Persevering Through Unimagined Evil Is Horrifically Challenging

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at www. (Please check out my e-books and articles on my site)  

We need to clasp our hands today and pray for the children. Not just for the wonderful and innocent darlings who were executed in Connecticut on Friday. But to all those children who have been murdered by a senseless acts of violence worldwide that truly no one can comprehend.

And we ask why do we have to lose such precious young lives and the teachers who tried to shield them? Unfortunately. I just don’t know. I can’t even grasp what the parents and other loved ones are going through of the children and adults who are no longer with us.

This is where are nation’s resilience comes in. We do, as President Obama said, need to take “meaningful action” for the sake of our citizens – and Friday for those so young. There has been far too many of these types of incidents happening all over the US.

One is far too much…

For my lat resilience article this year I was going to talk about uplifting stories of courage by a couple folks far more resilient than me – you’ll see this story next year. Instead, I wanted to address the horrific acts of last Friday in Connecticut.

What does our resilience have to do with such inconceivable and horrible tragedies? Partly, of course, it’s overcoming the sheer anguish all parents are feeling right now. This could have been one of our children huddled in a classroom facing evil. . How awful…

The resilience of persevering and adapting eventually allows us to move forward, but this is where our country needs to come to a decision.

Do we allow such acts of incredible violence to innocent people – this instance to small children and teachers – to continue without trying something different? If so, we will have the Connecticut’s, Columbine’s and Virginia Tech’s as painful markers until more horrific shootings happen. 

So-called experts abound. We can better enforce existing gun laws or pass legislation to restrict certain types of firearms. The only side I am taking is that I don’t want a proliferation of copy caters thinking they can shoot there way past school security because they have weapons seemingly of “mass destruction.

Let’s get together as a nation and start a meaningful dialogue, so the next headlines won’t be even worse tomorrow.

 We should not worry about this political group of or that. Most importantly, we need to remember those frightened little kids huddled together that are now up in heaven.

They (and the many others who have been killed on such senseless rampages) deserved so much better. We can use the resilience that has helped our nation through so throughout the last 230+ years.

The resilience of finding common ground on a gun issue that divides so many of us. Such common ground may prevent the next mass shootings of innocent kids and adults. People all of may know…

As we are thinking our different sides of the fence, please remember to pray for the children and hug your own kids a little harder tonight.

 Thanks for your wonderful readership in 2012 on . . My web site – with its e-books, articles and videos – is nearing 4 million hits worldwide. Thank you very much, and please continue to find ways to smile even when unspeakable events may come your way.

Godspeed to all of you, and I hope you are having a resilient day! 

 Photo By: DinosaursAreNotDead

 

 

 

Smiling Helps Us Through the Holiday Mall Jungle…:)

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (For a bit of inner happiness, I suggest you look at my resilient e-books at www.resiliencyfirst.com.)

I typically highlight this short piece during the holiday season to hopefully keep us from being less Scroogish. As we trudge around the malls to get the best buy on that absolute need (more likely a want), I suggest looking at the children walking by. Their very happy, gleeful faces show us so much about the unburdened and resilient happiness that we should be feeling.

Yes, we have 77 things to do, but sometimes we need to step back from the self-imposed chaos of the holidays.

Doctors say it takes infinitely fewer muscles in our face to smile than to frown. So…check out these thoughts below.:)

As we head into the heart of the holiday season, I read an article from England about a study that should make us want to keep smiling and be resilient: In part….

Seeing a child’s smile creates as much pleasure as 2,000 chocolate bars—or $25,000 in cash. That was the finding of a British study by Hewlett Packard, using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart rate monitor to measure “the mood-boosting value” of various stimuli. 



The study found seeing a loved one’s smile was worth 600 chocolate treats or about $13,000. The lesson: Show some teeth and you’ll be much happier.:)

What is a smile worth to you? Chocolate bars and money are making me smile right now…I hope they are having the same effect on you, too.:)

My newest resiliency e-books will also bring a smile to your face. Please check them out at my web site – www.resiliencyfirst.com.

Photo By: Monreve2009

Achieving Resilient & Emotional Balance in Work & Life
 Webinar
 Reminder…

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Please also check out my web site at www.resiliencyfirst.com to view my resiliency e-books)

I wanted to remind you of my FREE work/life resiliency webinar I will be holding next Thursday, December 6 at 11 a.m. (CST). Please view the explanation below. Click on www.resiliencyfirst.com to sign up. Even if you can’t make it, but would like a kink to a recorded version, please sign up anyway.

Here are my resiliency webinar details:

Thursday, December 6 at 11 a.m. Central
. 

Fogged up a bit on a crystal clear day? Feeling like you’re running on empty in a full tank type of world? Losing confidence every time you step on that dreaded scale? Less patient after the 13th car cuts you off on the freeway?



