Jim Williams
Jun 3, 2024

How do you finally finish a book you started writing back in 2009? Resilience!

How do you get thru challenges in your marriage? Resilience!

How do you overcome being fired from a job that you worked hard at? Resilience!

How do you get up every day and work hard to support your family? Resilience!

How do you battle cancer? Resilience!

I could go on and on but being resilient is a mindset element that can get you thru a LOT. The Latin root of the word resilient is the verb, “resilire” which means to jump back. This blog is about some experiences I had where resilience was required and how I applied it to get thru.

My son Kyle taught me the true definition of resilience during his battle with Neuroblastoma, a rare and deadly pediatric cancer. If you were to stop reading this blog and research how difficult treating high-risk neuroblastoma is in children you will likely begin to understand the resilience required by the child, their care givers, including parents and medical team and everyone who supports them. Having lived through it I can tell you that the days where we resilience was challenged were the days Kyle picked me up and carried me thru.

As I was writing my book, Getting Thru (The Worst Possible Thing) I was brought back to the moments that filled my life from Nov 2009, through today. In writing the book I used a blog my wife Leslie and I wrote during the 18 months that Kyle battled cancer. The emotional toll just reading through that blog still runs deep. However, I use that emotion now as the fuel I need to help others get thru their worst things.

Difficult things we encounter in our lives are in the eyes of the beholder. Only you as a person know what challenges you most. When trauma befalls you, resilience will become your best friend. It’s how we can handle adversity and come out of the other side better for it.

In the May GT Empathy Blog, I talked about how empathy has kept Leslie and I married as we have traversed some of the most challenging experiences life can throw at you. I am going to use the May GT Resilience blog to dig in a little deeper to what some might encounter in their professional lives.

Most of you reading this go or have gone to work in your lives. What’s amazing to me is how many of us keep doing it, considering our levels of engagement at our jobs. According to the latest survey by Gallup on the state of the global workforce only 23% of us are engaged at work. This puts 51% of us at the disengaged level with 13% who are what’s called actively disengaged, meaning they are miserable at work and spend their time trying to spread that vibe to others they work with. Where does resilience fit into this equation? How about everywhere.

I have been leading teams of all shapes and sizes since 1992. It was back then in 92 when someone first spotted something in me that suggested I could lead a group of people, influencing them to achieve a common goal. Well, it’s now 2024 and essentially, I am still doing the same thing. I have also been led by others that entire time. I will say some of those leaders were incredible at what they did, some weren’t but I will say that each of them taught me something, leaving me with gifts that I still use today and for that I am grateful. Resiliency at work is one of the key elements for those who contribute at the individual level or who lead teams. Adversity will present itself in the workplace, of that I am certain. It’s how we respond to that adversity, the positive nature that we engage that will get you thru those periods of challenge.

So how do you respond to that adversity, through the lens of resiliency. Well, I would ask you to consider three things…

1. What are your goals?

2. Who are your mentors?

3. Does the work you do serve your purpose?

As I shared above the statistics say most of us don’t even like what we do, forget love it. I assure you if you want to start to like your work, maybe even get on the path to loving it being clear on what your goals are, having multiple mentors to help you learn and grow your network and most importantly define a purpose for why you do what you do and how your work fits in to that will get you going.

If you are working in an organization and don’t have a leader who is helping you find your way to defining the three items above, you likely have the wrong leader. Keep in mind that most of our leaders are themselves under led, underdeveloped and just trying to figure it out. A bit of additional advice that someone I worked for gave me many years ago, “If I am working harder on your career than you are, there is something VERY wrong”. In other words, define your own goals, develop relationships with others who will mentor and coach you and by all means define your purpose, your why. This is simply what inspires you! Once you have that answer you will position yourself better at work.

Talk soon,