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Resilience or ... something else?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word resilience. When a person experiences challenging circumstances and is able to recover quickly, we view them as tough or hardy with an extra dose of the rebound gene, a quality we admire.

These days, in the midst of a pandemic, with so much of our lives feeling unfamiliar, we are all attending a masterclass in resilience. Our shopping, cleaning, personal grooming, spending habits and workdays have changed radically. We find ourselves redefining our values and essential needs, cleaning house both physically and emotionally, rebelling for equal playing fields. Resilience can be a highly adaptive trait.

Many have used this time to strengthen their “psychological resilience” through creative outlets such as painting or cooking. The COVID 15 has taken the place of the Freshman 15 that appeared around our bellies our first year in college as we made our way through unfamiliar territory with copious amounts of comfort food. We have done our best to cut ties with the emotional ping pong of the daily news or friends that no longer offer a mutual value exchange. We have shown our humanity putting our hands out, just short of touching, to let others know that they can count on us.

Without the clutter, we are allowed to trust and follow our intuition. Our conviction may come from a resurrected faith or one that has been stalwart for many years. There is a freedom in believing that all will be well, a hopeful optimism that tomorrow will be a brighter day. We are working hard to find equilibrium, both physically and spiritually.

Our business community has shown resilience as well, pivoting supply chains, payment processing systems, logistics and delivery mechanisms. Conscious companies that were prepared to bend without breaking with shifts in market demands, investor expectations and community needs have always known that sustainability is just another word for resilience.

So why does the word sustainability seem just out of touch when the word resilience is a badge of honor? Perhaps its because the word resilience comes with stories that we can relate to, that touch our hearts somehow. Sustainability, on the other hand, seems so … corporate.

Without each of you, corporations or other legal entities are simply pieces of paper filed at the Secretary of State’s office. It is you that breathe life into these virtual structures whether you are an employee, consumer, investor or vendor. It is your stories that make up the fabric of every corporation’s narrative.

Do you show up each day to support and take care of the needs of your peers while you are supporting the higher purpose of the company? Does your impact as a collective extend beyond the walls of the office to your community at large? Do you have a sense of responsibility to our planet to leave it in a better place than you found it? If so, how do you show this each day at your place of work - whether it is a brick and mortar storefront or your very own home office?

These are the hallmarks of a sustainable business, one that is in it for the long run. Like resilience, it is an adaptive trait, one to be nurtured and honed. One to be admired. This pandemic won’t be the last hurdle your business will face. Although you may be quickly resetting to keep your cash flow going, are you taking the time with each adjustment, to prepare for future pivots?

Are you creating the strong infrastructure of a sustainable business that is prepared to weather unexpected storms? Is it a reflection of the resilience of each of its stakeholders with back stories that keep us connected? If not, all of us are entitled to a mulligan. Maybe its time to take it.

Copyright © 2020

All rights reserved – Linda L. Lattimore

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