Blog Thoughts

2020 Required Durability from Everyone

In 2020, no matter how resilient you were, times were uncertain, we were facing information overload (or deficit), and we had choices to make. On a scale of 1–5, how did you manage?

No single way fit everyone. Many took the time to reconnect with family (initially) and flourished if fortunate to work from home. Others had little change, because they were deemed “essential” and had to report to work or had a position that required to be in the workplace. As we all now know, what started as 14 or 30 days was extended, and extended. Whinging between family members *may* have ensued, and others painfully isolated. Living with uncertainty can be unsettling. Loss of family and friends to illness, isolation, and life changes may bring a chronic level of grief.

Durability was hard to muster. As we learned more about the virus, we gained knowledge. From my background in clinical studies, I knew that immunity could be boosted, good habits build routines and structure, and when life feels slippery, we do better with a faith or spiritual foundation. We had choices to make – renew healthy habits, or fall back to or invent poor ones. Many did both. Looking back, I know that daily exercise (online, indoors), outdoor walks when possible, eating right, striving to sleep more (that’s always a tough one), and bringing back enjoyable habits (gardening, knitting, and written notes to friends) helped me immensely. Pets — pets were invaluable!

cat

How did you manage? Durable people take self-check-ins seriously. When I felt myself slipping, I stepped up the areas of need. I firmly confirmed that people matter, and even a walk-by in a mask with a kind word helped versus no contact. Gratitude flowed high, since I had choices that others may not have, and I tried to support groups I belong to with outreach (which helped me most of all!) And, fear is unhelpful, reducing immunity and confidence…

The more challenging aspects of durability like the discipline of structure, the many daily choices took intention. Yet, the intentional pause, the knowledge that some of the daily options were in our own hands gave me hope. And hope is sometimes the most powerful impetus to keep going! I once had a wooden angel with a quote on it. In a darker time of my life, I’d covered it over. During the Spring of COVID, I uncovered it. Ha! The joke was on me — the quote stated this: “Never Lose Hope”!

never lose hope

Seeking to keep going is often hard, but well worth it. I’d love to hear what or who supported you in that challenging year? Plus, just surviving this year is a magnificent accomplishment! Well done!

Linda Kreter

 

Leadership Skills Growth

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell talks about leadership as a continuous learning process, and one where success means growing other leaders. In other words, leadership is influence. If you don’t influence others, you’re not leading a group, you’re walking alone.

What if you’re a strong leader already? It’s probable you are still constantly and intentionally learning more about yourself, and about your abilities to communicate and engage. Most leaders find camaraderie in sharing ideas with others, receiving feedback, and debating the finer points of a difference of opinion. Leaders are inquisitive, questioning, and often seeking. Personally I love to read books, and listen to podcasts and videos about communication, including varied viewpoints on persuasion, techniques on asking questions, and the way we can encourage others to safely tell their stories – because everyone has a story.

Engagement has a different meaning in a world gone largely virtual. Your words and phrases matter, along with your tone, your body language, and your demeanor. The best outcome of a discussion with anyone, is rapport, a greater understanding of the other person’s viewpoint, a possible shift based on learning what the other person finds important, and most of all, valuing the other person. If you manage staff, speaking to someone with their position and perspective in mind is vitally important. Plus, improving your communication skills (tone, presence, body language, preparation and more) acting a leader rather than someone to be reckoned with is an advantage. This is leadership skills and mindset growth.

Leadership

You cannot always change the situation around you, but you can change your response to it. The confidence with becoming a more assured leader will help you in every aspect of your life. There is enormous value in being able to express yourself well and to show in subtle ways you are resourceful, knowledgeable and worth listening to in your role. Intentionally, taking even 10 minutes each day to read, listen, journal, discuss, mentor, or learn will make you a stronger, more empathetic leader, able to surmount challenges with grace. Leadership skills are always evolving; enjoy the process!

 

Gnarly is the Most Interesting

Do you have a fondness for driftwood like I do? I’ve dragged an interesting piece for miles and then let it dry out for three months if it was sufficiently unique!

Fascinating driftwood is often the tumbled root section of a tree. I spent time this weekend thinking about roots. Roots of our families. Roots of our friendships. Roots from our past that make us who we are today.

Our roots begin within our families, and if we’re fortunate, any dysfunction is manageable and safe. Roots continue to grow and spread as we learn and grow older, putting out tender shoots that grow stronger as we discern our path. Through experience and hard-earned wisdom, we learn how to prune the roots that are unhealthy, and how to nurture the ones we need to be stronger. But sometimes, even with help, we cannot self-prune or self-nurture our roots and we must learn to live with a discrepancy in our lives. And, we do it well!

Have you ever seen the root of a great tree that at one time ran into an obstacle and was forced to change direction to stay alive? It’s not predictable or “regular”. That tree, like you, is determined to keep growing. The root of a tree that has circumvented an obstacle and kept on, lifting branches to the sky is often the most remarkable. For example, consider the roots that grew around an underground pipe, pressed up through the concrete, or burrow out of the side of a mountain. They kept growing. I contend that some of the most interesting driftwood pieces – and durable people are those experienced a challenged root system.

Wood

Consider yourself in a new light. Think of a stunning piece of driftwood art in the garden, a driftwood piece like you – unwavering, gnarly but tenacious, with some knotholes and scars, and learn to admire that driftwood all the more for the progress it made along the way.

May you be grateful for gnarly, intriguing roots in your life for your demonstration of durability. Challenges met – durability rises again!

 

The Magic of Durability

Ahh, superpowers and magic! Durability is usually a plain word that describes buckets and boots, but the magic of durability is – you can always enhance and strengthen it. It’s never too late. Durability is a time-honored description for those who wake each day with purpose, walk with courage despite obstacles, and serve others at home, at the office, and in life.

Durable people have met personal challenges, faced the options, and chosen intentionally to carry on, especially when the options are bad, poor, and worse. We are not merely weary troupers, we have perseverance, a flame inside that won’t go out, and if it flickers, we rest, quiet ourselves and others, and seek strength to continue. Not all people are naturally durable, yet durability is also resilience, and resilience skills may be taught, emphasized, and maintained.

A durable person has a personal awareness and a knowing they have weathered hard circumstances before – and prevailed. That experience gives a hard-earned wisdom, and also a supportive timber to take the first step. Again. Wisdom comes with age and experience, yet it’s an advantage to learn and apply these skills earlier in life. We model durable behavior for our peers at work, and for our children at home. Application of self-awareness, strong communication, wellhoned boundaries, and compassion with strength is a powerful combination.

Many cast empathy and compassion into the “soft skills” arena, implying these are not as functional or practical as other skill sets easier to quantify. Yet, the best communicators in life understand that caring, applying the right words to the right situation, and following other principles taught in kindergarten are vital to influencing others positively. Durable people use these skills (innate or fostered) in all communications to create a relationship, rapport, and harmony.

The magic of durability endures and sustains. Durability is a superpower! Augment your natural resilience, fortitude, persistence, strength, grit, character, courage, and endurability and achieve your personal best. Contact me at linda@lindakreter.com and schedule your free 15-minute consultation. Durable people thrive in all aspects of their lives!

Linda Kreter

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