When we hear the term resilience, we often imagine the training that an athlete might go through to get to the Olympics or a soldier training for battle. We think that the hours of training makes those individuals resilient ones. Truth is, we are actually describing their abilities to endure. Let’s face it – training for the Olympics requires endurance. So what exactly is resilience?
According to the Resilience Research Centre, resilience is not an individual phenomenon. Believing that if you “tough it out” a little longer, the more successful and resilient you will become is a typical western interpretation of resilience. When we harness the resources within our surrounding environments – our families and communities, and not just our individual psychological or social responses, we react and adapt to adversity for the well-being of ourselves and others. Let’s spend a moment thinking about the hundreds of thousands of athletes that have represented their countries for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Notice how all of the interviews with bronze, silver or gold medalists include a heartfelt tribute to families, coaches, trainers, fellow sportspeople, and the pride associated with taking a medal home for one’s country? That isn’t just gratitude and pride, its collective resilience – facing enormous adversity to bring home a medal and in some cases to break world records. That represents “toughing it out” for a greater good and for a purpose larger than the individual.
The last two weeks have presented a great amount of adversity for me as an entrepreneur. While I’m no athlete in any form, I will admit to reaching a state close to burn-out where both my brain and body refused to give me anymore. It was clear that a time-out was absolutely necessary. So in the spirit of recovery, and with blessings from the weather gods yesterday, I took a moment to spend time in front of the ocean, and instead of plugging away at my laptop in the evening, I watched a movie with my hubby. Yes, my to-do list continues to grow and gnaw away at the back of my mind every chance it gets, but it feels good to stop for a day.
Moral of the story: Being overworked and exhausted does not equal resilience – it’s called workaholism! It has a negative effect on other life areas. I may be immersed in my efforts to launch my first digital product on most days and nights, but even I know when the best answer to stress is a good rest.