Resilience is one of the most important skills that you can develop. Being resilient helps you get through challenging times, adapt and thrive in any situation, and reduce the impact of stress.
I spoke with Amberly Lago, a motivational speaker, coach, and bestselling author, to learn more about cultivating resilience and why it’s such an important skill.
Lago’s life was turned upside down when she was in a severe accident that left her with a 1% chance of keeping her leg. It took 34 surgeries to save her leg and she was left with a nerve disease that causes chronic pain. In the blink of an eye, her life had changed. Doctors told her she’d be wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. Fast forward ten years, and Lago is not only up and walking, but running, exercising, and dancing just like she used to, and she credits all of that to one thing – resilience.
The power of resilience.
Resilience is a quality that allows you to become stronger after experiencing a challenge or setback. In business, challenges happen almost daily, and resilience allows you to embrace those challenges rather than fearing them. Lago defines resilience as bouncing forward. “Bouncing back isn’t quite the right definition of resilience,” she explains. “Instead, I think of resilience as bouncing forward. It's choosing to find the courage to live a life filled with joy and happiness no matter what. It’s not just overcoming an obstacle, it's becoming the best version of yourself.” Lago thinks of resilience as equal parts grit and grace - grit for the hard work and determination, grace for listening to your body and finding compassion for yourself.
Another powerful advantage of resilience is that it can help prevent burnout. While we often associate resilience with grit and perseverance, it’s also about having compassion for yourself. It’s important to listen to your body so that you know when to push through and when to step back and pause. Constantly pushing through is what leads to burnout, and slowing down is the antidote.
Make time for rest.
Resilience allows you to step away from what you’re doing with confidence and know that after a break you’ll come back stronger. When you’re resting, you’re recovering. Lago is a firm believer in the power of rest. “Instead of looking at resting as a luxury, we need to look at it as a necessity. And if you really want to be resilient, you have to strategically stop and make time for recovery and rejuvenation."
Put yourself on your to do list.
It's incredibly important to make time for yourself during the day. When you make a to do list, it’s usually filled with things to do for work or tasks you need to do around the house. You’re simply running from one task to the next, not leaving any time to pause or check in with yourself. If you schedule time for yourself on your calendar, it’s much harder to put it off. “We need to make ourselves a priority. We shouldn’t wait until it’s too late, when we’re so exhausted we can hardly function,” advises Lago, who admits this is something she has to constantly remind herself of.
Lago’s advice is to come up with healthy habits that you can implement into your life every single day. Start by creating healthy habits in the morning, so you can get your day started off right. Practice meditation, write in a gratitude journal, exercise, cook breakfast, whatever feels right for you to do. You can vary things day by day depending on what mood you’re in so that you’re always listening to your body and doing what’s right for yourself in that moment.
You’re in control of what happens to you.
Lago lives by a quote her grandfather would often tell her: “you've got a shovel in your hand, and you can lean on it and pray for a hole or you can start digging.” In other words, you’re in control of what happens to you. You can hope that things will fall into place or you can take an active approach to making them happen. The key is to focus on what you can do or control, not what you can’t. Don’t waste energy on trying to change others, instead, focus on creating positive change within yourself.
Resilience is something that you have to work at, but it’s also something that the more work you put in, the more benefit you get out of it. Make time to practice building resilience every day, and you’ll start to reap the rewards immediately.
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