Ebb & Flow - Practice Resilience to Prepare for Change - Featuring Dr. Linda Hoopes
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The word resilience pops up everywhere these days. It has become a catchy term often abused and misused to indicate the importance of being flexible, stern, and adaptable.
My guest today is Dr. Linda Hoopes, which I affectionately refer to as the Goddess of Resilience. Linda represents one of the most influential voices for researching resilience and helping people become resilient.
For Linda, “Resilience is the ability to deal with high levels of challenge while maintaining a high level of effectiveness and well-being.” Linda believes everyone has the seeds of resilience and that learning to weather life’s storms with grace and skill is crucial.
Linda spent 25+ years in business psychology and organizational change, and then she gravitated toward resilience as the focus of her professional work. Linda has a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a minor in Statistics/Psychometrics.
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Brought to you by ALYGN Organizational Consulting
Welcome to Pity Party Over, the podcast for people teams and organizations seeking practical ideas for results in greater happiness. I'm your host, Stephen Matini. Let's pause, learn and move on. Pity Party Over is brought to you by ALYGN, A L Y G N.company.
Hi everyone, I’m Stephen, and welcome to Pity Party Over. The word resilience pops up just about everywhere these days. It has become a catchy term often abused and misused to indicate the importance of being flexible, stern, adaptable, and all sorts of things.
My guest today is Dr. Linda Hoopes which I affectionately refer to as the “Goddess of Resilience.” Linda represents one of the most influential voices for researching resilience and helping people become resilient.
For Linda, resilience is the ability to deal with high levels of challenge while maintaining a high level of effectiveness and well-being. Linda believes everyone has the seeds of resilience, and learning to weather life's storms with grace and skill is crucial.
Linda spent 25+ years in business psychology and organizational change and then she gravitated toward resilience as the focus of her professional work. Linda has a Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology with a minor in statistics and psychometrics.
Please welcome to Pity Party Over Linda Hoopes.
Stephen Matini: I was thinking, you are the goddess of resilience. You know to me you are you represent such an important figure. And so I was wondering, as you think about your life, were there any specific people you looked up to? You know, specific events in your life that somehow have contributed more than others, to shape who you are today?
Linda Hoopes: Gosh, that's a great question. So I would say I'd have to start way back. I grew up in a family where I had some good role models for resilience and also so my dad was a logistics engineer, and my mother was a musician. My mother is still alive. And so I got this sort of whole right brain left brain really curious about the world, you know, applied things.
So I got into applied psychology as a field because, you know, business world and also human beings and so ... then going to grad school in industrial and organizational psychology exposed me to a lot of the quantitative and qualitative ways that we understand humans in the world.
And then I went to work for a consulting firm that did work in organizational change. So Daryl Conner, who is one of the early thought leaders in the change management space has been one of my mentors for a long time and in fact he was writing his book called “Managing the speed of change,” which had resilience at the center of it.
And so a lot of my work was stimulated by that environment and thinking about how humans go through change. And then over time I've come to broaden my interests outside of organizations and change and think about all of the different kinds of challenges that we face. So that's kind of the short version of the story.
Stephen Matini: Was there any specific moment that you understood? Oh this is my talent, this is my thing.
Linda Hoopes: I can't think of one moment, but I can think of making the decision to leave the consulting firm world and then take this piece of work that I've done and start my own company and then write the second book and the “Prosilience” book.
And so it's sort of become clearer over time that this is a unique thing that I have to say and that I have some perspectives on it. That might be valuable to people.
Stephen Matini: In my conversations with clients. I often hear people wondering what their lives would be like if they had their own business. Is there anything that helped you make the jump?
Linda Hoopes: Probably two things. One was midlife crisis. Somewhere along there I went to massage school and decided okay, you know like I just need to pursue this thing. Uh and then the other thing was actually the situation around me. The company I was in was changing their business model and becoming less of their business model before was more of a training and transfer models for teaching other people to do things. And they were moving more towards a traditional consulting firm model where they would have teams of people come in and I'm much more of a teacher.
I'm much more of, I want to teach you how to do it. That spider plant in the background is my metaphor for what I do. You know? It's like we plant plants out there and then they grow new plants. And so I really just not cut out to be a road warrior consultant who goes and you know since at a client site for four days a week, for months on end, that's just not me. And so as they were moving there, it became clear that I was I needed to shift something. So so that's what happened.
Stephen Matini: You also were an adjunct professor?
