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“In order to be strong, you must accept difficulty and work with it, not against it.” Nietzsche

Resiliency is a new buzzword. I have been asked to present at several professional development conferences on the topic of resiliency. I believe we used to call it work/life balance, stress management, and self-care. And the word was resilience.

I was also asked by one person if I know anything about resiliency. “Yes”, I replied. She then asked if I knew about personal or professional resiliency, I said “Both”. She then suggested that they didn’t want to know about traumatic things like domestic violence or sexual assault, and what did I know about professional resiliency? I said, “I’m 70 and have had 4 careers.” Silence, and then this, “Oh, we want young women to talk about resiliency. Thanks anyway.”

She had called me. I wasn’t looking for the opportunity she brought me. I was excited to explore this topic because I have designed and delivered several workshops on it for personal and professional growth.

Many thoughts went through, and are still going through my mind.

Accepting and working with difficulty is easy to say. Depending on the ‘difficulty’, we do not become resilient alone. That said, we often experience periods of what feels like extreme aloneness along the way.

We live in a world of slogans. They are so handy and so empty. “Bouncing back” makes it sound like we are rubber bands that can be stretched and we regain our previous shape.

This is what I have learned about myself; I need BOTH personal and professional help. Formal supports help, counselors, therapists, advisors, etc. AND the kind of friends who have the courage to stay. Not give advice, tell me their stories, ask what I’ve tried and “have you thought of this?” But those who stay.

What about you?

What have you learned about resilience (my preferred word) both personally and professionally? If there are elements that must be there in order to move through difficulty, what are they? I’d love to hear from you.

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