Micro-Resilience in Action
Paralympic gold medalist, best-selling author, and Fortune 500 leadership consultant Bonnie St. John says small adjustments in our workflow can lead to increased productivity for individuals and teams.
Micro-resilience isn’t about weakness. On the contrary, small adjustments help us “better our best” and perform closer to our world-class capability. Repeatedly working to the point of collapse isn’t going to be good enough to get the job done at the level we need. Our bleary eyes and foggy brain eventually bring us to the point of diminishing returns. We begin to introduce errors and inconsistencies that require even more effort to repair. Conversely, strategic recoveries along the way allow us to achieve a new and higher level of the all-in commitment we value so highly. Some alternative “between-the-points” options soon begin to take shape.
One of our participants Elaine describes her breakthrough:
By three p.m. on Monday, I’d been sitting at my computer for seven hours and still had many more hours of work to do to prepare the project plan for the partners’ kickoff call early the next morning. Because I had learned about micro‐resilience, though, I saw that I had a choice. I could continue to grind through it, or I could put my kids in the jogging stroller, take a break from it all, and come back with a fresh mind. That’s something I would never, ever have considered before.
Well...it was great! I spent time laughing with my kids, doing something physical, getting fresh air, and clearing my head. Back at my desk I used the Refocus Your Brain tools to organize my ideas. Later I took another break to read a story to my kids and tuck them into bed.
In the end, the work came out much better than if I had just sat at my desk slogging away at it. Taking micro breaks seems counterintuitive, but I’ve learned that it really works.
All-in performance now looks different on the teams Elaine leads. She still works very hard and drives her people to do the same, but she encourages everyone around her to use a variety of micro-resilience strategies to bolster health, positivity, and brainpower. With this approach, she and her group are sharper, clearer, and more efficient than they were when they pushed themselves beyond their breaking points.
Even under the most demanding circumstances, using micro-resilience modifications “between the points,” as you proceed from challenge to challenge throughout your day, can make the difference between an engaging, invigorating workplace you look forward to being part of and a Dickensian nightmare you can’t wait to leave.
Another of our participants put it this way:
This work is more than its individual parts: it’s the way all the Frameworks come together. Keeping micro‐resilience in front of you every day—making it part of your daily habits, your routine, part of the fabric of your life—is huge. It’s what sets it apart. To break resilience up into little pieces and have these pieces become part of who you are makes all the difference.
These adjustments do not take hours of our time or draw our focus away from important things that need our attention. Our team's bite-size but extremely powerful tweaks work to incrementally adjust habits and restore energy.
Micro-resilience honors our lives as they are. We do not need to change, but we do need to evolve. These simple, research-backed concepts allow us to accept whatever setbacks we experience and bounce back with strength, energy, and positivity—better than before. Employing a fresh strategy to recover between stressful episodes in our lives turns out to be easy.
It also happens to be supremely satisfying.