Do We Have Resistance or Denial When We Need Resilience?

I meet many managers, coaches, and consultants who say that people “resist” their ideas.

I meet too many people with vertigo who say they “resist” their problems. They don’t use assistive devices such as canes or rollators. They fall over. I have a friend who is a diabetic who still eats sugar and carbs. She needs to bring her A1C down, and she’s still eating carbs.

My opinion? These people aren’t resisting their problems. These people, both people with organizational change, and people in personal change are in denial.

Sometimes, organizational “resistance” is about forced change. See Resisting Change or Resisting a Pushed Solution. Someone decided on a solution. Too often, that solution didn’t invite the affected people into the problem-solving. The affected people might have data the solution-developers should know. The affected people might have a better way.

For physical problems, such as my vertigo or my carb-eating friend whose A1C is too high, we don’t receive invitations to change. Change already occurred. Now, we need to see our reality to deal with it.

When other people push a specific change, they ignore other alternatives that might work. They deny the current reality. When we don’t respond to change that already occurred, we also deny reality.

Denying reality is a fool’s game. We can’t remake reality to fit our opinions.

Reality always wins.

What might change reality and our perceptions of a change? Resilience.

Resilience is about our capacity to see our reality and create a new one. Because resilience helps us create a new reality, I like to practice small resilience changes every day.

If an organization wants to move to a more agile approach, instead of mandating a specific change, we could create a very small goal that everyone can agree to on principle, and then create a short time where we might use different approaches to achieve that goal. At the end of that time, we can reflect, individually and together. (I recommend a few days to a week. Otherwise, the time is too long.)

For me, it’s the same thing with my physical resilience. How small a thing can I change, in how short a time period to build my physical resilience?

When I first started to low-carb, I realized I was not going to be one of those people who lost a gazillion pounds the first year. On the other hand, I no longer gained weight when I traveled. I still lose weight quite slowly. I mostly don’t gain it.

When I had my first bad fall from my vertigo, I didn’t realize a cane would help. Once I realized, it was a lot less emotionally painful to move to a rollator as my balance deteriorated.

When I decided to walk as a way of becoming more fit, I didn’t start with 5,000 steps a day. It took me most of that first summer to work up to 3000 steps and then another few months to move to 5000 steps.

For me, both “resistance” and “denial” are pushing against either an imposed change or reality. I would much rather embrace something. I choose resilience.

And, that is the question this week: Do we have resistance or denial when we need resilience?

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