Welcome to the stressful parts of life, right? Think again….It’s not like you ate the wrong banana, got up on the wrong side of the bed, or that you are even having a bad hair day. What’s happening is you are not using your resilience to the max in persevering, being persistent and, yes, even being patient with others and yourself.



What’s your super-charged antidote? 

Join Doctor of Life Resiliency Steve Beseke for a free resiliency webinar to rev you up and find more than just five hours of energy each day. The 55-minute conversation will be held on Thursday, December 6 at 11 a.m. Central.


Doctor Steve offers you resilient strategies to get such 600-poundguerilla issues off your back. As you may have read in Doc Steve’s worldwide resiliency articles for many years on his web site and a number of publications, he will provide you with additional ways in the free webinar to successfully overcome without giving in to the challenges and sometimes craziness of life…

Click on www.resiliencyfirst.com o register for this free resiliency webinar…and find ways to make a resilient difference for yourself every single day. Please sign up and we hope you are having a resilient day!

Happiness: Is It A Lost Art In Our Stressful World?

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Please register for my free resiliency strategies webinar on December 6 at www.resiliencyfirst.com).

Last week, I talked about what makes you thankful in your world. Thanks for so many terrific comments worldwide from Morocco to those of us in the US. Being thankful for family was a common heartfelt response, but also a couple of individuals were thankful for staying confident within their own skin during uncertain times. Understanding how to be happy with ourselves is at the core of any success we have – from being a good father or mother to making an absolute difference at work. 

As we get closer to 2013, I’d like to ask you this week, “Is being happy a lost art in our sometimes stressful world.” As I wrote in a resiliency article a number of years ago, I think happiness is all what you make it.

If our attitude focuses on the missteps and mistakes we make – and all of us go through them nearly every day – then true happiness could always be just slightly out of our reach. But if we say, “Yes, challenges happen but here is how I’m going to resiliently react to it,” then I think happiness is not some elusive dream in life or at work.

 All of us have our resilient challenges. Looking for the next great work adventure, trying to understand the logic of your boss, staying truly “in touch” with your spouse/significant other, or just trying to have a meaningful conversation with your teenage drama-laden daughter or son. The list can go on and on…

Instead of beating yourself up because you may gain a few pounds over the holidays, I think all of us need to ask ourselves the question: “What makes us happy in life?” If it is losing those pounds, that’s great for your health. Or, it might be trying to regain the confidence that has led you to being successful (as you define it) in your life.

For me, I’ve been at a “happiness crossroads” the last year. In addition to the rigors of keeping my resiliency programming at a cutting edge level and joining a terrific leadership excellence firm (Lennick Aberman Group), an old friend/enemy has reared its ugly head especially over the last six months or so. Ever had one of your “friends” pop up again? I don’t mean, of course, human friends. I mean some challenge you thought had been at least subdued that is back interfering with your life happiness. I talked last week about the spine operation I had this year, and won’t be talking specifically about this, except:

When you have challenges like this, and you can fill in your own unique story, it can severely compromised your inner-confidence and nearly your overall happiness. That is, if you let it…

I could have very easily succumb to the every-growing challenges of my disability caused by my aging body. But in doing this, I would be giving up on everything I have worked to resiliently achieve. I’d be resigned to a life none of us want. To be totally reliant on others, not believing in yourself anymore, and not being happy with the person inside your skin – as a couple of my worldwide fans said last week.

To relate, what might have caused you the same excruciating loss of independence – possibly losing a job, family health issues, etc.? All of us experience them in some way, and you by no means have to be physically challenged like me.

As you may have experienced with your unique challenges, my confidence has taken a nosedive at certain points in my life because of my physicality. But it always recovered and allowed me to pursue happiness. When I first learned I needed very serious spine surgery, I actually thought for the first time in life that I could not adapt successfully to my disability anymore. My personal happiness tanked and I asked myself: “What am I going to do for the rest of my life?”

The pain of not knowing what to do was nearly unbearable – that is, until my very beautiful able-bodied wife said the obvious: Your happiness is not just defined with how you see yourself physically. Simple words, but they really hit home – for the first time in my life.

After I thought through that statement for awhile, my attitude changed and I became much happy with myself. I realized I am much more than my physical self. And, guess what? My recovery went much faster after that, and I am back to nearly “Steve normal” again.

As you have to do with your life challenges, I had to develop a strategy, take life by the horns and stop pitying myself. Yeah!!!

I know the journey is not over and I might have setbacks, But my inner-confidence is building again.

Your confidence can, too, if you only find a way to continue “believing.” Your resilience can help you through challenging and good times…if you only let it.

An excerpt from my awhile back:

What about you?

