How to be Resilient in these Unprecedented times!

We are the toughest species on Earth
We survived when earth trembled
We survived when disease broke boundaries and spread mercilessly
We survived the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
We survived when the coast was tormented by Tsunami
The picture was never perfect –
for
We resisted but in due course relented too
We turned rigid, almost gave up but found life when we flexed and changed with time.

Evidence shows that we not only survived but thrived as we built pillars of Resilience and Adaptation around the event.

What is Resilience and why is it important?

Resilience is a way of thinking. It is not a fixed trait that is ‘hard wired’ into us.
Some people incorrectly believe that resilience is something that a person is born with. However, whilst life experiences may shape our levels of resilience, with focused effort it can also be learned and developed.
In these unprecedented times, we need to learn to intensify our Resilience trait a lot. Why?
The world is changing exponentially, the velocity of change has created an unfathomable V.U.C.A. world for all of us. V.U.CA. stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity in the transactional world.
And each word describes the unpredictable times we are in. Business profit lines have thinned to fade away. Children have extended holidays and no curriculum to follow. Exams have deferred, marriages cancelled and worse, when an old aunt is cremated by neighbours and no one in the family could reach her in time.
On the other hand, nature is thriving in all of this. Nothing has stopped its growth. Birds fill the air with wonderful vocals, animals are reclaiming their space in sea and land, skies are clear. Nature has rejuvenated itself.

Growth is ceaseless, seamless and moves against gravity. Humans too have to toe the line. Come what may, when faced with a mountain, either walk around it, cross it or if need be, tunnel through it. The movement is mandatory, the free flow of energy is natural. Anything reverse means – Adieu Zindagi.
What ever happens never give up! Be bigger than your problem. Be flexible in your approach. A mind “set” while solving problems is already a defeated proposition since it will define the ceiling to your solution search. Uncork your mind to explore unknown pathways. To find solution, one needs to go out of the comfort zone, or in short find “out of the box” solution.
It’s a hard fact: If a person has only one option to choose in life, that stage is called “Being Stuck.” But if one has choices to opt from, this is freedom – true internal freedom of being resourceful.
How do we power up the Resilience trait within us?
Here are the 8 pronged path to become resilient in the upcoming times.

Self belief

Every lock has a key. Believe in your self that there is a solution to every challenge and that you are capable enough to weave out of the situation.

Prime your brain

Brain needs instructions to work upon. The thoughts you feed the brain with give the directional force to the brain. So, affirmations, definitions and revisiting the belief systems help in priming the brain.

Optimism

To watch a garden full of weeds and expecting flowers to blossom is not the definition of optimism. An individual needs to plant the right thoughts in the mind that will take the person towards a solution mindset. If surrounded by negativity, the individual cannot lead the victory march.

Map your territory

Know your strengths and limitations and work on options that can be achieved while up-skilling to upscale. The more you know about yourself, the faster you can flex with inner calmness.

Seek support

We all need coaches and mentors as we move through different stages of life. Reach out for help without any inhibition and deal deftly with the Post Covid situation. Seek support to empower yourself, so that when time demands you can extend your support too.

Network for Net worth

The more you are are known in your network, the more people are likely to recommend your product or services and even you.
Stay in people’s mind with good work and words.

Communicate, Listen, Read, Repeat

The more you communicate with the right people about the issues in hand, the better you will be able to get cognisant of the new situation. Listen to what people need. Read to be updated and then, continue doing these cycles.

Ruminate your plans well

80% planning and 20% execution… Plan your self well to be able to win a situation with less failures.

We are, at this very moment, living in an era, a history, that is a reality for each one of us. There are two options to choose from. To be a History maker or be a History reader. Makers choose while readers follow.

The romance of a New Normal is about to begin. Stay committed!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shilpi Khandelwal 
Being spiritually intelligent is the only answer to overcome the V.U.C.A. world. And it’s the same guidance Shilpi reinvents herself to stay at par with the industry needs. Shilpi has a training experience of over 15 years across diverse industries.

She is an NLP coach, a PPA assessor and EQ practitioner from Thomas International. She also holds an Executive coaching certificate from Franklin Covey. She initiated her training company, TOUR DE FORCE, which means masterly feat, in 2010. Her company has done 15000 hours of classroom training and 350+ outbound Trainings. Tour de Force is a compassionate Training company and everything around it is for a reason other than business. Her interest in Design Thinking made her hit the books and she certified as a practitioner from QGlue. She was an active participant in Nasscom’s Design4India Summit. Being an entrepreneur herself, she would like to train the startups and introduce this concept before they spend millions in launching a product and bleed their scarce resources in failure.

