Life happens.

You’ve probably heard that phrase or one similar to it. It means something along the lines of – there are things in life that we cannot control. Sometimes it feels like life just happens to us, as though we have no say in the situations and circumstances.

When ‘life happens’, how we respond is important. How do you answer? How do you react? What choices do you make? You can’t always control what happens to/around you, BUT you can choose how you handle it. Do you have the strength to walk through? Are you willing to wrestle with what is happening? Do you have the mental, emotional, and physical fortitude?

I’m asking about your resilience. Resilience is a word commonly used in corporate lingo, leadership training, and even small talk. What is it? How do we grow it? Resilience seems to be one of those things we should have as leaders but few talk about what it is, how we grow in it so we can withstand when Life happens.

The goal of resilience is to get back to where you were prior to adversity (life happening). The goal is NOT to get stronger or move beyond where you were. Instead, resilience is the strength to walk through and emerge STRONG on the other side. That’s the working definition I use with clients – resilience means to emerge strong from adversity.

How do we grow in resilience? There are two big ideas I have found for growing in resilience:

Push & Pull.

The first is Push yourself. You might be wondering what to do? Anything that pushes you outside your comfort zone a little will build resilience. Use the last 5 seconds of your shower on COLD water. Walk 2 miles instead of 1.5. Volunteer somewhere that you don’t know anyone. It matters less what you do as long as you do something daily that moves you to be a little uncomfortable.

Second is Pull back. This is about self-care. By choosing to build self-care into your regular rhythms, it will be more natural to choose self-care when adversity comes. There are times the adversity that hits our life requires a sense of acquiescence. Acquiescence is acceptance of something I don’t want, like or desire. The ability to acquiesce requires resilience.

When we have opportunity to Push & Pull in preparation for adversity, I offer this acronym – MBSW. These are the dominions of self (what I call them anyway). Mind, Body, Soul, and Work. If we learn to Push and Pull in each of these areas, we have a better chance of handling whatever comes our way.

Push so we have strength in the midst of adversity.

Pull so we know how to rest in the midst of and reflect when we’ve come through.

Build your resilience today so you can emerge strong from adversity.