A Harvard professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, also gave me – and all of us – some very interesting advice on happiness and resilience. Here’s a bit of info about him and his terrific work.

Happiness:

Recent scientific studies and scholarly research have reached some startling conclusions about what makes people happy. To help understand how you can use this information, Harvard lecturer and best-selling author Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. was interviewed recently.

Each semester, more than 800 Harvard students register for his life-changing class on positive psychology. Students explore the question, *How can we help ourselves and others to become happier? *The students read academic journal articles, test ideas, share personal stories and, by the end of the year, emerge with a clearer understanding of what psychology can teach us about leading happier, more fulfilling lives.

Is a person just “born happy” or “born unhappy”?

There is a genetic component to happiness. Some people are born with a happier disposition than others or with personality traits that are strong predictors of happiness, such as being sociable, active, stable and calm. However, that doesn’t mean how happy we feel is out of our control. Our genes define a range, not a set point. “Grumpy” may not be able to cultivate the same view of life that “Happy” enjoys. A natural-born whiner may not be able to transform himself/herself into a Pollyanna. But we all can become significantly happier. Most people fall far short of their happiness potential.

The doctor’s research suggests that money and success matter little in terms of happiness. *Yet wouldn’t most people be happier if they won $5 million or a Nobel Prize?”

This is a concept that his students and our society in general struggle with. Happiness largely depends on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. It depends on what we choose to resiliently focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and on our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

One of the most common barriers to happiness is the false expectation that one thing — a promotion at work, a prize, a revelation — will bring us eternal bliss. As soon as you achieve your goal, the “what’s next” syndrome kicks in, leaving you as unfulfilled as before.

The doctor said when he was 16 years old, he won the Israeli National Squash Championship. He always believed that winning the sporting title would make me happy and alleviate the emptiness he felt so much of the time. Winning the championship was necessary for fulfillment. Fulfillment was necessary for happiness. That was the logic most of us operated under.

After a night of celebration, some go to their room to savor that feeling of supreme happiness, while others feel a sense of emptiness. They sit around trying to convince themselves that perhaps substituting a new goal — winning the World Championship — would finally lead them to happiness. The doctor: He was depressed.

What he failed to realize was that while a major “victory” can contribute to our well-being, at best, it forms only a small part of the mosaic of a happy life. The fairy-tale notion of happiness – that something will carry us to the happily ever after -inevitably leads to disappointment. A happy life is rarely shaped by some extraordinary life-changing event. Rather, it is shaped incrementally, experience by experience, moment by moment.

So what does make us happy?

We must first accept that this is it! All there is to life is the day-to-day, the ordinary, the details of the mosaic. We are living a happy life when we derive pleasure and meaning while spending time with our loved ones or learning something new.

The more our days are filled with these experiences, the happier we become. The other significant component of happiness is that helping ourselves and others are inextricably intertwined. The more we help others, the happier we become… and the happier we become, the more inclined we are to help others. Our nature is such that there are few more satisfying acts than sharing with others, than feeling that we contributed to the lives of others. Our happiness…

What else can people do to be happy?

There are several things you can start right away…

Simplify. We are too busy trying to squeeze more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

* Introduce rituals* into your life that are motivated by deeply held values. Think about what rituals would make you happier. It could be watching two movies a month or going on a date with your spouse every Tuesday. People are resistant to the idea of introducing ritualistic behavior in their lives because they think it will detract from spontaneity. But if you don’t ritualize activities you cherish, you often don’t get to them.

* Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, rather than taking them for granted. One of the best ways to do this is by keeping a daily gratitude journal. Each night, before you go to sleep, write down at least five things that made or make you happy that day. These can be little or big – from a meal you enjoyed to a meaningful conversation you had with a friend, from a project at work, to God.

* What if a person is going through a really hard time in his/her life — for example, disliking his job, but there’s nothing he can do about it right away? How can that person be happier? *

We all must endure periods, sometimes extended ones, in which much of what we do affords us minimal satisfaction. During those times, it’s important to see these periods with a broader perspective and find ways to imbue them with meaning. In a fascinating study of hospital janitors, one group experienced their work as boring and meaningless, but the other group perceived the same work as engaging and meaningful because they crafted their work in creative ways.

They interacted more with nurses and patients, and they saw their work not merely as removing the garbage and washing dirty linen but contributing to the patients’ well-being and the smooth functioning of the hospital. 

When changing your perception isn’t feasible or effective, I find that one or two happy experiences during an otherwise uninspiring period can transform our general state. These brief but transforming experiences, which the doctor calls “happiness boosters,” provide us with meaning and pleasure.

For example, let’s say you know a partner in a top consulting firm. Now in his 50s, he no longer enjoys consulting, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to leave his profession or give up the lifestyle that he and his family have grown accustomed to.

