Lost in the forest 101: Resilience

9 Jul

Imagine yourself lost in a forest – you’ve been wandering all day in this densely treed labyrinth as the sun begins to dip toward the horizon. Now imagine you’ve got a child with you who is starting to panic, and on top of all this, you’ve having flashbacks to your cancer diagnosis with a jarring sensation of helplessness . How do you manage this situation?

That’s what you’ll learn this week as I take you back to a time just following my cancer treatment, for a walk-in-the-woods gone very, very wrong.

It’s one thing to say you’re resilient, it’s another to harness the skills required for resilience in a stressful situation. But over the course of this week, delivered in small posts each day, you’ll navigate through the woods by learning the tools that guided me, and tips on how to incorporate them into your daily professional and personal lives.

Now, let’s get out of this forest . . .

Harness Your FIGHT Potential.

While in the forest, my nephew and I found ourselves walking  through a foul smelling, ground sinking swamp. With nothing more than our walking sticks, we tried to find our way around the eerie landscape, and that’s when I saw it: a huge water snake right in front of us.

Immediately I stepped between my nephew and the snake, raising the walking stick. It was not going to mess with us! If I could survive cancer – we’d sure as heck survive this snake. (Funny how I didn’t think to back away. My overwhelming instinct was to FIGHT and PROTECT.)

Chances are you can think of times when you fought for someone else. But what about fighting for yourself? Listen up – follow these tips to harness your FIGHT potential:

  • Your outcomes (like goals) are your children. They feed into your sense of self both personally and professionally, and yet we can sacrifice our ambitions for the needs of others.

Your take away: Do not undervalue your desired outcomes. They make you, so pay attention.

  • Know your outcomes inside and out. If your plans were a house  — what would it look like? If your dream was a child – how would you protect it? If your ambition was a vehicle – how fast could it go? Have a strong sense of what you’d like to create in this world.

Your take away: Knowing your outcomes will strengthen the connection with your project, and build a deep sense of obligation.

  • Fight for your outcomes. Stop being hesitant toward your dreams. Instead, forget about outshining those around you and push forward. People may call you ‘selfish’ but time to get real, it is not selfish to work toward success. If someone attacks your ambition, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with that individual.

Your take away: Time to fight for yourself, and not just others. When tapping that FIGHT potential, you’ll experience the type of determination that breaks through walls.

  • Practise makes perfect. As someone who supports others, supporting yourself may not come naturally. The fighting instinct needs to be developed – and it’s developed through both awareness and experience.

Your take away: Become aware of how you handle stressful situations, particularly competition.  Learn from your response, and try to improve with each exchange.

What about you, have you felt that sort of protective power?

Do you often let others succeed in your place?

How do you react when under threat?

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing herknowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. She aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook. Welcome to the Sister Leadership community!

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One Response to “Lost in the forest 101: Resilience”

  1. angela July 9, 2012 at 12:09 #

    Cam, I remember that incident clearly, what a wonderful way to connect and relate to protecting/safety and instincts.

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