Leveraging the “Power of Conversations” in the times of COVID Crisis

Change begins with a single conversation.

Conversations are the lifeline to how we get things done in most settings. If you learn to have conversations that are appreciative and inquiry-based, it will strengthen relationships; move you towards positive outcomes in your families, teams, and organization; and promote situations where you can flourish! 

For the last 25 years, I have been studying and practicing the impact of asking questions using AI (no – it’s not artificial intelligence). The AI I am referring to, is Appreciative Inquiry. Something that is easily learnt and powerful when mastered. The power of AI comes from learning to ask questions (inquiry) that add value to others (appreciative), deepen understanding, make room for other perspectives, and inspire new knowledge. The heart of AI is asking life-giving questions. AI is about discovering what gives life to the system, and purposefully looks for what is true, good and possible.

Currently, in my organization, I am serving on a Safety Committee to make recommendations on how to safely re-open a university campus that was closed abruptly as a result of Covid-19. As one would expect, there is tremendous worry, anxiety and emotions surrounding this discussion. How do we re-open? How do we keep our campus community safe? When does the staff report back to work? These are some of the many questions that the committee is struggling to answer. We are learning that there are many concerns and fears among employees about coming back to work.

Instead of making assumptions about how employees feel, the committee is having conversations with all the employees across the 16 departments (via Zoom) to make space to hear:
– What are their concerns?
– What are their ideas to re-open the campus carefully, responsibly and safely?

The department that I work for will be hosting two Town Hall Meetings (again virtually) with our students to learn:
– What worked when we suddenly had to go online?
– What can we do better?
– What are their concerns and wishes for the fall semester?


We also have critical infrastructure (essential) employees working on-campus and have asked:
– What are some of the best safety measures they are using?
– What is working well?
– What do they need more of?

AI questions are intentionally designed to put the employees in a ‘connect’ mindset with the goal of understanding why, when and how might we begin to bring employees back; and re-designing how their departments work with each other and the students who may (or may not) be coming back this fall. We do not know what the fall will bring, but we are already in conversation about what worked well, what is working, and what is possible.

Are your conversations providing clarity, deepening understanding, generating possibilities, strengthening relationships and providing alternatives to create a pathway forward?

To learn more about Appreciative Inquiry visit AI Commons:
https://appreciativeinquiry.champlain.edu/
The “AI Commons” is a place for everyone with an interest in Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and positive change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) M. Stavros’ passion is working with others to create meaningful results for positive change. She is a professor in the College of Business and Information Technology at Lawrence Technological University. She has co-authored 7 books, over 50 articles and book chapters related to Appreciative Inquiry and SOAR.

Two recent books are:
Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement (www.ConversationsWorthHaving.today), and
Thin Book of SOAR: Creating Strategy that Inspires Innovation and Engagement (soar-strategy.com).

She has worked in 25 countries using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to affect the lives of thousands of people and enabled hundreds of organizations improve capacity to thrive and increase performance. Her work has been featured in Forbes, SmartBrief, Detroit’s Live in the D, dbusiness Magazine, and leadership and training blogs and podcasts. She is a keynote speaker on positive approaches to leadership, strategy, and change. She earned a Doctor of Management in Capacity Building Using an Appreciative Approach: A Relational Process of Building Your Organization’s Future.
(Email: jstavros@ltu.edu)

Tug of war

“Aim high, the higher the better.”
“Shoot for the moon, dream big.”
“Who seeks shall find.”
“Try and try until you succeed. Don’t compromise.”
“There is no-one between you and your dreams.”
“Ask and you shall be given.”

They say, you get in life that what you have the courage to ask for. The courage to ask for something is not always enough.

Imagine. What if every step towards something you want is a step away from someone who has always been there for you?

There is nothing more important than family and love.”
“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
“Love awakens your soul.”
“You always gain by giving love.”
“If you want to become fearless, choose love.”
“When we have each other, we have everything.

Is there anything worse than this state of helplessness?

Deep inside, self dissatisfaction is a choice we make over hurting them. It’s ironic. This choice comes from a mechanism that is trained to choose the best for us. It is functioning at levels beyond our conscious thinking. How can, then, one turn against themselves, when humans are genetically so well trained for survival.

Should we trust this intelligence?

The other option is to revolt.

“Revolt against whom, our own selves?”

This is the unsatisfactory deadend.

Fight against no one

We become what we can’t fight.

