What exactly, what is “resilience” and how do you build a 40,000 gallon bathtub in your soul?
If resilience is when your resources exceed your needs, then the key to resilience is to always have more resources than you need. In life, these resources fall into four broad categories. The first is simple physical resources: food and water, shelter and, yes, money. The second is relationships, friends and family; those people who count on us and those people on whom we can count for support. The third is emotional. Although this may seem the same as relationships, it is far different. This is the “inner strength,” that reserve that we each possess that allows us to go on when we are alone, when we cannot tap into our relationships directly, when that lifeline is just not available. The fourth is spiritual resilience. Contrary to what many believe, both scientific and theological research has proven that it is not the “what” of your belief, but the fact “that you believe” which provides spiritual resilience. In short, it is the simple act of believing that provides you a renewing source of spiritual strength.
If our total resilience is a 40,000 gallon bathtub, then each of these four categories of resilience is a canteen. They are our portable water supply carried with us at every moment.
Ideally, when adversity strikes, it finds us with four full canteens.
Through planning, we have all of the physical resources that we need to respond to any physical threat to our safety or security. This includes knowledge as well as tangible objects and financial support.
Through our presence with family an friends, our relationship canteen is filled with those we love; people who will lend a helping hand or shoulder on which to cry.
Through our life’s experiences, our emotional canteen is filled with the high self esteem born of happy memories. A child’s first steps, a parent’s encouraging words, the camaraderie of friends, the gentle “I love you” of that person most dear to us.
Through our beliefs, our spiritual canteen is filled with the philosophy of the ages. The beliefs that were passed on to us and those that we choose to pass on to those who will come after us.
When an adversity strikes, we will sip or even gulp from each of these canteens. If we have prepared well, our 40,000 gallon bathtub is full. At the end of each day, at a moment of repose, we refill each of these canteens from that 40,000 gallon reserve. We are resilient.
(Excerpted from my lecture series and book: Avoiding Business Disasters: Lessons from the Disaster Field Office)