Eleven Helpful Posts on Being Resilient

Being Resilient Seems of the Time

I’m not sure if it’s my current state of being, my generation, or the Zeitgeist tapping into our collective consciousness, because a curiosity around “resilience” just keeps coming up for me.

Being resilient as a human being, as a citizen, as a community builder and a facilitator helping others find their own resilience, I personally feel a need to dig a little deeper into what it means to be resilient and consider how one might develop the capacity.

I feel blessed, as the worldviews of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and Open Space inform who I am and what I do.  The Principles of Appreciative Inquiry and the science of positive emotions help to reframe many problems into opportunities and roadblocks into possibilities.  Open Space helps us make sense of complexity and chaos, knowing that all systems are self-organizing and out of chaos order emerges.

Paradoxes Keep us Vigilant and Open to Learning

Being Resilient - Pebble on BeachWe are living in transformational times. We’re continuously developing as human beings and our consciousness is also evolving to ever higher spheres. While history is witness to such progress, so does it also remind us that contradictions are ever present. The paradoxes serve to keep us vigilant and open to learning. Even though violence and suffering confront us in the world, our capacity to focus on possibilities and hope is equally available.

I remember as a student at Sydney University studying Marxism and Feminism in my Philosophy class, I went to my tutor deeply deeply conflicted because I truly appreciated the worldviews of these two “… isms” in my life, and, at the same time, I really enjoyed my capitalist lifestyle, wearing makeup and a bra. My tutor counseled me: being aware of the contradictions was what mattered. What decisions I make and actions I take is on me.

Overcoming Adversity

When faced with challenges, whether through personal loss, tragedy, illness or environmental factors, most of us, of healthy mind, find ways to recover and move on. We can find inspiration in the stories of others overcoming adversity to find joy, satisfaction and meaning in life despite incredible odds. You may be aware of inspiring individuals in your own circles; and there are well-known public figures, for example, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Franklin Roosevelt, Viktor Frankl, whose stories of overcoming adversity show how being resilient has been a strong factor in their flourishing.

Appreciative Inquiry Interview on “Being Resilient”

Unfortunately, we see in our neighborhoods, or on our screens conflicts, injustices, devastation, waste, and suffering that still exist in our worlds, and at the same time we see evidence of people rebuilding their lives, taking actions, forgiving, healing, rising strong with love and hope, seeing beyond the fear and despair.  [As a side, if the topic restorative narratives interests you, please take a take a look and listen to this episode of Positivity Strategist Podcast, with Roberta Baskin.  You'll find a number of online media that focus on restorative narratives to shine the light on how even in pain and suffering, there are many more beautiful stories of hope and resilience and possibility].

To experience an Appreciative Inquiry Interview on the topic of Being Resilient, open the Positivity Lens Reveal below to download the PDF.

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You will reconnect with a time when you experienced being resilient or witnessed resilience in another.  In acknowledging your own experiences, you will find strengths that will help you recognise what capacities and resources you have that will support you to build resilience for any potential set-backs.

Eleven Posts On Being Resilient

As I reflected on the quality of being resilient, I did a little research. Then I decided to share these links, with a quote from each, rather than try to summarize. May they serve you well.

  1. What is Resilience on the American Psychological Association: “Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.”
  2. The Road to Resilience published by the American Psychological Association : “Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience.”
  3. Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience by Cohn, Fredrickson et al on US National Library of Medicine “Change in resilience mediated the relation between positive emotions and increased life satisfaction, suggesting that happy people become more satisfied not simply because they feel better, but because they develop resources for living well.”
  4. Building Resilience by Martin Seligman on Harvard Business Review: “We discovered that people who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local, and changeable. (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”)
  5. Measuring Resilience: A Review of 3 Scales on Positive Psychology Program: “It is important to note that most resilience measures have been developed, researched and used in the West and when the scales are applied to the non-western population, validity and reliability issues arise.”
  6. Putting a Positive Spin on a Negative Situation by Laura Hamilton on Psychics Universe “Have you ever noticed that some people even in the face of tragedy still see something positive in the experience?”
  7. The Five Best Was to Build Resiliency by Jessie Sholl on Experience Life: “…receiving and appreciating kindness from others may be just as important as offering it up, because gratitude turns out to be an important part of resiliency…”
  8. Five Science-backed Ways to Build Resilience by Kira M. Newman on Greater Good: “Even for the relatively self-aware and emotionally adept, struggles can take us by surprise. But learning healthy ways to move through adversity—a collection of skills that researchers call resilience—can help us cope better and recover more quickly, or at least start heading in that direction.”
  9. How to Develop your Resilience on WikiHow to do anything:  “Increasing your resilience can be attained by coping healthfully with difficult emotions and situations, engaging in resilient actions, thinking resiliently, and maintaining your resilience in the long-term.”
  10. Resilience at Work by Barry Winbolt:  “The key here is that resilience is not a passive quality, but an active process. How we approach life, and everything it can throw at us, has a massive impact on our experience.”
  11. Inspiring Stories of Resilience by Chris Johnstone on Positive.News:  “What is it that helps resilience happen? For each person there may be choices they make, resources they turn to, strengths they draw upon or insights they apply.”

I'd love for you to share your story or thoughts on the topic of “being resilient” in the comments section below.

