Three Secrets to Exercise Your Resilience

Do you feel as if you can't predict anything from one day to the next---except that we'll still be in the pandemic for a while? Predictions aren't my strong suit, so that's as much as I'll predict. We're in this situation for a while.

However, I can be pretty sure of these two ideas:

  • We will need to continue to adapt to quickly-changing circumstances.
  • We will need to find ways to be resilient---to take a small step and see what happens.

When I speak with people, they understand the adaptability and resilience problem. They recognize things have changed. They see the need to adapt. 

And, some people tell me they feel stuck. They have trouble deciding on a first step and then taking that first step to exercise their resilience. (You might want to read What’s the Difference Between Resilience and Adaptability?)

I start by creating many options.

Secret 1: Create Enough Options

Although I write about the Rule of Three often, it might not be enough for us now. The Rule of Three states:

  • One solution is a trap.
  • Two solutions offers a dilemma. How do we choose one or the other?
  • Three solutions offers us a real choice.

And, when I want to exercise my resilience, I create many more options---think 20-30 possibilities. I ask myself what could make the problem better or worse; what scares me and what attracts me; what's mediocre and what seems to be excellent. You get the picture. Think of opposites, and create options that way.

I write these options down on a legal pad, so I have plenty of rows.  Even the so-called "crazy" options. That way I have plenty of options from which to choose. 

Secret 2: Choose One Option

I wish I could tell you, "Here's the Right Way to Rank all these options." Nope. I glance down the list. I cross out the options that would harm me physically. I still have plenty. Now I notice my emotions when I review the remaining options:

  • Which option do I want to try as a first step?
  • Which option do I think I will teach me the most?
  • Which option makes do I think is going to fail the fastest?

Yes, I use my emotions to choose an option. Resilience isn't a strictly intellectual activity. Well, it's not for me. I need to integrate my emotions into my actions. Which, leads us to the next secret: commit to some action.

Secret 3: Commit to that First Step

For me, the most difficult secret is this one--the commitment step. I need to move from Old Status Quo into Chaos. (See Where Are You in Your Changes?​ for more of an explanation.) Sometimes, I don't want to. That's why I tend to look for an option that will teach me the most. Or, the option that will fail fastest--because things couldn't possibly work that way.

That's when I often learn that not only can things work that way, they work much better than I imagined.

When you want to exercise your resilience, consider these ideas. Create many options; choose one; and commit to it. You might need an accountability partner. Or, to announce your intention somewhere, so you live up to it. Or, to give yourself permission to "fail." (Because you're like me and you can't imagine that option would work at all.)

So far, I've been happy with each of my first step-commitments. I've learned how to succeed in ways I never imagined. Let me know what works for you.

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Till next time, Johanna

© 2020 Johanna Rothman