Resilience - It's All in Your Head

Resilience - It's All in Your Head

Well I had another blog ready to go today but I was just “presented” with a very live opportunity to share some resilience tools.

In case it hasn’t been obvious, I have a commitment to being vulnerable, real and practical in Marilyn’s Musings. This morning takes all that to a new level.

Monday morning my father-in-law passed away. At the age of 94 he left behind my mother-in-law, Priscilla, at the age of 92 after 65 years of marriage.

Needless to say, there is a lot of raw pain being felt in the house. (We thankfully arrived Monday night and have been able to stay with Priscilla.)

Knowing that I needed to get to a wifi to send out my blog I borrowed Priscilla’s pristine Cadillac from the garage and proceeded to back out of the garage right in to the beautiful vehicle that Billy just borrowed from his good friend.


Feel it.

I am.

This is the juncture where resilience will or will not happen today.

For starters, I’m requesting that Priscilla, who LOVES her car, does not know about this until after the funeral on Friday (or maybe ever, haha).

So, what are the choices that I have to make that would be the most resilient for me, and all the other stressed-out people around me? (Some of whom are eventually going to read this.)

  1. Choose to be gentle and kind to myself.
  2. Talk to the people that need to know - own it.
  3. Create the first couple steps in an action plan.
  4. Practice good self-talk.
  5. Be gentle and kind to myself.

It would be easy to focus on the obvious negative internal messages right now such as:

  • “Why didn’t you look?”
  • “How could you forget that car was there?”
  • “Of all the days to have an accident …”
  • “This is the first day’s Priscilla’s beloved car has been in an accident and I did it the day before she has to bury her husband!”

1. Choose to be gentle and kind to myself.

All those statements are true but if that’s where I stop I will spiral in to more and more stressed out.

I’m choosing kindness to myself by also saying some other true, kind statements to myself:

“You are very stressed and that affects focus.”

“It’s small damage to 2 cars and they can be fixed.’

“It has happened now and no amount of worrying will take that back.”

“Well, what are the most important things I need to do next?”

Talk to the people that need to know also includes talking to people who won’t yell at me but will feel the awfulness with me. I thought of telling Bill right away but that’s not fun to get out of bed to in an already stressful day.

I’ll need to tell’s Bill’s brothers and wives. We’ll need to tell Billy’s friend (who is on a road trip out west.)

How can resilience enter here?

Avoiding excuses, owning it straight up goes a long way. Vulnerability instead of deniability.

3. Create the first couple steps in an action plan.
Creating the first couple of practical steps helps move us in to resilience as well because we are focused on how we can fix this. It's movement toward resolve.

Self-kindness today likely means worrying about body work calls after the funeral.

I will have the choice over the next week, many times, to focus on this and beat myself up. My energy is needed elsewhere. I only have so much and I don’t want to waste it on things that are fixable with tools. I will choose to save my energy to care for my family and myself. To be a shoulder to cry on, to celebrate a veteran’s life fittingly during a week of Remembrance.

5. Be gentle and kind to myself.
What other kind self-care things should I be doing? The fact that I mindlessly backed in to another car is a problem but it’s also a symptom. A symptom that I’m stressed.

What can I do today, this week, that will fill my tank back up?

The life-lines from “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” come to mind. Call a friend!

Easy ideas?

  • Talk to a friend
  • Get a massage
  • Journal 
  • Meditate
  • Have a walk

You get the idea.

I chose to write this blog without any relief. Raw. It has served though as a journaling technique and is wonderful proof that journaling helps. (I feel a bit better.)

What situations do you need to practice some self-kindness with yourself on?


Marilyn is an Executive and Leadership Coach with Capacity Building Coaching, holding her Professional Certified Coach designation with the International Coach Federation. Marilyn provides professional coaching for executive and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training, soft-skills development, facilitation of key discussions and team coaching.

Marilyn is author of everyday resiliency workbook “How Absorbent Are Your Shocks?”, available on Amazon. Subscribe to “Marilyn’s Musings” twice monthly blogposts for more leadership and professional development content.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Susan wrote:
Rememberthat the SOMEONE you told has done the same thing three times!

Thu, November 12, 2015 @ 4:13 PM

2. Jen wrote:
That's why these things are called "accidents" Marilyn. Be gentle and forgiving to yourself and thanks so much for sharing.

Thu, November 12, 2015 @ 5:40 PM

3. Mark Smyth wrote:
Marilyn, you are a shining example of how life should be lived. Too often people feel the need to beat themselves up over a "less than perfect" incident. You had the presence of mind to realize that the best way you could be of service to others during their grieving period was to ensure that you were in a compassionate frame of mind. And self-compassion was the necessary first step.

You live your life in a way that is truly inspiring! Thank you for being the example that lights the way for others to follow.

Thu, November 12, 2015 @ 7:02 PM

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