What he did: He was able to reduce his workload enough to spend two evenings each week with his family. He also plays tennis twice a week and reads for three hours. He joined the board of his former high school, where he feels he can contribute in a meaningful way to the next generation.

In an ideal world, he would be spending his working hours doing something he is passionate about, but he is still happier than he has been in a long time.

I, personally, don’t want to be spending time to try rehabbing myself to walk again without a cane or any other aid. When I can walk unaided, it makes my happiness and confidence soar. Again, independence as I define it – at last. But then my physical disability throws me a curve and my spinal disc/joint issues rear their ugly head. Where do I go from there? A walker or wheelchair?

You never know, I might need those one day when I am 92. But since I am 52, I am going to use all my resilience to overcome, and keep myself happy, walking and loving life.

I suggest you think the same way when inevitable life or work challenging impede your path.

The doctor and I highlighted our thoughts about happiness, but the important thing for you is:

What makes you the happiest as you go through your life’s twist and turns?

As I’ve tried to do, I’ve focused on ways to sustain my happiness physically, which will affect nearly all the other aspects of my life.

Again, what about you?

The way(s) you answer this will help determine your stress level adaptability and life moving forward.

Are you a person who looks at life as something half full or something half empty? Being happy does not have to be a lost art if you continue to apply your resilience…in all parts of your world.

Thanks, again, for your continued readership, and please join me in a FREE webinar I am doing on resilient strategies on December 6. Please register at my web site – www.resiliencyfirst.com. I look forward to talking with you then!

Photo By: Robert Rook Photography

What Are You Truly Thankful For In Your Life?

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Please sign up for my FREE resiliency webinar on December 6 at www.resiliencyfirst.com).

All of us have much to be thankful for in life. In this time of Thanksgiving in the US, please think about what you are truly thankful for – family, friends, the important decisions you’ve made this year, or even the way you are looking at yourself differently these days.

 Whatever it may be, I am guessing that it has at least a little bit to do with your resilience as a person. 

it may be overcoming a challenging work situation this year that has you thankful. You were patient with someone – maybe even your teenager – that has thankfully really paid off. You have persevered through a very challenging health issue that has made you more thankful for who you are. Or, simply, you’ve not taken for granted people in your life or things that you’ve done  – especially as it relates to being good and thankful to yourself.

 Being good to yourself and learning something from it…wow, this is a life-changing way to apply our resilience every day.

We should be thankful for so many things…

For me this year, it was learning a little bit about myself and, well, while it may sound silly, really focusing on myself for the very first time in my life.

Here’s how I’ve learned to be more thankful:

Because of my physical disability, I’ve always known that I am adaptable, never dwelling too much on challenging situations, and learning to focus on my strengths after I’ve tripped and fallen flat on my face. The list goes on…

 But what life gave me about a year ago has taught me to focus more on me. Not taking walking for granted…not taking my life for granted.

It started with progressively worse falls I had in the last few months of 2011. You see, one of the many resilient challenges that my Cerebral Palsy disability provides is sometimes significant balance issues. The teeter-totter effect…J

Most likely, many of you can adjust your body if you happen to accidentally trip over a crack in the sidewalk, for example. Well for me, that is not so easy as I get into my mid-50s.

I began losing my balance significantly even more late last year not knowing why. I did what always has allowed me to very successfully overcome – I adapted, persevered, dusted myself off and moved on without thinking too much about it. That is, until…

I lost my balance at home my hitting my head against a wooden shelf violently making my head snapback as I fell. I was about ready to get up and move on until I realized that I could get up and move on. Doctors later told me that the snapping of my neck backwards put my spine into momentary shock. I was literally paralyzed…

After five minutes or so, I was able to get back my feeling and eventually stand up. Being scared half to death, I finally decided to see what was truly going on. I am not adverse to doctors when needed, and this time it was needed badly. 

After a series of extensive tests the next couple weeks, they found significant issues in my neck that had to be corrected right away. The doctor said my next fall may be my last one walking independently.

Naturally, I wanted to do something to correct this so I wouldn’t have to worry every single time I took a step. The doctors ultimately decided that cervical spine surgery was the option.

This is where the thankfulness really comes into play. It’s really not about anybody else when you have a challenge like this. Many of you have had such a challenge or ones even greater than mine. You know what I’m talking about.

With the tremendous support of my family and friends, I decided to have this very serious operation, which involved fusing part of the vertebras in my neck  to make it more stable. Luckily, I had one of the top spine surgeons in the world – Dr. Robert Morgan of Regions Hospital in St. Paul Minnesota, do the procedure.

I don’t want to get too gory, but it involved grafting a piece of bone from my hip and placing  it in the areas that were bad in my neck. He also placed a titanium plate with six titanium screws to secure everything.

