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Posted by on Aug 1, 2017

When You Manage Resilience, Your Best Self Shows Up

When You Manage Resilience, Your Best Self Shows Up

A smiling, resilient professional

Resilience is something of a hot-button skill in 2017, especially for folks with careers in public service. It carries a theme of overcoming chaotic, uncertain environments, but it also connects to opportunity and the (re)discovery of vital strengths for yourself, your team, or your organization.

In chaotic times like these, frustration and exhaustion creep up like a ninja if you don’t check in with yourself and revisit how you’re managing your resilience.

While it’s often easier to focus on what drags you down (people seem to like saying misery loves company much more than positivity loves professionals), it’s crucial to make time to find, and utilize, what makes you a strong professional.

I recently co-led—with human capital and talent management expert, Debbie Eshelman—a professional development conference session entitled, “How to be Resilient During Chaotic Times.” This session was for a group of attendees at the recent Federally Employed Women National Training Program (FEW NTP) in New Orleans.

The session concluded with each participant sharing a message about how their ability to be resilient had just changed, and what they can immediately do differently to maintain strength.

Here are some of the top ways to focus, recover, and find strength in difficult times:

  • Start every day with a focus on yourself. Dedicate (and defend) time that’s just about you.
  • Start every week with a specific effort to improve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual balance.
  • When experiencing challenge (or even failure), look for the learning opportunity that’s meaningful to you.
  • Don’t ask yourself to do it all—ask yourself to do what you can.
  • Take a few minutes each day to reflect, breathe, and think about a specific action you can take to make the next day better.

These tips are important for any individual or team, even in positive environments. At some point, everybody’s resilience wanes, and “weathering the storm” is no safe bet for bouncing back.

For our session, Debbie and I drew from a Management Concepts training course, Fostering Accountability, Adaptability, and Resilience, which covers everyday techniques for thriving and helping others thrive in today’s complex, uncertain, and often chaotic environments. Sign up now for one of our upcoming classes!

Further reading:

For a play-by-play overview of the inspiration, wisdom, and techniques shared at the FEW NTP conference, check out our conference recap—takeaways from the session were timely, plentiful, and immediately useful; and the presenters were inspiring.


  1. Great read. In your list of tips, the first one (”Start every day with a focus on yourself. Dedicate (and defend) time that’s just about you.”) is the most important one. There are very many things that require our time and focus all during the day from our kids, siblings, the dog, our spouse, aging parents, friends, coworkers, boss, annoying neighbor, and the list can go on from there. We battling all the issues presented by all these people, we don’t always take the time to nurture ourselves. I find it helps me get through the day, and it helps me better cope with any stressors, if I start my day with a mindset of relaxation and meditation and exercise. When the mind and body are in the right place, I think it helps make everything else fall into place more easily, or if nothing else, it helps me to respond to things more effectively.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you very much for sharing your perspective, Will! When it comes to being resilient, a little selfishness is crucial. We can’t be our best self to others unless we first tend to our own needs. This might be an odd analogy, but it reminds me of one safety protocol that airlines ask you to follow. You know…put on your own oxygen mask and then tend to those traveling with you. We are better equipped to deal with the unknown or uncertainty when we first prepare ourselves.

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