Resilient Leadership And The FABULOUS Principle, With Barbara Rubel – PS028

Resilient Leadership And The FABULOUS Principle – Episode Overview

It is often a past loss that propels women to become innovative trailblazers, mentors, and leaders. If they are able to find solutions to deal with their losses then they can problem solve anything. To build a business, leaders have to build their resilience. Guest, Barbara Rubel shares her FABULOUS Principle, an acronym for eight core competencies that influence women entrepreneurs to grow from their experience of loss into resilient leaders.


Resilient Leadership with Barbara RubelBarbara Rubel talks about her FABULOUS Principle, and her work with women entrepreneurs and leaders to help them build their resilience.  What excites me very much about Barbara and her work is that, despite our different professional backgrounds, we are aligned  – the objectives and outcomes of what we offer are similar:  to facilitate positive change.

Barbara has a BS in psychology and a Master’s degree in thanatology, which is the study of the field of grief counselling and loss.  So from that perspective Barbara shows how we can come out stronger and triumph over adversity or loss to become more resilient.

Barbara Rubel is a keynote speaker, bestselling author and coach.

As a Leader, Know Yourself First

In a nutshell, Barbara’s approach to leadership is to focus first on yourself – start with your inner leadership.  It’s about knowing yourself, your strengths and paying attention to self-development before attempting to influence others. Self awareness comes first.

Growing From Loss, Self Compassion

From her experience as a grief counselor, Barbara teaches us that trauma and loss can be catalysts for growth. The most difficult situations facilitate opportunities for meaning making and building resilience. Loss and grief can transform the way we look at challenges.

Out of her own story of grief, bereavement and mourning, Barbara changed her life to help her overcome personal loss and tragedy.  In seeking to understand and make sense of her own grief, she proactively pursued a course of study that set her off on a career in which she has been flourishing for over 20 years.

The FABULOUS Principle

FABULOUS is an acronym that spells out the empowering capacity we have to become resilient leaders.

The key to Barbara's discovery of the FABULOUS Principle was the identification of eight core competencies that influence women entrepreneurs to grow from their experience of loss.

Listen in to hear how wonderfully Barbara explains each of these eight competencies.  She also describes her process of tapping into each of these eight core competencies. Through carefully crafted language and purposefully designed questions, you can identify how you can work with each of the eight competencies to grow in your leadership and build resilience.




UUnderstanding Job Satisfaction

L Laughter




By seeking to understand how we can build on our past successes, the FABULOUS framework allows leaders to reflect on what worked in the past to deal with adversity and positively apply that wisdom to current stressors.

Self Compassion

It seems to me that to overcome trauma, self-compassion and being kind and gentle to ourselves was the place to start (even though it's the last competency in the FABULOUS principle.)  Barbara explains how important it is to be kind to ourselves in difficult times and to win over the voices in our own heads. She mentions a number of positivity practices such as kindness, gratitude, persistence to help reconnect to our self compassion.

The framing and the questions Barbara poses to help us focus on what was helpful and productive in the past resonates with the Appreciative Inquiry world view.  It's far more resourceful to focus on how we have overcome past challenges versus dwelling on the circumstances and people that may have contributed to our grief or stuckness or loss.

Empowering Questions for Self Compassion

  • Describe a time when you showed compassion (i.e. empathetic caring awareness of another person’s difficulties along with the desire to lessen it.)
  • Summarize a time when rather than negatively appraising your situation, you focused on what you did that was productive and helpful.
  • Appraise how you generously extended loving kindness to yourself (Barbara cited her own example of  savoring a meal).
  • Thinking back on a past loss, tell a story about your self-soothing activities that helped alleviate your past personal distress.

Palette of Grief™

From her own experience, learning of her father’s suicide while she was in hospital giving birth to triplets, Barbara, a water colorist, experienced the entire turmoil and mess of her life as a swirling blend of colors.  Her insights were that grief did not present itself neatly as a series of steps, a process, or sequence of events, but as a palette of swirling emotions, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors co-mingling as water colors bleed into each other in a painting when water is spilled across the surface of the painting and the colors blend and bleed into each other.

Burnout in Professional life

In her work with professional grief workers, Barbara became aware that the grief workers themselves were burnt out; they were experiencing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.  Barbara began to refocus her efforts to support the professional carers to keep them healthy and happy.  So she moved from working with those who were grieving to creating a space for the grief workers, like herself, to deal with stress.  She saw the value in shifting the focus from experiencing the de-energizing effects of stress in grief workers to being energized by the stress they were experiencing.  She switched to reframe stress so the grief workers could continue doing the work they loved before they were burnt out.

Do The Work That You Love

Barbara’s shift from a bereavement counselor to a speaker, specializing in overcoming stress led her to create tools and strategies that help people and leaders thrive and stay healthy so we can all do the work we love.  This is her mission today.  It’s about staying resilient in our work.

Listen to Barbara explain each of the other core competencies of FABULOUS in some detail. She provides helpful questions, stories and pearls of wisdom taken from her own story of transition.

In our conversation, we emphasize the importance of language, positive inquiry and sharing personal stories to help us find our inner strengths. True wisdom is gained in sharing our stories.  We triumph over struggles when we talk openly and make meaning together.

Questions to Build Resilience

  1. What positive themes do you continue to see woven through your story?
  2. What’s the constructive takeaway and how do you talk to yourself about your story?
  3. How does finding meaning in your narrative provide purpose in your life?
  4. What strengths kept you positive during the struggle?
  5. How can you apply what you learned during those difficulties and challenges to confident self-leadership?

As Barbara talks in detail about each of the eight core competencies of the FABULOUS Principle, you will be energized by her generous sharing and great wisdom.  When we get clarity around each one, we will experience that stress can be a great energizer.

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