My sometimes painful recovery took nearly half of this year. What it showed me, as many of my colleagues, friends and family said, is that I need to focus on myself and do what is best for me.

Thank goodness I had that one last terrible fall to help me be more thankful for who I am. A person that can keep learning ways to be more resilient, continue walking and be the best person I can be.

How about you? What are you truly thankful for today? Is there something you could start doing right now for others, but especially for yourself, that will make you infinitely more thankful when I ask you the same question next year at this time?

As it has been for me, life is what you make it. Be thankful for who you are and don’t let yourself get in the way of your abundant spirit and happiness.

Thanks, again, for your readership, and please tune in to my FREE work/ life resiliency webinar on Thursday, December 6. Go to www.resiliencyfirst.com to sign up. I look forward to talking with you and stay resilient!

 Photo By: MHammon

 

Our Veterans Show True And Inspiring Examples Of Resilience…

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Please take a look art my resiliency e-books, articles and videos at www.resiliencyfirst.com)

As we in the US celebrate Veteran’s Day on November 11, my short resiliency piece is meant to convey a very heartfelt “thank you” to all the American service men and women around the world who allow us to live a peaceful and free life. 

America too often worries about which side of the political aisle is winning this or that. Not always coming together to truly and honestly appreciate the sacrifices service people make/made to let us have the opportunity to express our diverse opinions without fear of reprisal.

Their perseverance and resilience exhibited every day should be a constant reminder of what has made America great. My father, who was in the Navy in World War II, never forgot this honor. As he said to me many times, “It has made me remember how good I have my life now.”

This is such an important resilient thought to remember on this day of our veterans now and heroic generations in the past… 

Please, again, check out my web site, www.resiliencyfirst.com, for more of my resiliency messaging.

Thanks and I hope you are having a resilient day!

Photo By: University of Central Arkansas

Managing Emotions In Hurricanes Or After Surgeries Shows Our Ultimate Resilience…

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at the Lennick Aberman Group (Check out my newest resiliency e-book on stress management on Amazon later this week.)

Finding ways to manage your emotions when things don’t go quite as you expect is really the cornerstone of being a resilient person. Some are able to grasp this better than others, and typically they are more successful at overcoming even the most challenging of circumstances.

Right now, those living in New York, New Jersey and other East Coast areas unfortunately have to use their resilience to the max in getting back to a normal life. I feel their despair, and I hope they are able to persevere, persist and most of all stay patient with themselves and others.

That’s why last week I was talking about practicing your resilience in good times trying to not take anything for granted. This will help you and all of us when “the unexpected” reaches our door. 

I had this late last year when I fell and was paralyzed for a short time because of spinal shock. I had fallen, unfortunately, hundreds of times throughout my life because of my physical disability since birth.

I just expected to get up again, dust myself off as usual and go on with my day. Instead, I had to go to the emergency room for tests, which eventually morphed itself into a quite severe cervical spine surgery earlier this year.

I mentioned last week that I was going to talk about a challenge or two of mine specifically to highlight resilience. Not to gain your empathy, but to show you can recover from most anything if you let yourself have the right attitude and use the resilient Ps I talked about earlier.

My surgery – the first in my life – led to having a neck brace on for four months and other unexpected, particularly painful moments I had to endure.

But all of us overcome painful moments – some more severe than others. It’s really how we see the situation and our reactions to the unexpected.

Those on the East Coast have been hit very, very hard by Hurricane Sandy. Some understand that this is another immensely hurtful challenge they are going to get through no matter what. Then, there are others that get into fights at gas stations, blame the government, etc., etc.

As so many people have with my challenges, I hope all of us stay patient and understand that things will get better if our attitude does not overcome us. Easier said than done in catastrophic-type situations, but you can ultimate control how you react/see things. 

My doctors said that my attitude was one of the major factors why I recovered from surgery in four months instead of 12 or more as some do.

I’m not above anyone but I just know things will get better if I stay mostly on an even plane.

A favorite professor in my college days, Norm Larson, sent me a link I’d like to close with today about attitude. It’s from Winston Borden, a farmer and retired lawyer and teacher from Minnesota. Winston wrote this on Halloween…

I walk into the kitchen near sunset at the farm and the old wood stove greets me. “Life requires a sense of resilience. You should know that at your age. Tomorrow morning you have to be at the hospital before sunrise for ‘exploratory surgery’ on your kidneys. They are not working as well as they should. But times will get better. Remember when you had MRI’s and cat scans of your brain and they found next to nothing? Well I could have told them in advance that is exactly what they would find.” We both laugh. “And tomorrow I expect they will find that you are more normal than most people think.” I hope so.