We want to stay sane. Why? Don’t know. But we have to. There are things, in numbers quite large, we don’t like. We want them to not happen. We want them to end. We don’t fight them. Sometimes we “can’t” fight them. Why fight a battle that we will lose after we appear to win?

We are cowards. We are scared to risk what we may end up losing after we win. It kills us from inside. We fight against our own selves. This is a battle we choose over the one we can’t afford to lose, or win.

We are losers. We use our fingers, not our arms to convey what we want. We just can’t fight back.

“What the hell do I do?”, asked a voice inside me, one day.

“Why do you have to fight it? It is the way it is. Stop troubling yourself over it. You are not responsible for everything wrong that’s happening around you.”, came a reply in a slightly different voice.

When there is a conflict inside, one of the sides is assigned to the blood pumping organ and the other to the manager of organs. I couldn’t identify which one was which.

The following day, I argued against the notion of chasing dreams.

Sadhu

Sadhu is walking barefoot along the river that flows next to his kachcha (mud-) house.

Sadhu is a 67 years old man. Carrying long white curly beard on his fair face,
he is the master of a fit-not-fat body.
The cold waters of the river are taking away with them any fatigue that Sadhu’s body is carrying. Slowly as he walks on the mud floor, as his worries and tension start fading away, he feels a sense of freedom. He feels free from holding himself accountable for every wrong that happens in his family. He appreciates not being judged, not being looked at, not being unnecessarily instructed. The silence of the shore, outside and inside, makes him want to live, want to do more.

Suddenly the silence is broken. The sound of the alarm wakes Sadhna up from her dream. The routine life continues. Sadhna gets up from bed, gets the kids ready for school and starts preparing breakfast.

The house gradually starts filling with voices. the husband can’t find his socks, the kids are waiting for the lunchbox and the mother-in-law needs her medicines.

After the husband and the kids leave, it’s time to start working for lunch.

Carefree, she is, only in the dream!!!

पेड़

पेड़ पर लगे हुए एक फ़ूल की कामना है,

“अगर हवाओं के साथ बहने के लिए थोड़ा ऊँचा हो जाऊँ”

ख़्याल रहना चाहिए उसको इतना ,

पेड़ से टूटकर उड़ तो सकता है पर जी नहीं सकता ।

तो क्या ऊँचा उड़ने की ख़्वाहिश की कीमत ज़िन्दगी ही है ?

ग़ुरूर को दरकिनार कर अगर वो सोच सके इतना ,

“क्यों न पेड़ को ऊँचा कर फिर लहरा उठूँ मैं”

ज़िन्दगी बच जाएगी, उसकी भी और पेड़ की भी ,

क्योंकि उस पेड़ को मुरझाते देर नहीं लगती ,

जिसका इकलौता फ़ूल उससे जुदा हो चले ।

पर फ़ूल को इतने ख़्याल आते कहाँ हैं ,

सोचना तो स्थिर पेड़ को आता है ,

फ़ूल तो बस पेड़ से पोषित होकर ख़ुद महकना जानता है ।

Beauty and the beast

Can a beast be with a beauty? 👹 ⚡ 👱🏻‍♀️ 
Can a hammer stay with a flower? 🔨 ⚡ 🌷 
Can roughness survive with tenderness without destroying it?

Ice 🧊 breaks its bonds to melt and become water 🌊 when exposed to the warmth of light☀️. The rigidity it possesses is subject to change. It is water… frozen by atmosphere. It can, too, flow freely, quench thirst and liquefy itself. Is it scared of the transformation?💭 Maybe. Undoubtedly, there is risk of losing parts of itself and falling apart, if not held tight. “Would it lose itself” is a fear that makes it hold itself solid🧊. Water, on the other hand, is flexible, free flowing and “more” liquid. It does not possess good counters for hard blows and punches, it lets them pass through; does not attack the attacker but tears itself apart🌊.

Is water jealous of ice for its endurance?
Is ice jealous of water for its freedom?
Ice and water are two forms of existence of the same material; interchangeable yet different properties.

What if they are put together in a closed box? It is no less than amazement to see them not fighting but trying to unite🤝. They tend to lose themselves to become the other. There comes a point of equilibrium where there isn’t a need for them to lose themselves anymore to relieve the other of its discomfort with the coexistence. They start coexisting⚗️. What if we heat the box🔥? The discomfort rises again inside both. A lot is happening inside💔. The tendency to lose themselves pushes them in one direction; survival instincts and identity greed in the other. After all confusions and haphazard ups and downs, what happens in the end😞?

Equilibrium. ⚗️ 
Peaceful coexistence. 🤝

How? 😯😯

However.

