Resilient Leadership has impacted the way I approach life, without a doubt. I have always been known as a people pleaser. As I got older, I became more and more anxious.
All growing up I had coaches, teachers, and friends constantly telling me that I need to be more assertive. I need to be “meaner” (yes I have actually been told this!). I need to stand up for myself. I started to get this vision in my head that a good leader was aggressive, outgoing, and loud. And I was never going to be any of those things. It just did not feel authentic to be that way. So, the belief that I would never be able to be a good leader was becoming more solidified in my head.
Resilient Leadership came into my life unexpectedly. I didn’t realize how their teachings would really influence me in leadership, and in life.
They completely reframed the way I think of leadership and leadership roles. No longer did I believe the false narrative that leaders have to be loud, assertive, and outgoing. Great leaders CAN have these qualities, but there is not a set of characteristics that make the best leaders. Great leaders can also be calm observers, empathic, and creative. Or a combination of a million things.
I also learned that leadership roles are not reserved only for teachers, coaches and mentors. A leader can be a mother, a friend, or in my case a climbing partner.
I knew Resilient Leadership had started to impact my life after a mountain emergency. My partner had a big boulder roll down the mountain and crush his leg in the middle of the backcountry in the Holy Cross Wilderness in Colorado. This left him with a compound fracture and… I will spare the rest of the details. No one around but me, him, and our friend Wes, 6 miles away from our car, at 13,000 ft of elevation. The action started at around 4 pm and continued for many hours, into the next morning. Talk about an anxiety provoked situation! This was an actual life or death condition and I immediately jumped into action. I had to make quick, assertive decisions to help the helicopters land, keep Nate alive and calm, and help the rescue team. I am not claiming to be the only leader on this day because everyone played a critical, huge part in the rescue. However, I wonder what would have went differently if I had waited to be told what to do, or constantly second guessed my decisions.
You might be wondering what this experience deep in the backcountry of the mountains has to do with the Resilient Leadership model.
Let me tell you! First and foremost, I stepped into my role as a step-down transformer that day. As you can imagine, the incident was high stress. We were all navigating extreme emotions and high levels of anxiety, while also trying to get things done as quickly as possible. The idea of being a step-down transformer pops into my mind when I think back on this event. I realized that letting my anxiety take over and losing my cool would create a chaotic environment for Nate and our friend Wes. Resilient Leadership has taught me that reacting to strong emotions disrupts clear and effective communication. In a life or death situation like ours, this was simply not an option. I have always been told I have a calming presence. I didn’t realize how to use this for leadership until that day. Resilient Leadership gave me the tools to capitalize on my strengths as I kept Nate calm, made decisions with conviction, and communicated with clarity. The best part was I didn’t have to pretend to be something that I wasn’t while leading through this experience.
Everyone told me to be more confident and trust myself, but never showed me how. Thank you, Resilient Leadership, for actually showing me how!
Visit this page often to learn from other people how the Resilient Leadership model has transformed their careers and lives. If you'd like to learn more about Resilient Leadership, email Jim Moyer at email@example.com.