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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Cultivate Resiliency BEFORE You Need It

Your Resiliency GPS Book

Whether you are heading a Fortune 100 company or leading an enterprise of one, some time in the course of this year, you will be called upon to be resilient.

Whether pushed by pain or pulled by possibilities, resiliency is now a required on-going life skill. This raises the question: why wait to develop resiliency skills? I believe in PREsilience™ (preemptive resilience). These are skills and actions that can be cultivated, developed, and taken BEFORE necessity strikes.

Resilience is complex, multidimensional, personal as well as professional. Presilience is practicing now, building preemptive resources within yourself, your organization, and your world.

Consider these taking three simple actions now to help you develop a resiliency muscle:

1. Develop a support network.

These are people you can turn to for ideas, for moral support, and for truth telling. A support network is not comprised of “yes” folks but rather people who care enough to offer critical insights as well as critiques.

In our personal lives, these are people who will bring food, watch the kids, and offer a shoulder. Support networks take time to grow and must be nurtured as carefully as a newly planted garden. Consider what happened to Mary, the vice president of marketing in a global company. Relationships took a backseat in her “get-the-job-done-take-no prisoners” mindset. When a new CEO took over, Mary found few in her department who would speak in her favor as the CEO looked for other personnel to fill Mary’s role. Ouch! Too late.

2. Hone the skill of intelligent optimism.

Nothing drains our mental and physical energy more than negativity. Intelligent optimism is the practice of finding what is right or possible in a situation instead of what is wrong. It’s hard work because, for some unknown reasons, humans are more prone to negative thinking instead of positive. Consider teaming with an optimism partner, someone who will gently point out negative statements and visa versa. Unlike the Pollyanna of story fame, most of us are not hard-wired for optimism. But it can be developed.

3. Exercise regularly.

This might sound trite but times of challenge or opportunity demand energy resources. It’s too late to build up reserves of muscle, blood, and bone if you have neglected your body for years. Firefighters have gym equipment in the firehouse and practice a steady regimen to improve their strength, so they are READY when called into action. You are no different. As Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts said of their “be prepared” motto: “The meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.” Sounds like presilience to me!

4. Say thank you.

Gratitude is the Miracle-Gro for resiliency. If you can end each day with writing down three things for which you are grateful, the germ of optimism sprouts and you reinforce your sense of self-worth. Some days, it might be gratitude that the day is over and you are still standing. Other days, you are grateful for a new idea, for a client interaction, for a great meal... you get the idea!

To learn more about PREsilience™ check out my book "Your Resiliency GPS: A Guide for Growing through Life" at

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