She goes on. “In tough times you need to kick yourself in the pants, put a smile on your face, and proceed with confidence. Life is all about attitude and I think good food improves attitudes. So tonight we are going to Jamaica for dinner. You get baked blackened pork chops. They have been marinated in a soy, brown sugar, and vinegar sauce and will be baked until fall of the bone tender. They will be served with baked sweet potatoes and a fresh salsa salad laced with cilantro and bits of diced mango.” Sounds good to me, and then she adds. 

You can’t have anything to eat or drink after midnight, but if you get the dishes done in time we will have some maple nut ice cream with peanut butter cookies from the Girl Scouts.” Damn that sounds good.

As I wait for dinner, the wood stove says, “Are you wearing a costume tonight?” Oh my no, I think I am scary enough just the way I am. Tonight? I hope your enjoying dinner with the family, and if you are fortunate to have young kids that you go trick and treating with them. Tonight is a night to build the memories.

Winston is so right. We can look at circumstances any way we choose. Whether it is about change, despair, not taking good times for granted or whatever, it is our attitude that will see us through to another bright day.

By far, like I found with my surgery or East Coasters are finding with the clean up, it is how we react to unexpected situations that will allow us to successfully move forward., a.k.a., managing our emotions.

I hope you are having a resilient day!

Photo By: The_Roc

Practicing Your Resiliency Is A Lifelong Journey Not One Meant For Just Challenging Times

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Check out my newest e-book on stress management on Amazon later this week or others on my web site – www.resiliencyfirst.com)

All of us face work and life challenges nearly every single moment of every day. And, yes, each of us makes our share of mistakes along the way.

You know, that’s all right. Challenges make us stronger and mistakes can allow us to act smarter.

Sounds resiliently simple when phrased this way. Unfortunately, most of us see challenges as some things we are not always able to overcome. Mistakes, well,…few of us want to admit to any of these. Many times n the working world they can be seen by others as signs of weakness.

The success we have both personally and professionally depends on how we resiliently react to the inevitable life and career obstacles that sometimes get in the way of our personal and professional happiness.

There are a number of slightly different ways to define resiliency. The thread, of course, it is about trying to successfully overcome obstacles that get in our way. An easier definition, though, is to remember three simple words,” Managing Your Emotions,” in challenging and good times…

Overcoming a challenging conversation with your drama-laden teenager. Dealing with co-worker issues before your first cup of coffee in the morning. Daydreaming about the beaches of paradise while your boss is waiting for an overdue project. You can fill in your own blanks…

 In each instance, you have to manage your emotions to overcome a potentially challenging situation. And you are “judged” by bosses, significant others, friends and even yourself in how you deal/react to such situations. This may be part of your personal brand.

Most times you are patient with your teenager, co-workers and, even, your bosses. Folks see you as someone that reacts well to situations not always with your total control. But then there are those times when you may make a mistake or two on handling a certain situations. Guess what? None of us are even close to being perfect.

As a parent of a really nice but “drama queen” teenager, I’m bating about .500. Do I handle each teenage situation perfectly…absolutely not… But I’ve learned how to manage my emotions and say to myself, “I did my very best at that moment, learn from it, and find ways to not let a “mistake turn into something perpetual.

This is where the adaptability, perseverant, persistence and patient sides of your life resilience need to come to your aid.

Like a bicycle, the key is to use these four components of resiliency in everything you do – challenging or not. So, when “crises” come up, you have resilient muscle memory that can prevent you from falling off the cliff – so to speak.

A terrific Lennick Aberman Group colleague of mine said last week to me that all of us think we are resilient in most things we do. He, of course, is 100 percent right. If I ask 100 of you – “Are you resilient?” ninety-nine will typically say, “yes.”

But can your resilience in good times or even slightly stressful ones hold up when your boss is going nuts on you, or your teenager is melting down?

Another friend of mine told me awhile back, “I practice being resilient even when not stressed out on vacations. This gives me an easy way to turn the switch and apply your three Ps (perseverance, persistence and patience) when I really need to manage my emotions at work especially.”

Good for him. He is treating his resiliency as not something you use only when there are significant challenges or crises. He has adopted resiliency as a lifelong strategy that can help reduce stress across the board if you find ways to stay on that bicycle.

The adage, of course, “Practice makes perfect (or close as you can get) definitely applies here. 

Over the last many weeks, I have purposely not mentioned much about my continuing resiliency in adapting to Cerebral Palsy in my 50s. Such resilience is definitely not always where I want to be. In next week’s article I will show you motivationally how I’ve been able to very humbly get through life’s rougher patches – like my recent cervical spine surgery – because I’ve practiced resiliency in all aspects of my life for many decades.

Until then, please think about your resilience as a something you continue to learn more about. Even with our resilience, we should never stop learning to be more adaptable, stay in control and understand our true strengths. If you only see resilience as something meant to be acted on only in challenging moments, I suggest you rethink how you see yourself.

