To “accept what is” and “work for change” is one of my favorite paradoxes. A paradox is something that seems impossible but may in fact be true. The time we find ourselves in now often seems very impossible – we’re contending with a mysterious and lethal virus, enormous levels of pain, social distancing, a plunging economy, and tremendous uncertainty.
And, in so many ways we humans are paradoxical and impossible beings by our very nature. One aspect of the paradox of being human is the tension and contrast between acknowledging our humanness and our hearts, and at same time, skillfully navigating the world of business, entrepreneurship, and getting things done. From the context of business and entrepreneurship, accepting what is and seeing clearly is essential. And, at the same time as leaders and business people we are always planning, envisioning, and working toward change.
A key skill and practice in our personal lives and business lives, when working with what often seems challenging or at times impossible, is resilience. Resilience is the ability and the capacity to be responsive and to stay aligned with your purpose and vision, in the midst of uncertainty and challenges.
Resilience is both a mindset and a practice with three core areas – relationships, well-being, and purpose and meaning. Let’s unpack these a little:
Relationships – make the time to have one-to-one conversations where you can be open and vulnerable. It’s also valuable to participate in small groups in order to practice speaking and listening openly. This is the practice of supporting others and being supported. Consciously making time for relationships is a core part of supporting well-being and cultivating responsiveness; ways to cultivate resilience.
Well-being – during these times, it feels especially important to return to the most obvious and essential well-being practices – getting enough sleep and exercise, conscious eating, and energy management. These are all interconnected and critically important for our health, both physical and mental. These are “sharpening the saw” practices – taking the time to stop and take care of you (you are the saw) so that you can act and get more done with less effort. A sharper saw is so much more resilient than a dull saw.
Purpose and meaning – find ways to step outside yourself and help others. Cultivate a “beginner’s mind” when it comes to having a daily meditation practice, spending time in nature, and cultivating curiosity and kindness. Cultivating purpose and meaning is the practice of reframing; seeing that the ordinary is extraordinary; moving toward seeing what actually is, helping us to be more responsive and resilient.
Resilience practice, accepting what is, and working for change are terrific, life-long practices that offer myriad benefits for us personally and professionally.
Some resources for further exploring resilience:
- American Psychological Association: Building Your Resilience
- Linda Graham: Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being
- Anne Hillman: We Look With Uncertainty
We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.