Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #36
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Crisp Spring breeze
We tend to exaggerate the impact of future events on our happiness and how lasting that impact will be … We’re very resilient creatures who recover as quick as we can from the pitfalls of life.
– Tim Wilson
It was 6:30 in the morning on a crisp spring morning, and I was standing in the open space surrounded by four grapefruit trees. I was dripping wet, chilled and had just broken through a spider-web with my face as I pushed between two trees. Yuck!
Standing in the middle of the orchard, I needed a moment to regroup and figure out how I was going to keep going. 12 years old, I was determined to meet my grandfather at the bottom of the orchard. We were moving sprinklers, an early morning routine. He was going down one pipeline, and I was going down the other, each with a set of sprinkler hoses to move. Whoever got to the bottom first, would start up on the other pipeline until we met. The trees had grown so close together, there was no other way than to push through the dewy, spider-web laden branches.
What could I do in the middle of the orchard? At the time, I didn’t know much about social psychology or resilience. What I remember is being a little fearful of spiders crawling on me, and not liking being wet and cold. The only way out was to walk through more tree branches. Fortunately, I didn’t get caught in worry about each set of branches I needed to pass through. After catching my breath, I continued on, meeting my grandfather and going back to the house for a warm breakfast before the rest of the work day.
How do we persevere with resilience in the face of adversity?
As Timothy Wilson, social psychologist relates, “we tend to exaggerate the impact of future events on our happiness and how lasting that impact will be.” As a 12-year-old, my determination to do what my grandfather could quickly propelled me past my momentary fears and discomfort.
Now in my fifties, I realize resilience isn’t so easy. Life has a way of presenting adversity when we don’t expect it. What actions can we take? Here are a few:
- Developing our commitment to achieve what we care about helps.
- Recalling past experiences where we surmounted obstacles gives us resources and confidence to call upon.
- Acknowledging our fears and figuring out our options for action in the present moment make a difference.
- Rewriting the story in our mental narrative enables new action.
- Developing a learning community with peers builds insight and accountability.
Today I build upon my experiences in farming, leading change initiatives at Hewlett Packard, evidence-based practices in coaching and organizational development, and the training and practice of Aikido.
I partner with executives and professionals to confidently lead in the face of uncertainty and complexity. Together we build trust, and cultivate leadership and organizational effectiveness to create a better future today. To learn more visit here.
Let’s create a better future today!