By incorporating resiliency 24/7 in challenging times and great moments, you will ultimately find ways to deal with stress more effectively, not take good times for granted, and deal with yourself more honestly even when there are challenges or you make an occasional mistake.

You’ll be happier with yourself, which will translate to handling those sometimes-tricky emotions that come along with life.

Thanks, again, for your avid readership. I’m now humbly approaching 4 million “reads” worldwide since 2009. Also, please check out my newest e-book on stress management to be on Amazon this week. I will let you know when it is launched.

Photo By: E M Photography

How Tourette’s Syndrome Made A Top Executive A Better/More Resilient Boss…And Person

 By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group (Please visit my web site at www.resiliency.com to see my latest resiliency programming).

There are amazing and inspiringly resilient people in this world who have turned unimagined challenges God gave them into a life full of inspiration and incredible success.

I read a New York Times article recently about someone who truly inspired me – and I hope you. His story really shows how someone’s resilience can help them through incredible odds to adapt, persevere, persist and be patient every day. A resilience that has allowed him to be at the top in his work field and life.

I want you to meet Stephan Turnispeed and his triumphant journey…

For decades, Stephan Turnipseed has suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, but his involuntary tics and verbal utterances didn’t prevent him from rising to become president of Lego Education North America. Being a bit different and having to work harder to fit in is actually a useful trait for a leader, Turnipseed says. “That’s what leadership is about: Helping people find moments of greatness within themselves, and attaching those to a common cause that allows work to be done,” he said.

Stephan Turnipseed, age 60, is the president of Lego Education North America in Pittsburg, Kansas.                                  

As he wrote in the Times earlier this month: I LIVE on ancestral land that my family has owned in Alabama for almost 200 years. My wife and I have created a green space on part of it for school groups, church groups and organizations like the Boy Scouts to enjoy. Our family chapel is there, too.

In junior high, I excelled in math, so a teacher suggested that I enter a science fair with a project that uses a physical device to solve a Boolean equation. I used switches and lights from a Trailways bus — and won. It made me realize I didn’t have to become a farmer like my father.

I joined the Army R.O.T.C. in high school and was in the Air Force afterward. My family has a long history in the military; it represented order and rigor to me. In 1976, in the Air Force Reserves, I received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Auburn University. For the next 15 years, I worked in the oil and gas technology industry, in divisions of Schlumberger. I completed a 36-month training program in 22 months and was promoted to the vice president’s advisory staff. The company provided opportunities to develop my leadership and turnaround skills.

In 1991, I left and started an executive consulting firm. Pitsco Education, which sells educational products for grades K-12, was a client of mine. After my work there ended, Pitsco recruited me as sales director. Then I became the executive vice president. In 1997, I negotiated a joint venture agreement between Pitsco and the Lego Group, which had had an education division since 1980 but wanted to expand it. In 1998, I moved over to run the company that resulted, Lego Education North America, based in Kansas. I travel extensively, however, and when I’m home in Alabama, I telecommute. I’m still executive vice president at Pitsco as well.

I also have Tourette’s syndrome, the neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements and utterances. From 1992 to 1994, I was president of the Tourette Syndrome Association and was the first president with the disorder.

I started exhibiting symptoms in puberty but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 28. I have multiple upper-body tics, including throwing a hand up. I learned to cope by always trying to talk to or greet someone when it occurred. Everyone thought I was the friendliest person around. I also have a stomach undulation, in which my midsection flexes. At home I exhibit a vocal tic — a short yell.

Luckily, I manage the tics well. I learned to control them through intense focus, which for me has been a side benefit. Speaking to groups is usually a stressor, but I can give speeches without exhibiting symptoms, which is unusual. Put simply, concentrating on speaking allows my body to filter out the neural noise that causes the tics.

Having Tourette’s, I realize that I’m different and am looked at differently. As a result, I try to look at people as people and see what ideas they have that we can lift up. That’s what leadership is about: helping people find moments of greatness within themselves, and attaching those to a common cause that allows work to be done.

His life, of course, resonates with me as I have successfully adapting in the working world and life with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological birth defect. Most of what he said about his resilience of adapting to so many situations I’ve gone through.

But, more importantly, I hope you think of Stephan the next time things don’t go your way at work and life. He didn’t throw his hands up. He learned to adapt to work and life situations that were not always within his control. Those times he had to “prove” his tics did not affect his work judgment or how he dealt with people. Or, times he lost patience with himself but never gave up.

All of us can learn a lot at work – and in life – from Stephan. As he has done, all of us need to demonstrate our strengths and not worry so much about our perceived weaknesses.

