When was the last time you put yourself out there and risked being completely vulnerable? This was a question Brene’ Brown asked at the Texas Conference for Women, where I had the honor to speak about harnessing the power of resilience. I often talk about vulnerability and courage because I believe they lie at the heart of resilience.
My journey started with my son, Evan. I have shared our struggles, adversity, and successes in the past. There was the time I wrote to you from our room at the Ronald McDonald House during Evan’s first hospitalization. And the time I wrote from the hospital where my husband had just been in a motorcycle accident. Then there was Evan’s second hospitalization, and the video I shared about my tumor and subsequent facial paralysis.
Recently I’ve had several people ask about our family. I admit, I haven’t shared very much lately because it has been an extremely challenging time. In July, we checked Evan into a long-term therapeutic treatment center in Idaho. It was a gut-wrenching, soul-crushing decision. Evan is now 15-years-old, and we knew that if we didn’t do something drastic, his life would not head in the right direction. To say that my heart feels as if it’s broken is an understatement. A week after we checked Evan in, my husband Jay fell off a ladder, breaking his hip, arm, and ribs. Yup. You can’t make this shit up. Our 16-year-old daughter Rylee is in her junior year of high school, which for anyone would be stressful (you couldn’t pay me to do that again!). She is learning a new normal as well.
Even though I research, study, write, and speak about resilience, I’ve got to be honest, I’ve been thrown for a loop. I have been practicing gratitude, meditating, exercising, and almost eating well. I have listened to the comedy channel, spent time with friends (even though it’s easier and more tempting to isolate), and allowed myself to sit with difficult feelings. In the absence of the daily struggles and drama, there is now silence and emptiness. And even though I know about resilience, it’s hard to be strong. When people ask how our family gets through these times, I defer to one of my favorite sayings. “You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.”
I believe vulnerability is a true measure of courage, and while
often uncomfortable, it’s where healing begins.
As trite as it may sound, life is about the journey. Rather than avoiding or burying the difficult times, it’s putting into practice all of the things you have done to prepare yourself for these times. And most importantly, it’s about giving yourself permission to not have to be perfect during the process. I believe vulnerability is a true measure of courage, and while often uncomfortable, it’s where healing begins.
We are grateful that Evan is in an amazing place with great care. We talk to him almost daily and visit often. Rylee is a choir super star, is happy and healthy, and has great friends. Jay is healed and feeling back to his old self. And I have had an exciting year filled with incredible career opportunities. There are lots of things to be grateful for if you take the time to see them.
As we head into the holidays, allow yourself to be vulnerable and truly connect with others. Rather than the ceremonious exchanges we have with friends and family (“How are you?” “Good! You?”) take time to really ask how people are doing. Make it safe for those closest to you to be vulnerable and choose to do the same. We are all going through something. Take time to truly listen and offer support, dig deeper than the normal “I’m fine”, and share your own story. After all, what is the point of cultivating loving relationships if we can’t provide each other love, reassurance, and support? Sharing your truth and being a source of strength and support for others is the greatest gift you can give.
Thank you for being part of my community. Your kind words, prayers, and encouragement mean more than you will ever know. And never forget that you are Strong Enough.
TURNING LEMONS IN TO LEMONADE
We live in a world where we are bombarded with information, saturated with stimulation, and overloaded with deadlines, tasks, and deliverables. Demanding schedules, competing priorities, and a never ending list of to-do’s have made stress and burnout common place. Stress is the leading cause of heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a whole host of other ailments, and it has literally become a public health epidemic.
Resilience Training & Productivity
The good news is that research has found a way to help combat the many challenges associated with stress, and companies that practice this are more productive, more profitable, and higher performing as a result. More and more organizations are turning to resilience training to help their employees manage stress, navigate change, and overcome obstacles and setbacks.
Resilience Is A Skill That Can Be Learned
Resilience is not a personality trait but rather a set of skills and habits that can be developed and honed, and there are skills, behaviors, and attitudes that can be learned. For example, research has consistently shown a link between job satisfaction and the degree to which managers express gratitude to employees. Gratitude affects your brain at a neurological level, producing serotonin and dopamine (the brain’s feel good neurotransmitters), and reduces cortisol (our stress & “fight or flight” response). Practicing mindfulness has been found to significantly impact and improve the part of the brain responsible for memory, attention, and emotional regulation.
One size does not fit all. Learn a ton of cool ways to build your courage resilience.
This is a resilience revolution, and it starts with you!
Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.
Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.