Linda Hoopes: I was an actual professor before I got into consulting. I taught at several universities and in psychology and business, in statistics research methods. And and so I did that and then at some point I went to work as the research director for this consulting firm and that's sort of how all of this got started.
Well after that I became sort of I did the adjunct thing too because that world is is fun. You know, it's fun to be in an environment where people actively want to learn. So I was in a an organization development program teaching uh master students in as an adjunct professor. And yeah, it's it's really fun, isn't it? What do you teach?
Stephen Matini: I teach Organizational Communication at N.Y.U. here in Florence. This is a main course for our business students. I belong to Stern School of Business and I had this fabulous group of professors that teach the same course all over the world.
So we get together, there's a lot of exchange of information, and the specific slant we give to the course is very organizational development. I’ve been teaching the course for over 10 years and it's been great working with students, most of my students, are 20 years old, you know, so this is the their second year,
Linda Hoopes: Yeah, you know, every now and then I'll have a student come to me, a graduate student, usually in a master's program or a doctoral program wanting to know if they can use the resilience tool that we have and so on in the research. And I always try to find a way to say yes, because I like to encourage that way and we learn things that way.
I don't have the wherewithal to do a lot of direct research myself right now, but I love participating in studies that other people are doing and contributing my thinking too, that it’s, it's and working with the students that are finding their way through that I agree.
Stephen Matini: A fun fact about you that I learned from the Prosilience website (https://prosilience.com), your website, is about the fact that you like to simplify complex things. So I thought it was really neat. How do you do that?
Linda Hoopes: So there's a quote that I really like that is from justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, the US justice, that it talks about the simplicity on this side of complexity and the simplicity on the other side of complexity. So, and he talks about how he would give his life for the second one?
The first one is not worth much. And so there's like stupid simplicity and then there's the simplicity that requires really working through complexity, and that requires just sort of sitting with it, understanding it, living with it going off on tangents, getting the big picture in mind and then you figure out how do I boil this down into its essence, into the things that are most critical for people to understand.
And I really love that, you know, I really love um figure, I mean I really do think of it as distilling as thinking about like how can what is the simplest way to express this that captures the power of it that has elegance to it. And you know, you living in Florence all the art that's around you, does a lot of that, you know, really good artists do that with human forms with buildings and all of that. I like doing it with ideas.
Stephen Matini: Well, complexity is a huge topic with all my clients. One of the struggles that people go through is the fact that there's so much information and very often is difficult to understand in this jungle of information, which one which piece of information comes first, which one is more relevant, which one is not as relevant. So I like the way you said that you distill. Is there anything specific you do to distill information or is more of a natural ability you've always had?
Linda Hoopes: Well, I can give you an analogy, I'm also a musician and um and one of the things I love is Irish music and so I play several instruments and so I, but in the summertime I go to this summer music camp and there is a beautiful fingerstyle guitar player named Robin Bullock and he teaches a class.
And one of the things he teaches is about how you learn a song by ear and he talks about finding the corners of the tune. So like a lot of Irish tunes, the notes are, there's a lot of fluidity around the ornamentation of it, but just listening to what are the sort of the core things that sort of make the shape of the tune, and then you fill in the bones from there and then you fill in all the stuff around that.
And I think that's kind of what I try to do with ideas, is like, what are the corners? Like I write down the four or five things and then I figure out sort of how do you embellish it around that? How do you embellish it around that? And some of it comes from making outlines, you know. I remember once upon a time in school we had to make outlines of things, you know, what are the key points and then what are the supporting points? And just even thinking that way is a really helpful process. So I think I just kind of do that with ideas.
Stephen Matini: One topic that comes up a lot is the notion of boundaries in the workplace. People oftentimes find themselves in this weird predicament between basically two opposite needs. On one hand, they feel like being a pressure cooker if they do not set healthy boundaries, and then on the other hand, they feel fearful of what might happen to them if they say no to people. So, what has been your experience in with setting boundaries and to help out clients with boundaries?
Linda Hoopes: Well, first of all, as you know, priorities is one of the resilience muscles that I talk about, and this idea that resilience is about energy. And so if we're not setting boundaries, then our energy might be going all over the place. And so so so it has a role in helping us focus our energy.
I think my experience is that we are always saying no two things. It's just a question of whether it's conscious. Everything that you say yes to, is no to something else. You know, every time I choose to be home with my husband, I'm choosing not to go out and play music. Every time I choose to go on a trip, I'm choosing not to be home.
And so if you don't set boundaries, then you're letting other people decide what you're saying yes and no to, and so I think some of it is just really um you have to start to learn what does yes feel like inside me and and and recognize the cost of not honoring that yes, because you're saying yes to all the other things.
