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As I sit here with bandaged
feet propped awkwardly on my desk, trying to maneuver my computer keyboard, I'm
reminded about the real cause of stress. Recovering from foot surgery has
wrested control from me in so many ways. I can't drive a car, my gait resembles
a duck and I spend exhausting hours trying to balance elevated feet with
meaningful work. It's frustrating, infuriating, and, if I could drive, I'd find
some candy bars to elevate my endorphin level.
Change in our lives creates
chaos we didn't anticipate. The domino effect applies. One change causes a
disturbing reshuffling leaving us feeling out of control and, at worst, like a
Why do some people,
organizations and institutions bounce back and thrive no matter what happens?
What is it that makes them so resilient that they can consistently excel while
others are left running in place or slipping backward? As I worked with
individuals and organizations going through mergers, downsizings and
reorganizations, I pondered those questions and kept data. The results were
Carol, a clinic director with
12 years experience, raved that she would be bald by age 50 from tearing her
hair out over the coverage nightmare of HMOs and PPOs. Tests had always gone to
one lab. Now, they had to check each individuals insurance and be certain to
send work to the "right" lab or there would be no coverage.
I asked her, "Is there
anything you can do to change this situation?" She said, "No." Then I suggested
that she stop obsessing and figure out the best way to handle it. We waste so
much of our precious time and energy railing about something we can't control.
Value yourself. Work on what you can control and leave the obsessing and wall
pounding to the change martyrs.
I remember a story a priest
friend told me years ago. He had a flat tire along a busy highway. (This was
before cell phones.) There he was, no spare, no gas station in sight, all alone.
He felt helpless, like a victim. Eventually someone stopped to help.
He recounted that several
years later, a woman who worked in his office came bounding in a bit late and
disheveled but smiling. She recounted that her tire had blown out on the
freeway. When he commiserated that it must have been an awful experience she
said, "not really." " I climbed the fence, walked about a half mile to a phone,
and called a service station. While I waited for them I grabbed a bagel and
coffee and read the paper. They fixed the tire got me back on the road, and by
the way, I got bagels for the whole office."
What a difference in
attitude. She had never allowed herself to become a victim. Instead, she took
action immediately to correct the situation and even made the waiting
pleasurable for herself. Overcoming the obstacle exhilarated her.
How would you have responded
to the situations these people faced? What do you do when unexpected changes or
If you'd like to test your
resilience level go to
http://www.lindanash.com and click on Resilience to take the free mini
Bounce Back Quotient assessment. The entire assessment plus over 100 pages of
tips for improvement are in the Bounce Back Quotient book,
Well, it's time for another
break from writing. Besides, I've taken control of my inability to drive. A
friend is picking me up in her new sports car to take me to a favorite
restaurant for lunch. I'm definitely bouncing back. So can you.
Word count: 603
Nash is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker and author in the
areas of change and resilience. To receive her free E-zine Bouncing Back go to
www.Lindanash.com To contact Linda
314.872.8787 or e-mail
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