How To Stay Resilient - Even When The Weather Outside Is Frightful

After last week’s ice storm, I had officially had it with the Winter of 2010/11. I’d just finished chopping the ice away from my front door and rescheduling yet another client meeting because of the weather. Working in my home office – with the main power out and the noise from my generator outside making it hard to think – I took a break to read a new post on my sister Ellie’s blog.

Ellie runs an online marketing/PR firm and is a terrific blogger. In her post, titled “Snow Time Like The Present: OMG”, she talked about the toll the out-of-control winter weather was taking on her business and life at large (you can read her post here).

Ellie’s piece brought to mind The Serenity Prayer –

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We reference it in our training and coaching work because it so neatly defines what we mean by resilience. When facing adversity, some of us stay in too long beating our heads against things that we can’t really do much about – staff cuts, budget constraints, the weather. Others of us fail to see where we’ve got some leverage and quit too soon, missing real problem solving opportunities. Either way, we burn precious resources, including our ability to stay focused, energized and optimistic.

The Serenity Prayer can provide a simple roadmap for effectively steering through the day. But when we lack the wisdom to know the difference between what we can change and what we can’t, our serenity - and our resilience - go right out the window.

So here’s a quick tip for how to get it right more of the time:

  • If you’re spending too much time and energy on a given problem and not getting anywhere, ask yourself, “What’s the likelihood that I can gain any more leverage on this situation right now?” If the answer is low odds, then put your attention on another challenge with a clearer, more immediate path to success.
  • If you find yourself dead-ended and ready to quit problem solving, ask yourself a simple question: “What’s one more thing I can do right now to move this situation forward?” If something concrete comes to mind, act on it. If not, ask a team member or friend for their input – especially someone that often has a different point of view from yours.

How do you find the wisdom to know the difference? I’d love to hear from you.

All the best,


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