And so to me, it really becomes doing that work of figuring out what's most important to you and then practicing in small ways. I mean this is not like setting a big boundary first, right? You just practice them. There's a no muscle that you use. And so you practice the no muscle in little teeny ways. Um and and polite ways. You know, this is not about being rude either, it's about, well, you know, let me get back to you on that.
Buy yourself a little bit of time, think about it and then come back to it. But it's a it's a self-respect thing and I've also found that people respect you when you respect yourself. So if you find ways to set a boundary, you're actually increasing people's esteem for you because they can see that you value and honor yourself and that you're that you see your time is precious that you see yourself as a worthwhile resource.
And so I think it's it's really I would ask the question what happens when you don't set boundaries, then people feel like they can take advantage of you walk all over you. They, you know, you can't they can't respect you anymore than you respect yourself. So that's that's sort of where I would go with that.
Stephen Matini: Probably what is behind all of that is fear. Typical questions that I hear from people are, what is it going to happen to me if I say no to my partner, to my family, to my boss. There is often a big fear behind that. You know, what I find brilliant about your approach is working with expectations. Sometimes I may need to change how I view issues. Other times I may need to accept them or use different actions. Often times all of us, you know, we wait and wait and wait and analyze the same situation a million times. We may have the impression of moving forward, but what we are simply doing is just to have a greater understanding of the dynamics without any traction. So really nothing improves. So my question to you is, how do you choose the right strategic combination of changing expectations, accepting what is, and putting in place some actions to finally move forward?
Linda Hoopes: So as you know, that's that's one of the building blocks is what are the strategies that I choose? When do I take something on, when do I accept and so on? This has been a problem for people for as long as there have been people right, you know, and I went back, so you are you familiar with the “Serenity Prayer”? I went back and looked at the original version of that.
So the serenity prayer was authored by an American theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr. And it’s, it's been useful in 12-step programs, alcoholics, anonymous and other kinds of things. But the original wording goes like, this father give us courage to change what must be altered serenity to accept what cannot be helped and the insight to know the one from the other.
And he wrote that back in the 1930s. And so you know, for as long as there have been human beings, we've been struggling with this issue of what can I control, what can I control? How do I get up, how do I stand up for the things that I need to stand up for. And I think it comes back again to the thing we were talking about before, which is having that clear compass inside you knowing what's important.
I remember a situation where my brother and I were facing a common challenge and his, his impulse was to try to fix it. And my impulse was to try to just work around it and figure out how to how do we deal with this just being the way it is and neither one of us was right or wrong. It's just, it's just different choices about how we spend our energy.
I think the self-awareness to say. I'm saying I'm saying to too many things, it's okay, just the way it is, like I'm not standing up enough, this one kind of self-awareness and then there's the, I'm banging my head against the wall and trying to fix things that I have no control over is another kind of self-awareness.
So I don’t, there's not one right answer, but being aware that there are multiple strategies and that we need to choose our battles and that were possible. We need to reframe things as uh to find ways to see them as hopeful as full of opportunity rather than as problems. You know, all of those things are our ingredients in the mix. How do you do it?
Stephen Matini: Ah! Well, I'm not someone who likes that much arguing, I don't like to get into conflicts, like probably a lot of people and I had to learn how to set boundaries because I felt that my life was all over the place in terms of interpersonal relationships. And so years ago it was a professor, his name is Enrico Cheli, he's a professor at the University of Siena in Italy. He's a psychologist and sociologist who taught me how to do it how to set boundaries and the importance of say no, but to answer your question, I believe that you set boundaries because it boils down to the person you want to be and the life you want to have and I agree with you, there's no correct or wrong answer, let alone giving people advice on what they should be doing or living.
But I can definitely say that the moment that I began setting boundaries, my relationships after a while improved, they simplified, they became much simpler, essentially more functional. So I truly believe it boils down to a choice. Is this something that I want to be part of my life? Is this an experience I want to give to myself? Is this how I want people to treat me? Is this how I want to treat people at the end of all? It's all about happiness and people's happiness, those are really paramount to me.
Linda Hoopes: You know, there's another, I'm gonna take this off on a little bit of a tangent. But one of the things I've been talking to people about lately, I don't know if you're familiar with the model that I have in the “Prosilience” book that's called the challenge map that talks about all the different kinds of challenges that we face. There's the challenges that we choose the things that we step up and decide to do in the world. There are the challenges that just happen.
