Building Resilience

When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away. ~Unknown

We are building resilience. It’s 2021 and I don’t recall a time when the “new year” was greeted simultaneously with such exuberant delight and relief. The sentiment that “we made it” is how many of us rang-in the new year.

I spent 2020 exploring leadership from the perspective of bold grace. After a year – and what a year it was(!) – I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. In 2021 I will spend time unpacking each of what I now believe are critical elements of bold grace. And I invite you to join me on yet another exploration of leadership.

Building Resilience Begins with Mindset

One of the aspects of bold grace is resilience. In 2020, I wrote this about resilience:

I believe resilience is proactive, and I typically think of “tough” as being more reactive. Being resilient means you are always preparing, developing a mindset that keeps you resilient. It’s not something you work towards, and then stop working because you’ve accomplished “resilience.” It’s more like the athlete who gets in top physical condition, and then keeps working to maintain that physical condition. That feels very proactive to me. Tough, on the other hand, feels more like the athlete who maybe doesn’t prepare as much and just endures the pain really well.

I still believe this basic perspective to be true. And, what I’ve been reading recently (from neuroscience to money management) has also emphasized the importance of mindset for resilience. Which brings me back to the quote: “When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away.” That’s all about mindset. And that’s also resilience.

One Way to Build a Resilient Mindset

A number of years ago I worked with a client who was exceptionally driven, smart, and maintained a very full calendar. I can still hear her saying to me, “I just need time to think.” She was right. One aspect of building resilience is spending time to just simply think. What’s so hard about that?

Well, here’s what I learned from Caroline Leaf in Think, Learn, Succeed. Leaf wrote, “In a series of eleven studies done by Timothy Wilson and colleagues at the University of Virginia and Harvard, a number of the participants of all age ranges battled spending six to fifteen minutes alone with nothing to do but think, daydream, and ponder. The majority of the participants didn’t enjoy being alone with their thoughts, while some preferred even shocking themselves to sitting and thinking!” As Leaf points out, many of us would rather aimlessly scroll through social media or use other apps on our devices than just sit and think.

Just 16 Minutes a Day

Our brains actually need thinking time for its health and functioning. There’s a lot more science behind all of this but I’ll spare you the details. Leaf suggests that spending just 16 minutes a day “thinking” can develop a mindset that will in turn build resilience. Leaders who get caught up in the day-to-day crises and don’t allocate time to just think are wearing down their resilience. You can’t lead with bold grace if you aren’t building your resilience.

Why not start the new year with 16 minutes every day of thinking to develop a healthy mindset so you can stop living in the problem and start living in the answer, and lead with bold grace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *