You don’t need to be more resilient. Unless you want to stay in business.
Resilience is a funny thing. We only need it when things go wrong. The rest of the time it’s something for others to worry about.
The poor farmer in Africa; he must be so resilient.
The struggling company; so resilient of them to be hanging in there.
The guy/ girl with no legs… oh so resilient
But here’s the thing.
The absolute worst time to be thinking about resilience is when you need it.
Because, once you realise you need to be more resilient, it’s too late.
We need to see resilience as the practice, not the solution.
In short, we need to practice resilience so that when hard times comes (as they always do) it’s not so much that we’re more resilient, it’s that we’re better than we were before. We can handle more, which in turn means we can give more.
Let me give you an example:
The other week we (Margo and I) had a disaster that put us into damage control and left me dealing with finding alternative accommodation for our guests (we have a vacation rental condo here in The Canadian Rockies). I was in charge of customer relations. To cut a very long story short, I had one particular guest who was exponentially more difficult to appease than all of the others combined. When airbnb came to the rescue and told me “we’ll handle things from here”, I breathed a sigh of relief, as I wasn’t really sure how much more I could take with this particular guest. [I might in future share the whole story with you; when it gets to the point that it’s funny. Still a ways to go…].
The following day I decided to go for a ride to clear my head, and at my turnaround point, the phone rings.
It’s my guest.
And airbnb has dropped the ball…
“Is there anything you can do?”
After hanging up the phone, I’m embarrassed to say that I thought “You know what, this isn’t your problem anymore. Let airbnb deal with it”.
Which was partly true, except; she was my guest…
I picked up the phone and made a call, and two minutes later the problem was solved.
Herein be the lesson:
The day before, in the midst of the storm, I’m not sure I could have handled one more call. But now, a day later, that storm had mostly passed.
To not deal, to not seek a solution would have been acting as if I was still in yesterday’s crisis, which had now passed…
And because I’d pushed through, I had the capacity to act. To deliver.
Here’s an interesting thing to remember.
Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of a storm like that, we have to remind ourselves if we keep pushing it will eventually be behind us.
Like riding a bike uphill.
Like weight training.
Like going above and beyond for your clients.
When it’s done, we are on the other side.
Reputable as someone who delivers.
Which brings the question I have for you:
What are you doing, in business and in life, to be better?
What are you doing to practice resilience?
Airbnb were actually awesome to deal with during this experience. Yes, we had a few hiccups, but all in all they were exceptional. My other two partners, VRBO and FlipKey? Let’s just say we are partners no more…
the good: at least half what i eat is raw (aka “healthy”); early to bed & early to rise; I come up with at least 10 ideas every day (as per James Altucher’s Daily Practice); constant conscious effort to let go (as per Letting Go: the Pathway of Surrender) of what might otherwise unnecessarily anchor my mind/emotions in unpleasant areas; GTD daily/weekly/quarterly reviews (as per David Allen’s Getting Things Done); a certain amount of exercise is built into my life because I don’t own a car so I bike/walk/run almost everywhere
the bad: I’ve been lazy lately when I wake up early and break my promise to myself to work on my business; I fell off my martial arts training regimen – another promise to myself broken… breaking promises to myself is depressing
the ugly: I drank 15 beers over the last weekend when I took three days off to celebrate my birthday… that might not seem like much, but for me it’s heavy drinking and my body isn’t used to it so I feel kind of beat up from it after the fact and having to recover from it makes me regretful…
I’M SO GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD THAT HAS TRULY BECOME HABIT COUNTERBALANCING MY ERRORS, GIVING ME SLACK (SAVING GRACE REALLY), AND KEEPING ME PRODUCTIVE EVEN WHEN I’M NOT ON TOP OF MY GAME.
Warren Macdonald says:
Love it Simon, the Good, Bad and Ugly You know, Tim Ferris says you should have a blowout every week! Well, maybe not a blowout, but at least a free day where you eat what you want
Thanks for sharing!
Hey Warren, I’m not getting email notifications about replies… Can that be enabled? Thanks
martin kelly says:
Warren, appreciate your thoughts on resilience!
It can also be a boon to confidence, which can then help to make the “right” decision first time round as it helps to take fear out of the equation.
Warren Macdonald says:
Exactly Martin! That’s why we “practice” resilience; so we can keep getting better at it
Chris DAVIDSON says:
Hi Warren – long time no hear and lovely to read this article. It’s excellent – I’m going to share it across my network. Thanks for taking the time to write it.
Warren Macdonald says:
Thanks Chris, Great to see your comment here; hope you’re doing well.
And yes, please do share