Now is the Time for Resilience

“When difficult things happen in our lives, resiliency is seeing past the easy way out to come up with a strategy to overcome your adversity and doing the hard work – grinding it out – to get the results you want.” 

The quote above is from Porter Moser, Head Basketball Coach at Loyola, in his book All In: Driven by Passion, Energy, and Purpose.  It’s positive, energetic, and the perfect read for right now — a time when resilience is critical.

I know we are all trying to get to some sense of normalcy, but between COVID-19 impacting our income and our lives, and the continued senseless murders and racism toward our Black friends and family, it is no wonder that most of us are still feeling anxious and overwhelmed.  I know that I am!  As leaders, I feel that it’s paramount that we understand how we and our employees, team members, families, and friends are coping and adjusting.  I thought I would share with you my journey thus far as I work toward resilience in the hopes that maybe my experiences will help you, too.

At first, I was watching newsfeeds multiple times per day trying to understand and stay aware of all the chaos.  This started to seriously affect me.  I was on edge, not sleeping well, and couldn’t relax.  To feel like I can actually help my family, friends and employees, I realized that I need to first focus on taking care of myself.  Here are the steps I am taking:

  1. I take time to recognize what I’m actually feeling.  This probably seems obvious and easy for you, but for me and my analytical mind, it’s hard to allow myself to feel, acknowledge, and recognize my feelings.  I know what I’m feeling isn’t good, but I can’t always tell if it’s fear, sadness, shame, or hopelessness.  To help me through this, I started journaling, and as I transcribed my thoughts to paper, I quickly began to recognize what I was actually feeling.  I do this whenever I feel overwhelmed; it helps me recognize what I’m feeling, and often, why I’m feeling that way.
  2. I’ve discovered a healthy learning cycle for myself. Instead of reading the headlines and looking at the statistics daily, I read to learn (and unlearn).  But, if I start to feel that tightness in my gut, I stop and move onto something lighter. After I get myself centered again, I go back and continue learning.
  3. I started meditating for 15-20 min each morning.  I do it when I first get out of bed to help me center myself and start each day on a positive note.
  4. I started exercising regularly by walking/jogging 30 min 3-4 days a week, and peppering in regular pushups and core exercises.
  5. I am regularly reminding myself to practice kindness, toward myself and others.  I’m definitely not perfect, but as I play with this notion more and more, I am less judgmental and give others the benefit of the doubt.  This is a topic that Sandy (my beautiful wife) reminds me and our family about, and I thank her for keeping it in the forefront of our relationship.
  6. I have made a personal commitment to help our Black community by listening, learning, and supporting them.  On Instagram, I follow a number of Black leaders, including Trevor Noah (who is hilarious and incredibly articulate), and The Dad Gang (whose mission is to change the way the world views Black fatherhood).  Check them both out.
  7. I meet with Mark Adams weekly to review how I am doing on these personal goals.  He helps hold me accountable!
  8. Finally, as mentioned above, I am reading All In: Driven by Passion, Energy, and Purpose by Porter Moser, Head Basketball Coach at Loyola.  I had the opportunity recently to talk with Porter about his culture and vision, and let me say WOW!  This guy’s energy is off the charts!  And this energy comes through loud and clear in his book.  He shares openly about his failures as a player and a coach, how he overcame adversity, that we are constantly reinventing ourselves through our lives, and how being intentionally resilient helps us through these periods of transformation.

I hope my experiences can help you on your journey of resilience. Remember to take care of yourself so you can lead your family and your team forward with clarity and passion.  I know many of you have great ideas, processes, and tools for helping your achieve resilience and I look forward to hearing back from you about what you are doing to help yourself and your team.  And, if I can do anything for you personally or professionally, don’t hesitate to reach out.

As always, keep having fun,


{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Jeff Van Fleet June 30, 2020, 5:26 pm

    I want to share something with all of you. I received an email from one of our subscribers that reads “Be careful, Jeff. You don’t want to be describing a black man as incredibly articulate if you are caring about anti-racism. Otherwise, thanks for the article.”

    My first reaction was that when I described Trevor Noah as “incredibly articulate”, it had nothing to do with the fact that he is black. Frankly, I am super impressed by him and how well he handles himself speaking on tough topics, and often many are on the spur of the moment. I wish I was half as good as him on my feet.

    But, once I paused for a moment, I wondered if my description might have some hidden prejudice in it. I don’t honestly know, but I will take some time to feel my way through this. This, my friends, is the kind of dialog I want to have with all of you. Ones that give us an opportunity to look a little deeper. Thank you Mary Ellen!!

    My best,
    Jeff Van Fleet

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