You know, the weather, I just, my family is down in Florida and we just had hurricane Ian that came through there and you know, all of that, that stuff happens. And then there are the challenges that come from people in the world who are seeking to harm us, you know? If you live in Ukraine, right, there's there's people in the world that are out to take your country over well.
So one of the things that I talk to people about is that the benefits of the resilience work are that if you can use less energy on all the challenges that come from out inside of you. You have more energy available to do the things that are particularly meaningful for you to choose those challenges that you want to step up to in the world and the world needs that, right? You know?
And so the more resilient we can be and use our energy effectively, and as you say, say yes and no to things um that come at us, then we have we can be more choice more intentional about where we put our energy into the things that really matter.
Stephen Matini: At the beginning of this year, I've done some reframing as you taught me to do, there were some professional relationships that somehow I found really aggravating after many, many years of trying to make them more productive, and truly not seeing anything changing.
And so at some point I really felt frustrated, and I got tired of feeling that way and I said to myself, I don't want to feel this way about anyone. And so what I did, I made the deliberate effort to appreciate what worked. So feeling grateful rather than obsessing about what the relationship was never going to be, and then I thought, well, I need to seek elsewhere different dynamics that could be more representative.
So that was the choice. And it did the trick because what it did, it freed a lot of energy which was consumed in frustration and I invested it in other activities, which definitely were more productive. Like, you know, this podcast
Linda Hoopes: Absolutely freeing up your energy and I have found to that decluttering things, you know, just taking the time to just we'd the things out of my life that I don't need, whether it's stuff or people or whatever. It opens up space for new things to come in and it's beautiful.
Stephen Matini. I noticed from your LinkedIn profile, which are also an appreciative increase practitioner. I love appreciative inquiry, it's one of the tools that I use the most with clients. And over the years I met many appreciative inquiry practitioners whose approach focuses on strength as it should be, and positivity,
On the other hand, I believe that there is space for feeling bad sometimes about yourself. It is about positivity is about focusing on strength, but I strongly believe that if I want to move on, there's a space for everything in your opinion, is there anything positive about having a pity party?
Linda Hoopes: Oh my goodness, that's a great question. So, um so, I actually, in preparation for this, I had to look up, sort of the whole pity party thing just to make sure that I was understanding what this is about, and you know, this gets into the whole zone of of what some people are called toxic positivity, you know, sort of this idea that oh, it's all supposed to be happy.
I've never seen positivity that way to me, positivity is really recognizing that I have a choice to pay attention to the things that are going well and right without denying or dismissing the bigger picture, but that I choose to focus my energy on the things that are healthy, healthy and that I want more of, rather than focusing my attention on the things that are that are sick.
And that's that's kind of the whole thrust behind the positive psychology movement. It's thinking about what is health look like, what is flourishing look like? Uh you know, and how do we get more of that? And so, um and so part for me.
So there's this other resilience muscle that's that we label creativity that is really about polarities, it's about both, and it's about recognizing that there's many ways to view a situation that there's many layers to things, and I think that's that's a muscle that's really useful here too, because I think we need to recognize that the world can be both terrific and awful at the same time. That there can be beauty, and there can be sadness, and that there can be all these many things that are going on.
And I think acknowledging that letting ourselves move through those feelings that we feel, not saying, oh I'm not supposed to feel that way. I mean I grew up thinking I wasn't ever supposed to be angry and then at some point as an adult I realized no anger is a gift. It it helps me see where I need to set a boundary.
And so being able to sort of recognize those emotions and let them move through us without taking us over is a is a really powerful skill. And so I would say bring on the pity party if that's what you need to do, right? You know, if if you need to just sort of um let yourself spin for a while, but the idea of a party is great because it has a beginning and an end, right?
So this is not the pity life, this is not getting in the emotional spin and get and staying stuck, it's about saying, okay, I feel like crap right now, I'm gonna, I'm just gonna let myself feel that way for a while and you know, eat the extra ice cream and you know, do whatever I need to do.
Um but I would say a couple of things about pity parties, one is if possible, make sure it includes some dancing because getting, you know, getting up and like putting on some music and moving around while you're having a pity party, even if it involves, you know punching things.
Um and the other thing is like don't invite the whole world, you know if you need to have one or two people at the pity party with you but you don't need to inflict that like negative emotions are super contagious. And so um and so just be careful about you know sort of who you're inviting to the party. But you know I think pity parties are a great tool for resilience because you know we like we have to acknowledge that sometimes stuff just is terrible.
