Mary-Ann Owens and Associates

Resilience Blog

Reaching your goals with Grit

Stepping Outside External Pressures to Ensure Resilience

Stepping Outside External Pressures to Ensure Resilience

There are many articles on the internet that talk about how self-care helps build resilience. Resilient people meet the world on their own terms, not aligning too much on external views. So being resilient depends on your ability to look after your own needs regardless of the external pressures around you.

What are some of the external pressures we need to resist?

The Busy Syndrome: It seems in our culture that being busy and doing a lot is a badge of honor. Taking time to sit quietly, walk aimlessly or doing nothing can do you a world of good, bringing stress levels down and resilience up. Taking a cue from nature, like the changing seasons and we need to periodically rest and rejuvenate to be effective.

Take a look at your to-do lists. Try eliminating unnecessary tasks. You could put pleasant activities on it like taking a stroll in the park, meditating or attending a tai chi or yoga class.

The Never Enough Syndrome: No matter what you do it isn’t enough. This attitude keeps you running on a wheel like a hamster. You can counter this by saying to yourself after accomplishing some goals, “This is enough and I am satisfied with my accomplishments today.”

Accepting that you have finite energy and resources helps you to be realistic about what can be accomplished.

The Expert, Other Person Knows What I Should Do Syndrome: Often we think that others know more about what it is we need more than we do ourselves. Your body will tell you what it needs if you tap into it. I keep seeing references to statements that our bodies don’t lie.

Try sitting silently and tap into your body to see how it feels. What thoughts and feelings come to mind? What is your body trying to tell you? What does your body need? Then do what it needs!

The Everything is Fine Syndrome: Often we get out of touch with our body and think all is fine when we are actually running on reserves and taking our body for granted.

A way to see how you really are is to scan your body for tension and take the time to relax this tension throughout the day. I’m reading a book called Deep Listening by Jillian Pransky. The author indicates we should scan our bodies 3 times a day. She even sets her alarm to ensure she taps into her body on particularly stressful days.

Being resilient means stepping outside external pressures looking after your needs so that you can be effective over time.

"We make space inside ourselves, so that being can speak."  Martin Heidegger

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Embracing a New Season

Embracing a New Season

The fall (winter) has come in like a lion where I live. It is usually quite nice here until the end of October, and then the snow stays. However, it has been a very different fall this year. It has snowed a lot. This is very early in the season and much of the snow continues to stick around.

I was wondering how to resiliently deal with this abrupt change, rather than getting grumpy about it.

Here are some ways to embrace an early winter:

  1. Create time and space for self-reflection. Making time for quiet in your work and life can help you understand and get on top of your needs, desires, and goals.
  2. Go for a walk in the snow. The snow tends to make your walking quieter allowing for time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings.
  3. Play in the snow. Exercise your muscles by getting the snow off your car in a playful way, or build a snowman or make a snow angel. There must be many fun things to do with all this white stuff, limited only by our imaginations.
  4. Buy yourself a gorgeous toque. I keep seeing these lovely ones with lots of Nordic patterning or ones with a beautifully stylish and furry pompom on top.
  5. Journal or talk with a good friend while enjoying a warm drink (hot chocolate, tea, latte, coffee, pumpkin or turmeric spiced, etc.). This helps you get in touch with how you are feeling so that you can deal with and manage those feelings.
  6. Get out your skates, snowshoes, or cross-country skis. As you know being active has many benefits.
  7. Layer your clothing so that you will stay warm. You can always take one layer off if you are too warm.
  8. Get those wonderful winter boots out and ready or buy a new pair if yours are worn out.
  9. Create a cozy corner in your house. This may mean a place to meditate, read or do a hobby. Make it cozy by including blankets, pillows or a heating pad.
  10. Warm yourself up whenever you need to. I notice in the Nordic countries people either sauna or sit in hot water to keep warm all year around. It can be as simple as a hot bath with Epson salts, soaking in a hot tub, or enjoying a wood or infrared sauna, or steam. The infrared option helps remove toxins as well.

Hoping that these ideas help you embrace and enjoy this fall/winter and that you are able to appreciate the season all the more by welcoming some of the opportunities it brings for warmth, creativity and reflection.

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What This Blog is About

What This Blog is About

Welcome to The Resilience Blog.

The topics in this blog help you be more resilient in your career and as a leader. I write about ways to gain momentum and positively move through blocks that get in the way of your goals. I post articles on the blog about once a week. 

When I did my research study for my Ph.D., I got to conduct interviews with a number of successful and admired leaders. What fascinated me about them was how resilient they were. They had grown into leaders who could make things happen by demonstrating their resilience, confidence, and adaptive behaviours. I will teach you how to use and apply these resilient behaviours in your leadership and career leading to new levels of success. 

