Updated: Jun 8, 2022
I've been on LinkedIn for 15 years and have never encounter the word God in an article or post. Naming it right now feels detrimental to my career as a leadership keynote speaker and trainer. I imagine current and future clients recoiling a little.
By God I mean the felt sense that many have in their hearts that life isn't random. That there is a hidden order and meaning to things, potentially even a presence that we can relate to even though we will never fully grasp it. It's a deeper knowing that that there might be an invisible order, and perhaps an intelligence that lies behind the unfolding of our lives. Many prefer to call this life, spirit, the universe.
Why is that important to resilience?
Most thinking on resilience is about bolstering the self against the the adversities of life. Learning how to regulate your nervous system, having strong physical and mental practices, learning to tolerate difficulty without numbing and distracting. But there's a whole other side to the equation of resilience, which is your relationship to life itself. This other side I aim to share more of in my work as a leadership keynote speaker.
Cultivated through the conversational act of prayer and the meditative act of listening, we can develop a relationship to life akin to a brother, sister, mother, father and even lover. We can access a comforting presence that can sustain us in ongoing and enduring difficulty. It can even guide us, if we allow it.
As many of you know, I've been suffering deeply with chronic health issues for three years now. It feels so unfair that I often go into a victim mindset. I feel abandoned, and conclude that life is just random and I might as well give up.
In deep suffering, when we are truly pushed to our limits, we are invited to move from an antiquated understanding that we are being punished or cursed to a deeper knowing that we are being tested. To be tested isn't to sit a difficult exam. The original meaning of tested is the act of burning gold in order to remove impurities. Suffering reveals who we were always meant to be.
As a leadership keynote speaker I often remind my audiences when suffering and adversity arrives at our door, we have a choice. We can go into a victim mindset and rail against it. Or we can ask what is this experience revealing to me? What do I need to let go of? How can I better serve?
When we welcome the test, like Gold, we are purified. We become better vessels for life to act through us. In this way we can be less afraid of what might happen, and have a deeper confidence that there are always gifts in the darkest experiences.
As John Locke said, the Enlightenment project will have succeed when a man found on his knees praying, will get up, embarrassed.
Forward thinking companies go beyond the taboos around spirituality in the workplace in order to access deeper levels of wisdom and creativity. If this is something you believe in, I encourage you to share this post so we can start having that conversation.
This is an A-Z guide to showcase some unfamiliar concepts in resilience, originally shared on my LinkedIn and inspired by day-to-day insights from my own experience with burnout and my work as a leadership keynote speaker. Also is this series: A (is for Auto-Regulation), B (is for the Breath), C (is for Coping), D (is for (the far side of) Despair), E (is for Endurance) and F (is for Forgiveness).