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  • 1.  Growing Our Capacity for Resilience

    Posted 03-11-2021 07:36
    I just posted, "Using the Science of Resilience to Encourage Each Other and Volunteer," over on the Connect Blog. Now more than ever, it seems like we're having to adapt to new challenges, and in doing so, we're growing our capacity to be resilient. When you have a moment, take a look and let me know your thoughts. What's easiest for you? What's most challenging? What other ways have you adjusted how you care for yourself and others in the last year? 

    Jenny Stotts

  • 2.  RE: Growing Our Capacity for Resilience

    Posted 09-01-2021 16:08
    @Jenny Stotts I was looking through the Connect blogs and found your gem about the science of resilience! Many months later, we find ourselves pretty much in the same position regarding the pandemic, ​and resilience is a necessity at this point. I fully appreciate each of the points you made: checking in with someone, promoting wellness, finding purpose, and practicing gratitude...the one that made me go, "YES!" is maintaining perspective. I am a firm believer that the bad stuff we work through makes us stronger and proud of ourselves on the other side.  

    A personal example is when I worked at a place where we had hard deadlines and it was a company norm to occasionally work late/weekends to meet them. One time, a member of the team pulled an all-nighter in the office, and when the rest of us showed up the next morning he was still there, in the same clothes, unshaved, and ready to work another full day to meet the deadline. That was a crazy one-off experience, and the company owners gave this person extra time off, a gift card, and made a big deal about this extraordinary commitment. Then a couple months later, it happened again where a different person worked overnight. And then  it happened again with someone else, and it started to become sort of routine and even expected. 

    Although I was not in danger of needing to pull an all-nighter due to my role at the company, when this started happening to my colleagues, I felt like I was in a confused fog. I was committed to the company and believed in their work product, but the growing lack of concern for work/life balance, and seeming lack of concern for the employees' mental health, became a huge dilemma for me. After several months, I finally decided I needed to leave, and that I couldn't work at a place that had devolved that far. It was an agonizing time for me, but in my exit interview I told the owner exactly why I was leaving. For me, it was a matter of morals.

    After making the decision to leave, I realized how much I had grown through that whole experience, and felt proud of myself for making a professional decision based on my moral compass. In hindsight, I wouldn't trade that agonizing experience for anything, because of the growth and personal pride I experienced by going through it. 

    Now when I feel like I'm in a fog--going through a confusing situation or feeling indecisive about something--I try to remember to maintain perspective. I've been in that fog before, and there will be more in my future. In the midst of it, I have no idea how it's going to turn out. But in the end, every time I've learned and grown from it. I once heard an acronym for FOG: Friggen Opportunity for Growth!

    Maintaining perspective has been a sanity-saver for me, and definitely contributes to being resilient in difficult times. What might we all learn by going through the fog of this pandemic?

    Thanks so much for sparking this for me--I'd love to hear if any of these resilience points resonated with other Connectors, let's hear it!  
    A forest in fog with sunshine

    Maria Liccardo

  • 3.  RE: Growing Our Capacity for Resilience

    Posted 09-07-2021 13:53
    @Maria Liccardo - Thank you for sharing this story. Wow, so much to pull from it. One thing that's really hitting me is how something can move from extraordinary to run-of-the-mill/expected over time. I can't even possibly imagine a work environment where pulling all-nighters is a thing, but then again, I'm also a person who prioritizes sleep over a lot.

    Love love love the FOG acronym, and ​the reminder to maintain perspective. That's a goal of mine, but one that I'm not always great at achieving. I have a bad habit of getting really caught up in the whirlwind of [insert thing here], especially if there's a lot of logistics and decisions to be made. The further I narrow in, the harder it is for me to see the bigger picture. Which makes it harder still to remember/see the biggest picture of all: is it actually that big of a deal in the greater scheme of life? 

    When I'm feeling overwhelmed I tend to go back to the things I know I can control - cleaning my apartment, going grocery shopping/meal planning, making a plan to see a friend, giving myself a hair cut - and when I notice I'm doing those things, it reminds me to take a step back and ask if those are items that just need to get done, or if I'm feeling overwhelmed/panicky and need to check my perspective. I'm grateful I've reached an age that I can acknowledge those things, even if it's not always easy to "fix" the problem associated with them.

    Stay awesome,

  • 4.  RE: Growing Our Capacity for Resilience

    Posted 09-09-2021 10:37
    This was an excellent read-on-break between projects today! @Jenny Stotts  thanks for the blog, and @Maria Liccardo and Quinn thanks for the insights!​​​​

    First insight: I think more than ever, this pandemic has allowed me to really see the feel and use the process of mini breaks during the day at work. It might be the organization I'm with-I started this specific nonprofit work right about the same time as the pandemic so it's hard to separate what's what- but I feel like I've learned through the power of example and work atmosphere that it's okay to step away from the computer for a walk around the block with a mug of tea. I can't tell you how much this has helped me keep perspective, be grateful, and check-in with myself (as well as others). I lost the habit back in the thick of summer (high season) and this is a good reminder to get back into that. 

    Second insight: I've also learned to relish the slow months while you can (not every month is a slow month), collaborate earlier with team members on bigger projects so that the best ideas get into the room before we have to back track.

    And the Whammy: I think a lot of resilience has been in understanding the cycle of my work, the cycle of my partner's work, and the cycle of my stressors. @Quinn Drew, a few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly stressed. The house was a mess, work was changing rapidly without my control, and my husband seemed oblivious to my need to be taken care of by small daily things like 'feeding the cats' and 'putting his dishes into the dish washer and not just the sink.' I have to admit that he was not oblivious, but instead dealing with his own stressors.

    Regardless, I felt like the world was on my shoulders and so instead of getting up early to work out for a while (a stress-relief resilience practice), I decided to clean out some things and move some furniture around for a fresh perspective. When my husband woke up, and saw that I was in the middle of probably 10 different chores at once, he realized that I had crossed over into a scary place, a place perhaps he hadn't been aware of until it was so visible  and in front of him. This allowed him to ask me about it, which in turn allowed me to talk about it. And even though he had several meetings he was prepping for and leading that day, he spent time helping me finish the chores and rearranging the furniture before he got swept into his stuff.  I haven't always been a stress-organizer, but this pandemic has really brought it out. And I'm learning (slowly) to use those moments as a sign, too, that I need to speak up about what I need.  Being resilient for me is connected to balancing the emotional and mental  workload of running the house in addition to my work and volunteer obligations. The pandemic has tested my balance a lot (understatement). Finding the way through (no way out but through) and trusting that I will find the way out of a bad feeling, a bad day, a bad outlook, is something I'm practicing.​