Our Resilience Teachers

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

I’ve done nearly a dozen webinars these past three weeks speaking to global audiences about how we can strengthen our resilience in the face of this pandemic.

In all these sessions, I’ve emphasized the inherent biological nature of resilience and how it is hard-wired into us. Much as gravity keeps us tethered to the earth as a physical imperative, our resilience biology forces us to confront and overcome adversity.

Even though we are in the throes of a crisis never witnessed in our lifetimes, we can call on past experiences to help us weather this storm. We’ve all had our share of challenges and adversities and recalling how you dealt with them provices insight in how you can succeed over Corona.

I’ve been sharing, in my webinars, about my resilience teachers. I wrote about my daughter, Corinne, a few weeks and I’ve also recalled a couple of other incidents that have helped me strengthen my resolve to go beyond surviving in order to thrive.

The first was after 9/11 when my company was providing stress debriefings to American Airline personnel at D/FW Airport. As I describe in The Resilience Advantage, I met up with Susan who was a flight attendant scheduled to fly out to Paris one week after the tragedy but was unsure she could make the flight. After a few hours or talking in the airport terminal, she stood up and declared that she “had to fly…for herself, her fallen comrades, her company and for the country.” Off she went with her found sense of purpose.

The other incident that woke me to my own resilience was when I was laid off from my senior corporate position 11 years ago during the Great Recession. I was filled with shock and anger just trying to get my head around the idea that I had lost my job, but after a few months it struck me that this was going to be an amazing opportunity to reinvent myself and create an exciting new career, which, of course, it did. Once again, finding a sense of purpose woke up my resilience and helped me forge a new path.

Your Challenge this Week: What or Who have been the resilience teachers in your life. Recall those experiences and what made the outcomes successful. Those same tools will come in handy today

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