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Do I have BOUNCE?

The word “resilience” has become a big part of my vocabulary in recent months, both in business and personally. I have always thought of myself as a resilient person. I’ve been through some “stuff” in my life (haven’t we all?!) so I know I am strong; I’m a survivor. I will always get back up when knocked down. I have proven this time and time again. So, it’s simple: of course, I am resilient! But am I really?

This focus on resilience has challenged me to take a step back and look at my own life and my own resilience. Am I strong? Yes! Am I resilient? Well, what does that really mean…

My business partner, Candyce and I are doing some work for a client on resilience and change leadership. This is such an important conversation right now for them, for me, and probably for everyone. Life is busy, demanding, challenging. I feel more and more people are pushing themselves in ways they have not before. Technology means we are always connected, which is good and bad. There are lots of balls being juggled. Early in my career I heard one of the first female business leaders at GE speak, when as an employee there, I was invited to a women’s leadership event. She said she believed “you can have it all; you just can’t have it all at once”, when asked about work/life balance. I hung onto that for many years. But now, I do feel like it is all coming at once, and I am eager to embrace it all.

To be resilient, to have “bounce”, we must be positive/optimistic, focused, flexible, organized and proactive. Those are the five characteristics of resilient people, according to Daryl R. Conner, who wrote “Managing at the Speed of Change”. Well, that sounds easy enough. But do I REALLY demonstrate these things consistently, day in and day out, especially during the really hard times? I would say I have some room for improvement.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty positive person, so I do have that going for me and that one is critical if I’m going to accomplish any of the others. My parents used to say “there is always someone else who has it worse”. That’s always been a good reminder to me. I’m also quite flexible; more than I used to be. I’ve learned to pick my battles and let go of this idea of “perfection”; to roll with the punches a bit more. I’ve even learned to give myself a bit of a break, at times.

Now let’s talk about the areas I think I can improve upon, if I’m to be totally honest: focus, organization, and proactivity. Focus is hard when the tough stuff is being thrown at you and you are feeling distracted. The same goes for being proactive. I’ve gotten better about “compartmentalizing”. It helps me to think about permanence and pervasiveness. The stuff does not last forever! This, too, shall pass. And the stuff does not affect every part of my life – I have to make sure of that by continuing to think about the really good things that are happening all around me as well (back to that idea of optimism; one of my strengths, thank goodness!) Take a look at this:

What do you think of this visual, developed by Gaur Gopal Prabhu, an International Lifestyle Coach? This helps me refocus. Why spend energy on worrying about things I can (or cannot) control. Instead, I try to use that energy on action, which also helps with being more proactive. (By the way, if you love this visual, you should check out his powerful 1-minute video on the same topic: “Then why worry?”)

So let’s talk about the last one, organization. Full disclosure: this one is, quite possibly, the hardest one for me to admit I am not being the most efficient at as it has historically been one of my strengths. I feel like I’m in this vicious circle: if I was more organized, I could be more efficient with my time, and therefore more productive. My common sense tells me that is reasonable and true. My struggle is finding the time to get organized without dropping one of those balls I am juggling. Now that I am a single mom with her own business, time is a pretty hot commodity. I’m trying to be better about letting go of perfection, and climbing the mountain of organization one step at a time. Setting goals, prioritizing, making lists of things to do and thinking of my day in minutes instead of hours (thank you to Sir Richard Branson for that last one) is helping me take these steps forward. And I’m always looking for other great ideas and suggestions. After all, we are all in this together, right?

Think about your bounce – the power of resilience and what it could help you overcome and/or accomplish in your life. It might just be worth doing a little self-assessment to see what strengths you can leverage and what development needs you can work on. We are all a work in progress.

With that said, I am feeling the need to go out and sort through a couple of boxes in my garage…