Enhance Your Resilience

Sackeena Gordon-Jones, Transformation Edge Coaching & Consulting

How do you deal with life adversities? Today, more than ever, we face a constant barrage of adversities. In the midst of setting goals, working diligently, and supporting our families, life happens! We get knocked off our kilter. Our ability to be resilient brings us back with a determination that reflects the ‘fire in our belly’. How do we tap into that fire in the face of these challenging times? How do we sustain our momentum, accomplish our most meaningful goals, and experience personal and professional fulfillment? The answer is by enhancing our resilience.

First, let’s agree on what we mean by resilience. A simple, straightforward definition is “the capacity to maintain or recover a high-level of well-being in the face of life’s adversities”. If we unpack that definition, we gain the realization that resilience is seen as:

  • the ability to overcome setbacks
  • the ability to absorb learning gleaned from those setbacks 
  • the ability to sustain energy even under constant pressure
  • the determination to overcome adversity by focusing on possibilities
  • the courage to press forward, keeping the faith

Why make resilience a focal point? Simply put, resilience impacts our well-being. Well-being is fundamental to our personal and organizational success. Therefore, increasing our resilience is imperative.

There are two keys to increasing your resilience: Gratitude and Perspective.

  1. Gratitude: recognition that what I am facing is not more than what I’m blessed with. I realized this year, as I was facing a skin cancer diagnoses with multiple biopsies and excisions, I felt vulnerable and anxious. Then I considered a friend who went to the hospital for sores on her feet and left with an amputation. My friend said she was grateful for her life! After personal reflection, I counted my blessings. There were more than I could count on both hands. I picked up my crutches and didn’t miss a day of work.
  2. Perspective: There are multiple ways to view things, and expanding our perspectives increases our ability to be resilient. In fact, we can train our brain to gain perspective. When faced with adversity, does our brain see it as a challenge or threat? When all we see is threat (eat or be eaten), we feel a loss of control, an either-or situation. This sends signals to release cortisol, which heightens our stress level and lowers our cognitive functions. If, instead we change perspectives and see the situation as a challenge, our brain will look for what’s possible. This gives us the ability to expand our choices and increase our sense of control and significance. This signals our brain to release well-being chemicals - oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. These hormones influence the 'fire in our belly' and we rise to the challenge.

Make no mistake - resilience is not bouncing back effortlessly. It is pressing forward in the face of, because we see possibilities and learn from the adversities. It requires effort, decision-making, active work, mindfulness, and intentionality. It is a conscious choice you can make with three steps, and working with a coach can help you put these steps into action.

  1. Increase your emotional intelligence
    • Identify the emotions that rising from the adverse situation. You can’t change something without labeling it (anxiety, sadness, humiliation, frustration, etc.).
    • Identify what’s triggering it. Often, a disinformation strategy like FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) triggers our negative emotions. Get to the source of FUD - it impacts how you think, feel, believe, and behave.
  2. Manage yourself
    • Shift perspectives
    • Acknowledge your power
    • Release FUD and trust God
  3. Recover your autonomy
    • Focus on your well-being and help your brain release happy chemicals
      • Laugh, eat chocolate, or jerk-chicken
      • Break down your goals, set mini-milestones, and celebrate each one
      • Reflect on what you got done, not on what you have to do
    • Choose a desired emotion and do one thing to bring that closer to reality
    • Have a mindful moment and reflect on what you’re grateful for.

Find a certified professional coach. The Center partners with International Coach Federation (ICF) Raleigh and Charlotte chapters to offer the Pro Bono Coaching Assistance Program. Center Members can work one-on-one with a coach for leadership/executive coaching, personal/career coaching, and wellness/health coaching. Learn more and request a coach.

Sackeena Gordon-Jones, PhD, MCC is a master certified executive and leadership coach, speaker, trainer, author, and consultant. She is the chief coaching officer for Transformation Edge Coaching & Consulting, and works with leaders who lead in a fast-paced market, face uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in delivering sustainable results for their organizations and want to accomplish meaningful goals, more harmony, and less stress. Sackeena’s comprehensive education and vast experience in leadership and human development, coupled with brain-based coaching, diversity, inclusion, and organization development fuels her capacity to deliver impactful coaching, consulting, and training that creates a clear return on investment. She’s a member of ICF Raleigh, and served as co-chair of ICF Southeast Region, two-term past president of ICF Raleigh, and is a current board member of Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO). Additionally, she leads the Business Coaching Certificate Program in partnership with North Carolina State University.

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