Woman Shrugging on WhatsApp

Why? 🤔

Because they want it. 🙂

Isn’t love also a verb?!!! 🙂

Woman and Man Holding Hands on Facebook 4.0

Perfectly Imperfect

Imagine if this world were a different place.

If life were a garden and we could just pluck or pick whatever we wanted rather than trying every bit to survive life’s impositions… if everything could be controlled by a magical wand and we were the rulers of our world… if nothing in this universe could affect us and we could monitor our psyches… if every family were a happy family, every child a genius, everyone could find true love,  all marriages were successful, there were no failures and fights, every businessman made profits, and everyone always enjoyed good health… ❤ ❤ ❤

It, indeed, would have been very different to be a part of such a hunky-dory world.
🙂 🙂 🙂

However… 🤔

This world would have deprived us of some silly things.

Yes!
I mean stupid things like the anxiety before the declaration of result and elation on an achievement, insignificant things like listening to the complications in our friend’s love stories and lending the worst possible advice, petty things like scratching our heads for solving a problem and cursing the geek in class who does it, the pain of rising item prices in canteen and sadistic pleasure on posting controversial tweets. 💜💜💜
Thrill, excitement, dreams, adventure, challenges, dilemmas, chaos, spontaneity would be nowhere in the picture. Wouldn’t life be pretty monotonous in this world!

Let’s think of it like this…

Life is a game and there is nothing to lose because whether we win or not, we can have our share of fun.  We win: its fine; we don’t: the game is really interesting. 😎
If only we detach ourselves from our life for a while and be a spectator to it, we shall realise how each moment in life adds meaning to it. ✨ Time stands witness to the fact that nobody in this world has been happy and successful throughout their life. There have been people who have lived without regrets and complaints; and there lies the essence of life. 💫

All these random thoughts indicate that this world could not have been better. Whatever situations, circumstances or conditions we are put into, we just need to be ourselves and ready to experience the most out of it. 

“To love life is to live life” 🤟🏻

Romeo

My name is Romeo. I also live roadside. Contrary to what you might be imagining, the two words put together don’t describe me. But there is no doubt about my qualities as a lover. I do love. That’s one thing I am pretty good at. I say hello to everyone I see on the road. I try to. This… is a story of a chilling night in my city.

The month is January and the date is 1. It is around 8.30 in the evening. My dinner routines aren’t very organised and depend on a lot of factors. I don’t remember when I ate last. I can feel the chills taking my breath away with every blow of freezing cold wind passing by. I am by the roadside outside an ATM. It is my area and so I know there are people nearby who are setting up fire to warm themselves, preparing for the night as all of us know it’s going to get colder.

It’s not very cold inside the ATM room but I am too scared to step in. It’s getting colder outside and I am still outside, shivering.. lying on the road.. entangled in myself.. to cover myself up as much as I can with my own body.

I have furs but they don’t seem to be too protective today. My tail is stuck between my body and the doormat lying outside; I am trying to wrap myself up as much as I can with my body, trying to feel a little cozy. Perhaps I didn’t have dinner today and so I am feeling a little weak.

What happens next?
Do I survive the night?
This, and many other such stories, me and my friends talk about a lot.

This is not my story.
This is your story.
You get to decide the end the next time it happens in front of you.

I eat.. sleep.. reproduce.. repeat.
I wag my tail when I see you.
I lick. I jump.
I try to share my love in my language.

I can’t tell my story and so somebody is saying it on my behalf…

Next time you see me, don’t forget to say hello. 🙂

The 3 sisters

Diya, Riya and Tiya were playing. Their mom was busy in the kitchen, preparing dinner for the family.

Suddenly, she heard someone crying. It was Tiya, the youngest one.
Mom screamed, “Riya, don’t bully your little sister.
Mom, but I didn’t do anything. You always scold me for no reason.” Riya replied annoyingly.

Mom entered their room and observed how upset they all were.
Fight as much as you want to. There will come a time when you will look back and miss these days badly.

Mom please! Not these dialogues again. It gets too melodramatic. I think you should stop watching those daily soaps.” Diya, the eldest one, said sternly.

Present Day:

Riya is spraying perfume on Tiya.
Tiya says authoritatively, “Not on my face.. it may damage my skin.
They all start laughing.

Tiya is getting married. Riya has come to India after 2 years to attend her wedding. Diya is just too happy for these 5 days when they are all getting to meet again. Though, there’s not much time to sit and talk. Their kids are too young and demand attention. Tiya is busy with customs and parlour appointments.

All they need is a little more time for their silly fights.