Proactive resilience


With the pace and speed of change in the world and in business, resilience is a core attribute at all levels, and this very much includes personal resilience for leaders.

All successful leaders have built their own toolkit for their own resilience.

My question for you today, though, is:

“how proactive are you about your resilience?”

Resilience is all too often a matter of how you cope when things get tough. Reactive, in other words. What if you elevate your self-leadership to see in the crystal ball that you will need resilience in the future even if things are quite wonderful right now.

Sometimes you will have no idea what, where, when, how that will look, so you need general structures and tools. Other times you can predict it.

Let’s delve in more….

I feel that this is a good time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere, and particularly latitudes where the weather is about to noticeably cool off (eg not my Caribbean people!) to be considering proactive resilience.

Recently I wrote in “When will you next recharge..yourself?” :

“Singly the most obvious gain for leaders to focus upon in the performance of their organisation.. is their OWN performance.

A key part of their own performance is paying attention to what depletes their battery, as well as what recharges it.”


“…consider for yourself such areas as:

  • Nutrition – do you eat healthily or just grab and go? conscious of how many calories you consume?
  • Physical fitness – are you fit and strong and healthy or overweight and find excuses not to exercise?
  • Sleep – the average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep each day. Simple structures can ensure most get this, but few take the steps.”

The next day, I reflected in “Beautiful words – aestivate” on the word aestivate:

“Word of the day: “aestivate” – to pass the summer in a state of torpor, drowsiness & lowered metabolic rate (from the Latin aestas, summer); also to summer in a place. A creature or person may emerge from “aestivation” in autumn as from “hibernation” in spring.”

In addition to such areas as those I list above, what about mental wellness and resilience? In this area of self-leadership I have written several times about stoicism, and in “Writing I love – the Roman Stoics” I noted a quote from Tim Ferris that stoicism as a philosophy and set of tools can be used for:

“training yourself to separate what you can control from what you cannot control, and then doing exercises to focus exclusively on the former. This decreases emotional reactivity, which can be a superpower.”

So, as we emerge from the summer towards the Autumn and Winter, consider what you can do, proactively, to be ready to be resilient when the time comes.

To use my personal example, at this time last year I was coming through a period of intense personal change (having relocated to a new country and new city and several other key shifts), and I found myself unprepared to cope with something as simple and predictable as…winter. You see, it was the first winter I’d lived through in 28 years. Cold and often wet, very short days, central heating that badly impacted my sinuses etc.

As a result, I struggled in lots of ways through the winter.

So, this year, practicing what I preached, I really paid attention to proactive resilience this summer. I have really worked on my fitness, diet, nutrition, sleep and other physical structures. I have found a great pilates trainer and work with them weekly, a riding buddy for Sunday morning bike rides etc.

On the mental side, various proactive support elements as simple as having built networks of people, groups etc that stimulate my brain (and will get me out of the house to events in the dark of winter rather than “veg out” indoors like I often did last winter!).

Seasonal weather and climate changes are predictable, as are many seasonal business changes, children’s school calendars, deadlines, budgets, appraisals, sales targets etc.

The more leaders are personally prepared for future events (predictable and otherwise), the more they are able to support themselves and those around them.

Proactive resilience. Practice it.

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