What if you were already resilient?

mental skills resilience Jun 29, 2021

As more of us are emerging post-pandemic, we are finding a new test for our resilience. I hear so many people saying, “When things go back to normal.” I gotta admit, that sentence is KILLING me! (metaphorically, obvi).

Here’s my breakdown of that sentence:

When - waiting on the future to happen; not in control.

Things - what “things?” Not specific so not attainable.

Go back - life doesn’t go backward, only forward; no time machine.

To normal - what’s “normal?” Again, not specific.

A similar thing happens with any setback or disappointment - the common language is about “bouncing back.” What about “bouncing forward?!” Don’t we always want to be getting better? Stronger? More resilient?

Of course, there’s comfort in the known, the past, what was in the “before.” The future can be scary - I mean, didn’t we all just live through the upside-down?! So we inch forward with trepidation and anxiety, poking our heads out of our proverbial shell testing if it’s safe to do so. All perfectly expected.

But what if we held this duality instead? You are both more resilient than you realize and can also build your resilience as a skill.

What is resilience?

Often, clients come to me because they say they are, “having trouble bouncing back” or “I want to be able to bounce back faster.” I get it. In any sport, disappointment and failure can really set us back on our heels. And in this sport, we could also lose our partner to injury or worse. Heart-wrenching stuff.

But I don’t want you to bounce back, I want you to recover. I want you to have tools in your mental skills toolbox that support you mentally, emotionally, and even physically no matter what the setback. To recover faster, that should be the goal.

So when I think about resilience, I borrow words and concepts from the usual sources. As a result, this is what I’m going for:

  • A capacity to recover quickly from difficulty.
  • Ability to spring back into shape. Elasticity.
  • Ability of a person to adjust to or recover readily from illness, adversity, major life changes, etc.

One size does not fit all. Each one of us will recover in our own way and time, so compassion is key - for ourselves and others.

Some of the words I like include:

  • Adjust.
  • Recover.
  • Refocus.
  • Rebuild.
  • And my own, reconnect.

To do this, we need to cultivate in ourselves capacity, elasticity, and adaptability. As with everything, resilience is a "practice" in the yoga-sense of the world. Not one-and-done. We learn the tools, and we play with them until they become uniquely our own, and they become reflexive - that is, we reach for the tools to respond instead of react.

In a way, resilience is about coming out of challenges better than you went in. Stronger. More confident. More optimistic. Yes, please!

Building the skill

Great, we’ve adjusted our definition and our goal, now what?

There are a number of building blocks when it comes to the practice of resilience:

You why. Having a clearly defined reason that you compete with dogs will always re-ground you in what’s important and in your mission. Write. It. Down.

Being present. When we long to go back, we are looking in the rearview mirror, aka, the past. It’s okay to be nostalgic for the past, but your life and your recovery are in the present.

Long-term plan. Are your goals compelling enough to propel you forward? Without those goals, it’s absolutely hard to get out of bed or motivate to train. Write those down, too.

Be deliberate. Being deliberate is about making choices and training plans that support our goals, but near- and long-term. Train with intention.

Cultivate resources (and support). Make a big, long list of everything you need in order to achieve your goals. Do you need practice jumps? A new harness? A rehab plan? A new instructor? Private lessons? It’s okay to need!

Lean into every moment. Yes, even the sucky moments have something to teach us so don’t be so quick to shove those experiences down deep. Enjoy the high points and take the lessons from the low points and allow yourself to feel all the things. Just no wallowing!

Keep at it! Think of the handlers you admire, did they give up? Are they great at recovering? They weren’t always, but they stuck with it because the journey is worth it. You can do this!

Now, please don’t overwhelm yourself with this entire list and think that you have to do it all right away. Breathe. Take a piece and try it out, then add the next piece. If I had to choose, I would tell you to start with being present and keeping at it - there’s magic in each of those!

Remind yourself that it’s all about what you do next.

You’ve got this!


Want More?

I just made one of my favorite Masterclasses available as a self-paced program. Guess what it's about? Ha - I'm so transparent!

Yes, the Q-Resilience Masterclass is now a self-paced program you can do on your own. And to celebrate, I'm offering 30% off when you use the code JUMPIN at check out. So jump in! And build your resilience!

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