on your journey of growth. It also imprints the positive images in your mind, strengthening the belief that you do have the power to thrive and be the best version of yourself through any storm.
Be Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable
What’s stopping you from going on Instagram Live promoting your business? What’s stopping you from leaving a job that drains you for a job that will light you up? How about asking that person you’ve been crushing on out on a date?
Sometimes, to achieve greatness and do great things, you need to step out of your comfort zone and crush that limiting belief.
In physical fitness, in order to see results, you must put your system in an uncomfortable state. When challenging the muscles to work harder, they ultimately, grow stronger.
The same applies at an emotional level. People fear what others may think of them. Fear of embarrassment.
I’ve found that practicing mindfulness has helped be in the present without letting the fear take over. I’m not necessarily talking about meditation but just being present.
What are you avoiding starting or trying because you believe you’ll be judged or can’t do it? Reframe the scenario where that limiting belief doesn’t exist and say it aloud, even if you’re alone. What does that look like? Let that image drive you.
Release Perfection and Embrace Imperfection
This my favourite one. When you’re seeking only perfection, you create tunnel vision with the negative only in focus, paying less attention to the positive ahead or the experience.
If you try to paint the “perfect” picture, meticulously touching up every perceived flaw, you’ll never really finish it. But if you do, will you have time to truly enjoy the outcome, or even possess the mindset to enjoy it?
Focus on what’s in your control; control the controllables. Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace, explains in a guided run in the Nike Run Club mobile app  (I believe it was from the “Morning Run with Headspace”), rather than forcing how things should be, work with what they are. You have control over your fitness, nutrition, mindset, and habits.
What was the last thing you did or worked on that you believed didn’t meet your perceived perfection? Did it still provide the intended results?
Create your Choir
Surround yourself with those who make your soul sing. Surround yourself with those who allow you to make their soul sing in return.
Energy, positive and negative, is contagious. If you’re among people who radiate positivity, you’ll feed off of that energy and thrive. This is your choir. That bright energy will be passed on to others through you as well. You will feel only support and feel valued in times when you’re low on the resilience tank.
The opposite, however, is also true. Surround yourself around “energy suckers”, those who only gossip and speak ill of others or who don’t even make the smallest attempt to see the bright side and complain, will only drain the energy out of you.
Be sure to have a mentor or a coach in your choir. You need someone to guide you, not tell you what to do, but provide you the tools necessary to take on life’s challenges with new perspective. When you’re on your own, you must use those tools. Mentors and coaches have been and still are where you are, they just have the experience to help in an objective manner. Who’s in your choir? Write it down.
It’s not easy responding to situations that would typically elicit a reaction of rage or sadness. It’s ok to feel the reaction build up. The first step to maintaining a full resilience tank is acknowledging the emotions and making a small attempt every time to respond. If you reacted, pause and reflect on what went down and picture how it might have gone differently. Use that picture to recognize the next reaction event and turn it into a response.
Who you are today is the sum of all good experiences and not-so-good experiences until this very breathe. What would you like to have more of?
Finally, always remember to live every day with joy, curiosity, and passion.
 The Benefits of Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude, Dan Mager, PsychologyToday.com, https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/some-assembly-required/201411/the-benefits-cultivating-attitude-gratitude, accessed June, 12, 2020.
 Nike Run Club, developed by Nike, Inc., available for iOS and Android.