This morning, I set out on a challenging bicycle ride, about 60 km, riding from my home to the Gatineau Hills. The key to the story is making it up long, fairly steep, climbs. I didn’t get all the way, stopping at a place called Pink Lake (it actually is green).
This year, I graduated to the serious cyclist category with the special bicycle shoes that clip to special pedals. When I’m in day-to-day places, I’m often the fastest person on two wheels. Not in the Gatineau on a Sunday morning. This is the domain of the serious riders — who had no trouble passing me on the way up and certainly on the way down. (I held my hands on the brakes — the idea of flying down a steep mountain hill on a bicycle even when the road is closed to cars is still a bit scary for me.)
I’ll return to the route and will push harder, further, and faster. The goal here isn’t to be the quickest person on two wheels; but to test the endurance and strength and see how much more I can take. I know that I’ve made much progress since starting cycling about six years ago. I enjoy testing my resilience.
In my opinion, resilience associates with perseverance, the ability to continue with an endeavour when there are plenty of short-term reasons to quit. Undoubtedly the most successful application in my personal life occurred when I accepted Vivian’s observation after three dates to be friends — literally. We stayed in touch and even coined a phrase for our get-togethers: “Non-date dates” for a decade. Then things changed and she suggested it was time to get serious. Two years later, we married (we’ve been together now, gulp, 24 years.)
The business story is more nuanced, because there have been plenty of crisis points and near-death experiences, and at various times, I thought it was coming to an end, but the story had additional chapters. I think the reason for this survival relates to my intuitive sense to regard a crisis as serious before it really is out of control. In other words, I have panic attacks long before there is actual reason for a panic. This gives us time for remedial activities and averts failure.
The question here though is whether can we teach or guide individuals and businesses to achieve resiliency. Frankly, I don’t see an easy answer. Resiliency is more than the ability to delay gratification, and it goes beyond (though relates to) goal-achieving outlooks. You might want to look for resiliency in your employee hiring process; this could be assessed by asking if the candidates to describe an experience where they were tested in achieving a goal; or perhaps looking for signs of accomplishment that can only happen with plenty of time and effort.