I am completing a book on Career Grit, which will include content and themes that will appear in the blog. If you have a story about overcoming challenges and becoming increasingly resilient in the process, I would love hearing about it. 

I am passionate about these career related topics:

  • methods to positively connect with others,
  • ways to lean into feedback,
  • reframing negative experiences,
  • making progress on your goals,
  • methods to enhance your positive impact, and
  • meeting challenges.

In the leadership area I enjoy focusing on: 

  • creating a safe environment, 
  • being more positive in your self-management and with your team,
  • raising your self-awareness,
  • bringing safety along with you wherever you go,
  • being able to have tough conversations when needed,
  • building trust, and 
  • ensuring your team performs. 

I hope you sign up for the blog soon and that you and your team apply these resilient behaviours thereby increasing your success.

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How to Advance Your Career Even If You Don't Have a Job

How to Advance Your Career Even If You Don't Have a Job

Many people think they need a job to make progress in their career. You don't need a job to make progress. Over time doing things that create forward momentum may create the work you need. So don't wait to start doing these career advancing moves. 

  1. Promote your progress. Let those with the authority to spend money and make decisions know the advances you are making in your learning, networks, and knowledge of their industry.
  2. Do your homework. Research the leading organizations and individuals in your field. Learn what they are doing to stay ahead.
  3. Have your finger on the pulse. Know what the emerging issues and trends are within your industry.
  4. Put your hand up. Volunteer within your industry association or on the board of an organization with a cause you are passionate about. Volunteering is a way you can expand your network and build your skills.
  5. Broaden your network in your field. You can attend industry events with a goal of meeting 3 new people at each event. You can let your current network know that you want to expand your network. Ask yourself are there people you should get in front of? 
  6. Find a mentor (or two). Spend time with people in your field who are further along the career path or considered experts in your industry.
  7. Polish your online profiles. Keep the information current on these public profiles, so that your contacts can be up to date on your progress.
  8. Push your passion forward. Advance your knowledge and abilities in areas of your career where you are truly motivated. This will be fun and rewarding as the learning and knowledge add to your skill sets.
  9. Take a risk. Put more skin in the game by putting yourself out more. You could organize an event, write an article, or offer to do a talk. Your efforts and learning can open doors, allowing you to meet new people, develop new opportunities, and give you new information and energy.
  10. Chart a career path for your career progress. What skills do you need as you round out your experience and move forward on your career path?

You can learn the skills you will require through;

  • taking a course,
  • researching and learning on your own,
  • writing an article and posting it,
  • volunteering, or
  • finding an expert or mentor.

These actions will advance your process, add to your knowledge base and network. Even if you don't have work, setting goals and carrying out some of these actions will move you closer to getting work that you would enjoy and shine at.

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What it Takes to Coach for Pride

What it Takes to Coach for Pride

I saw an article in the Globe and Mail on the weekend that outlined how Bob Johnson, the hockey coach, emphasized pride in his coaching. This is a motivating way to coach people and is also important for leaders in organizations. The article stated that this way of coaching was a switch from the aggressive style of coaching using fear and humiliation with hockey players that was common in the early years of hockey.

I bet you are thinking to yourself that coaching for pride would motivate and engage you a lot better than coaching based on fear and humiliation. This is also what they found with hockey players. 

Why would this method of coaching be discussed in a resilience blog? To make coaching for pride happen, the leader or coach needs to ensure they have a positive relationship with themselves. If the leader cannot see what is right for themselves, they won’t be able to see what is right and what they can be proud of in others.

Be aware, though, that some leaders present themselves in an arrogant way, they seem to act as if they are the only ones who have positive qualities. This is actually an insecure way of leading which is not based on a positive sense of self. These leaders need to get feedback from others to verify what they are truly good at. They also need to confirm with others what their skills are and support themselves in those skills.

To gain skills in this method of coaching you may need to:

  1. Start by asking yourself what you did well today. Notice where you feel good about the things you have accomplished. This can range from simple accomplishments such as writing a great email or having a productive conversation to completing a complex project in an effective way. The important thing to acknowledge is that you contributed and made this result happen.
  2. After a period of time focusing on the first point, start to shift your attention to notice what others are doing well. Notice how your team members contribute weekly and with time and increased awareness, you will want to start to notice others' abilities. 
  3. Changing deep beliefs that keep you stuck and focused on what is going wrong, rather than what is going well may require you spending time meditating or working with a coach.

When you are able to have pride in your own accomplishments, you can encourage others to have pride in theirs. 

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