It’s 22 in Houston, TX and we are having purposeful, rolling electrical outages to manage the demand for heating. I may not have the data accurate, but for the past six hours, 45 minutes on, 15-30 minutes off, the lights go out, the heat turns off and I try not to get irritated. I realize we are helping someone else have heat too.

My husband is from Nebraska and grew up in the cold weather. He is quite amused at my intolerance for the cold. But for today, I have to think about how I can get my work done around the rolling blackouts. It’s a little disconcerting but I begin to think about how I can make the best of the day and realize there are things to consider when it’s 22, windy and cold for us! When there is no heat, no running hot water, needing gloves to wash dishes, realizing food just likes to clump when 25 degree water hits it, and remembering to avoid putting garbage down the disposal. So I begin to make a mental list of things to consider if the temperature drops again or if I have the chance to live in a colder climate. It could happen.

How can I make the best of the situation? How can I become more resilient to cold weather?

Merriam Webster defines resiliency as –“able to revert to original size and shape after being stretched, squeezed, or twisted.”  The definition brought a smile to my face because I think of my own life, career and work environments and there were many times when I definitely felt stretched, squeezed, AND twisted like my childhood toys, Gumby and Pokey. In brief, experience, adapt, recover, acquire knowledge and experience life all over again.

Resiliency training teaches employees to survive in stressful situations, then recover, and be able to take on slightly more stressful situations to grow and thrive. The focus of stress management is to identify the factors that are central to a person controlling his/her stress and to identify the intervention methods which effectively target these factors.

Some may consider developing resiliency as having the ability to toughen up to life’s ups and downs. But, I’d like to consider it to be ability to cope and successful travel these ups and downs of life, gain from the challenge and create a richer more fulfilling life managed with grace, poise and knowledge. To realize that between every two mountains is a valley of peace and to climb the next set of mountains with awareness and preparation.

Perhaps that’s the key to building resiliency. In the same or a similar situation, we hopefully start from a different point of reference. We learn from the prior experience,  connect the dots and apply the learning to new situations.  We have more knowledge and wisdom, are mentally stronger and can critically think through a situation instead of allowing emotions to take over and paralyze or exaggerate our responses. We use our stress management techniques to help us bridge overwhelming moments.  In the best of worlds, we learn not to harden but become compassionately resilient – the calm in the storm for ourselves and others.




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