Resiliency Doctors

By Steve Beseke, beseke1@earthlink.net

Perseverance, persistence and patience. Wow! They can make the difference between personal and career happiness or times filled with struggles, high drama and a sense of hopelessness in an economy of uncertainty.

I still believe that personal happiness is still greater than any career. Most of us, unfortunately, have been devastatingly affected by this very challenging economy with lay offs, loss of confidence an uneasy sense of “what’s next.” This is where the three Ps can make such a crucial difference for all of us whether we are being hit hard or successfully absorbing the challenges of life.

Specifically, being knocked down in our personal or professional lives has been apart of many of our lives. More of my good friends were just laid off from companies that had never laid off anyone in their history. Naturally, many are very down…not knowing where to turn next to continue with their lives. It’s a deeply saddening time in our nation’s history when companies are forced to cut to the bone because the economy is very slow in turning around.

No matter what political affiliations you have, I’m sure you or someone you know has been affected by these tragic times. Is it time to blame George Bush, Barack Obama or the Congress for our significant challenges? I contend “no” – we need to come together as America has always done to keep us on the right track. Our country and the good folks of it have been knocked down before but we have never stayed down. Look at the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor or even the Civil War.

It’s truly a jip that most of our current knockdowns – being laid off, foreclosure on a house and getting behind on every other bills – are not always within our control. I, in fact, was laid off from my dream job – not because of my stellar performance – but that the credit market dried up and the great company I worked for could not find the money to keep itself afloat.

My friends and I are not alone, and I am sure you have had to deal with a myriad of unexpected issues now whether you are employed or not. The current economic crisis has hurt our life resiliency in so many different ways. Some who have lost their job also are finding personal relationships – even long-term ones – very difficult.

I wish I had the answers to our country’s challenges. I know this: We cannot let the current economic woes knock us out for the 10-count. Besides starting my own communications and resiliency business, I have used the three Ps of life to get back up and be successful.

Being Knocked Down

I have fallen or “been knocked down” before and have always gotten right back up. I am sure you have had your life moments where you’ve fallen and have gotten back up – and are better for it in the long run. In my previous articles, I mentioned that I have a lifelong physical disability (Cerebral Palsy), which affects my walking, my balance and sometime my ability to stop from literally falling on the ground. Nothing can hurt or be more sobering than falling and not always being in control of situations.

Should I just lie there and pity myself. No, I need to get up, dust myself off and try to stay as independent as all of us want to be. Once I had to go to the emergency room because I smacked my head on a marble floor. I could have given up but I did not.

My career is no different. I was laid off from a dream job last year and have had to retool my brand to keep myself moving forward. Developing a successful international speaking and writing business on resiliency has been a by-product of assessing my skills and using them differently to still succeed.

While I don’t hold myself up as an example, you can also work through your life “knock downs” – great and small – if you remember those three Ps of life – perseverance, persistence and patience. These three words have helped me through all life and career challenges that have come up.

Perseverance

What can any of us do if we are laid off? In these times, it is usually not because of your performance. The company needs to stay afloat and its labor costs are the single highest money outflow that they can control. So, they lay of good folks like us.

After I went through my laid-off grief stages I mentioned in a previous article, I looked at what was in my control and how I could persevere during these rough times. I knew I had three things I could control – my attitude, my values and the way I relate to people. While searching for a full-time gig, I also developed a personal business plan, looked hard at my personal brand and truly had a heart-to-heart with myself about what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.

Well, this perseverance led me to resiliency, creating an award-nominated blog and establishing a business where I could speak at organizations, develop resiliency materials for those in need and stay healthy in my day-to-day activities. It’s been a true blessing.

The lesson I learned – and one you should think about – is don’t pity yourself because you have had a personal and professional loss. Look at yourself hard and decide what you want to do in life. Don’t just settle because then you may be going through the same challenges in future time. Persevere and understand the fantastic skills and qualities you offer everyday!

Persistence

I hope this does not happen to you: After the 30th rejection letter, or having a company choose someone else after seven separate interviews from the CEO to the janitor on duty, I’ve had friends and colleagues say, “I am just going to give up.” This is when you must persist and learn how to promote yourself in an even better way.

I hate to promote myself. My dad was a car dealer, and I wish I had his out-going personality and ability to convince folks to close the deal. I’ve always struggled with this, and have tried to let my work do the talking for me. Unfortunately, in these times, you need to show folks why there can’t be a better candidate than you.

That’s why I think understanding and believing in your personal brand is absolutely a key to your future success. When I first re-crafted my “brand,” I thought I’d never come up with something that was truly me. But I persisted and gave myself enough time where I did not feel pressured to write something in five minutes. I persisted and diligently wrote down all my strengths and the types of work I like to do. I also did the same with my weaknesses and the activities I don’t like to do.

This gave my a framework where I was able to write down “my future.” It was not easy and it took significant time but I got it done and now I understand what I want to do for the last 15 years of my career. My persistence led to talking about resiliency and opening up about my disability experiences. Most of all, it gave me the inner confidence to offer my common-sense messages to assist you and other great folks worldwide. Being persistent can be magical.

Patience

You’ve just been laid off and wonder where the money will come from to pay the bills, keep your house and pay for your son’s birthday party coming up soon. In these circumstances, being patient to find your next great job is very hard. I’ve been there and my friends have been there. There’s nothing fun about it and you just want to hurry to find a job that pays for life.

For me, I found that I needed to step back for a moment and don’t hurry into something that I may regret. At least for the short term, I stayed patient and tried to understand what my next step should be. If you have access to unemployment insurance, you nest egg or money in your overall family, that’s great. If you don’t, you may want to consider consulting or some other type of part-time role to get you by for at least little while. This type of patience helped me as I found what I wanted to do – and the next great job in my life.

All of us can react wonderfully to favorable times in our lives. Our true grit is shown in how we deal with the professional and personal challenges all of us sometimes face. I suggest you think of the three Ps the next time you face one of those possible life-changing events in your life. Please don’t stay knocked down for long…see your true and fabulous potential.

Thanks for all of your great comments about my writing and speaking. I am using my three Ps to continue navigating the current we are all swimming through these days.