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The Power of Resiliency

by Patricia Tallon ASEBP | September 19 2019

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive excellent leadership training both from amazing mentors and through more formal avenues. This summer, as I embarked on a new leadership role, I spent some time reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned over the years to help set myself up for success on the road ahead. I’ve found that the biggest lessons are to stay positive and build resiliency as you build a culture of wellness that you and your colleagues can grow and thrive in.

So, if you’re looking to improve your own resilience as a wellness leader in your workplace, here are a few scenarios and techniques to help you do just that:

  1. Eyes on the Prize. As a wellness champion, it’s common for a colleague to recommend something they’d like to see happen to support wellness in your school community. Sometimes it’s within your sphere of influence and other times it’s not—and it’s important to recognize which times are which. When it's in your scope, you can quite often take that recommendation and move forward with it. But often, when we’re passionate about something, we feel like we need to take care of it even when it’s not something we can control, and that can start to feel a bit like a weight you’re carrying around each day. That experience can be draining, making it difficult to maintain your drive for the work you are doing. A wise leader once told me to imagine that the thing you feel you’re carrying is a monkey on your back. Imagine simply taking that monkey off, setting it aside and keeping the following mantra in mind: “Not my circus, not my monkey.” You don’t need that weight on your shoulders—especially if it’s something in your workplace outside your control. Here’s some extra support on how you can focus on the long run.
  2. Get Constructive. Feedback helps us grow and learn. When working with others, it’s an excellent way to ensure that their needs are being met. At the same time, it’s also true that feedback about a wellness initiative can feel personal, potentially leaving you feeling defensive and hurt. To help you manage your stress response in those situations, here’s a helpful visualization: imagine a plastic bubble around you when you’re receiving feedback. You’re able to hear and acknowledge the feedback, but it can’t hurt you emotionally. Our stress responses change our ability to think, connect and be creative, so by visualizing how you can respond more thoughtfully when you’re receiving and considering feedback, you’ll be able to approach it in a more meaningful way and be less likely to carry around any negative feelings associated with it. Being a wellness champion is about the journey not the destination—and it’s a journey you need to be well on. Check out this wonderful advice from my colleague, Ashley, about the power of conversations and how they can support your own discussions.
  3. Think Happy Thoughts. You’ll learn many things on your wellness champion journey. An important lesson I’ve learned is the importance of how you frame things—rather than seeing situations as failures, for example, I prefer to see them as opportunities instead. Life’s all about these opportunities and how you use them to continuously evolve your work to make greater impacts in your workplace throughout your career. Life’s also about choice—we can choose to focus on either the negative or positive in any situation. Focusing on the negative only makes us feel more negative, which can make it harder to be the stellar and engaged wellness champion you want to be. It was an a-ha moment for me when I realized that what you focus on grows. That doesn’t mean we ignore the negative, of course—we simply acknowledge it as an opportunity for growth and move forward with what we’ve learned. It means choosing to focus on the positives and investing our thoughts and energy there instead. If you need some extra inspiration for how you can do that effectively, here's an old blog of mine that helps highlight the importance of celebration.

Keep the Passion Pumping
We often talk about building our personal resilience but we shouldn’t forget about the resilience of our wellness champions in the workplace either. These tips can help you keep your passion for wellness thriving as we embark on a new year chock-full of new opportunities! Do you have any other advice for our fellow wellness champions out there? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Patricia Tallon

Not only is Patricia ('Trisha') ASEBP's former lead of Client Services and a registered dietitian, she can also put pencil to paper and hammer out a terrible doodle of just about anything. It’s up to you to interpret her 'impressionistic style' though. But every superhero has their kryptonite. Trisha’s just happens to be the terrifying Cottonius Ballitis—or cotton balls as they’re more commonly known. It’s okay Trisha, we understand. Sort of.