Stephan has shown us the way…

Please check out my resiliency e-books – and my newest one coming out about a collection of my writings on stress management. Just click www.resiliencyfirst.com.

Photo By: Shades of Awareness Jewelry

 

 

Our Attitude Is A “Game-Changer” In Handling Our Stress

By Steve Beseke, Doctor of Life Resiliency at Lennick Aberman Group

As I prepare to offer my next resiliency e-book very soon, here is another article to wet your whistle on my stress management series to successfully manage our emotions. Please be looking for my launch announcement of the stress e-book in the next week or so on www.resiliencyfirst.com…

O.K. The last four years of the world’s dramatic recession have not always been easy and a bit stressful. In this time of constantly negative headlines and challenging economic news, all of us need to look inside ourselves for strength and relief to avoid getting a bit depressed.

That’s why we need to seize “our” day and remember the strengths and values we bring to the table every day – with our families, friends, co-workers and especially ourselves.

Maintaining a consistent personal brand and attitude may rely on seizing the “moment” throughout your day. 

This moment may be showing colleagues your calmness as a work crisis swirls around your office. It also may be defined as how you react to an unexpected request by your teenager. Or, even how you positively change your driving behavior after you get a speeding ticket.

There are many things that make up your personal brand and how folks react to you. I think the most important is how folks see your attitude and behavior when overcoming challenges or when things – at work or life – don’t go quite right. 

Here is an example how I have successfully traversed though challenges.

When I was younger (I am now nearly 53), I wanted to be in control of everything in my life and seize every moment of the day.

This sounds great, doesn’t it? It is only natural we want to be in control of all aspects of our lives. I found, though, that I was expending so much energy trying to be in total control that I was losing my resilience edge.

Also, having a physical disability (Cerebral Palsy), I found that life control was attainable only to a certain point no matter my attitude or adapting.

Sometimes my body – not my mind – dictated how I was going to do on a particular day.

Look at what I’ve just very humbly gone through with my recent cervical spine surgery. My attitude in overcoming this and not letting it overwhelm me has been seen by others in such a positive way.

One colleague told me, “If you could handle something in life this severe so gracefully, you can overcome anything in business.” 

But in late 2008 I was not that smart at least work and stress wise.

I thought, for example, I was in control of work life when the recession hit four or so years ago. I was doing great, with fantastic reviews, “essential” and “rock star” tags placed on me, terrific compensation and much admiration of my peers throughout the company. 

There, of course, was the awful downturn in the economy, but my attitude was that my exemplary performance would keep me in control of my fate. Man, did I have a lot to learn…

Within a matter of a few months of being deemed “essential,” I became expendable no matter how much effort expended and control I thought I had. With no fault of the company, it had to cut to the bone including me. The lesson for me was there are some things – great and small – out of a person’s total control.

I suggest thinking about your own unique experiences – whether at work or in life – that fills in the blanks for you. How did you maintain your resilient attitude?

I hoped this would be my last company I would ever work for. But I found you could never feel totally secure at work even with an A+ work performance record.

I have moved on to have much success in many other areas, including work/life resiliency training at Lennick Aberman Group, www.lennickaberman.com. and this award-nominated web site – www.resiliencyfirst.com – now pushing nearly 4 million viewa. It started out as a small local blog. THANK YOU!

I have adapted my “control”  and stress definition, and stayed in personal charge of being strong, nimble and resilient – and, most importantly, having the right attitude. I’m trying to seize every moment of the day in a slightly more realistic way.

How about you? Do you allow your behavior and attitude to “spin” unnecessarily? None of us are perfect, but spinning should not be a part of our typical behavior.

This is where your attitude and personal brand connect. I’ve finally adapted my personal brand to outside circumstances out of my control.

Being nimble, adaptable – and more realistic - in all circumstances – will also allow you to stay resilient, in control and strongly show the resolve of your attitude and personal brand.

How do you rate your personal brand nimbleness?

Please think through this carefully and remember that you have ultimate control of your attitude and how you approach life…in truth, that’s about it. Both are very important to the essential fabric of your personal brand. 

Controlling your attitude is especially essential when you deal with the typical challenges of not feeling in ultimate control of your work life, and in some respects, your personal life.

 Once I understood this, I was more successfully able to navigate through the valleys, hills and peaks all of us face everyday. Even though I have my unique life challenges, my goals in life are quite similar to yours – be a person of integrity, the pursuit of happiness and having a safe, secure life for my family.

Your “right” attitude, strength and personal brand will help you through the good times and those inevitable bumps in life…

Look forward to talking with you again next week!. To see my new resiliency e-books and nearly 170 articles/videos, please visit my web site at www.resiliencyfirst.com.

Also visit www.lennickaberman.com to see about our extensive suite of leadership, behavioral advice and resiliency trainings.

photo By: John Linwood