Stephen Matini: This past two and a half years have been very challenging for everyone. Is there any specific resilience muscle somehow that in your opinion takes the front seat during these difficult times?
Linda Hoopes: So I would say that one of them is connection. So this idea that resilience is a team sport, we don't have to do it alone. And I think um one of the things that's been very difficult with all of the covid stuff and everything that's going on is the isolation. Humans are ... so so one of the you know the first building block of resilience is around calming is around being able to bring ourselves to a calm place.
So one label that psychologists use for that is self-regulation, visibility to regulate ourselves, but we also co-regulate humans co-regulate, we see each other's faces the expressions, and the masks hide that it's hard to read people's expressions and so finding ways to be together with people to connect with people.
We've gotten so clever about using Zoom to talk to people halfway around the world. But resilience, we draw other people have physical, mental, emotional spiritual energy that we can draw on. And so recognizing the communities that were part of, nourishing them is a tremendously important muscle.
And then the other thing I would say is one of the ones we've already talked about, which is priorities. Which is this idea that being um choosy about what you do. I mean I can only sit on so many meetings a day, right? And I know like I had a woman come to my office yesterday for a meeting even though she doesn’t, she lives a ways away. Like it took her a little time to to drive, but she's just tired of zoom meetings and she decided it would be better to meet in person and it was, it was great. I would say priorities and connection are super important at this time. Not to say that they're not all important.
Stephen Matini: Priority is a critical factor. That seems to be an issue with many professionals. Managing time and stress gets challenging even for seasoned professionals. They all struggle to understand what comes first, second ... would you have any tips for them?
Linda Hoopes: So that actually brings in an additional muscle, which is the muscle of structure and that's the muscle that is about estimating and planning and getting into the details and figuring out, you know, what needs to come first, what needs to come next. And that muscle is about efficiency, it's about not wasting your energy on the things that are predictable.
And um you know, I think that sometimes just taking a few minutes to think to sit down and think about what's most important, you know, whether it's a journaling practice or reflective practice or just taking five minutes at the beginning of each day to think what's most important for me to be doing right now.
The other thing that I would, the other thing that brings up for me is the is the impact that leaders have on the people around them and the way the culture can either support or not support resilience. So that's that's an area I'm doing some thinking about right now.
There are some organizations, have you ever been on an airplane where you were stuck in a middle seat? You know, and you just can't move for anything right? There are some organizations that are like that with your resilience muscles. You can't move, you can’t, you can't say no to things, you can't take risks.
You can't like all of these things that we try to do to be creative to come up with ideas to, you know to say no to things to prioritize and when leaders set a bad example or when the culture doesn't reinforce that, like think about the experimenting muscle which is really about curiosity and trying things and taking risks.
There are some cultures that just beat that out of people, you know because you have to be right 100% of the time and you can't afford to fail. And so so I think that leaders have a huge impact on the positivity, the confidence that people have really all of that and with priorities being a great example because if a leader doesn't set clear priorities then it's not okay for the people that report to them to come back and try to set boundaries and say, hey boss, you know, you just gave me the ten thing to do. Tell me which three I should do.
Stephen Matini: Well what you just pointed out is politics, and I have to say that it is probably the one component that people struggle with the most. So often I see people struggling with the nuances of politics, they do not fully comprehend the levers of power surrounding them. I observe great ideas that slam against cement walls, you know like you cannot do this, you cannot do that. So I was wondering in your studies, have you ever researched how resilience applies to politics within organizations.
Linda Hoopes: Yes. And what I will say is that um those are specific kinds of challenges, those are dealing with relationships and sort of and also how the confidence that I have in my own abilities and the circumstances that I'm in. So when I do some coaching with people around resilience, it often gets very specific around dealing with a boss who doesn't value me or whatever, and so then you sort of have to go through and say, where's my energy going? What muscles am I using? How am I working through this?
I would say that in my own experience, confidence is the muscle that's really important there knowing I'm gonna be okay because I think in my, when I've seen people who have dealt with all of that effectively, what they've been able to do is to get to a place where they're okay if they leave, so they're not afraid of getting fired.
I that that happened to me some years ago when I was in a situation that I wasn't particularly happy about, I just came to a point where I decided, you know, I'm gonna just say what I need to say and if it means that I'm gonna have to make a choice, like it wasn't about, I'm out of here, it wasn't at all, it was like if that's what happens, I'll be okay with it, you know, I know that I can survive this, I know this is a challenge that I could take on, I'm not, I'm not looking for it, I'm not seeking it out, but it gives me the courage to say what I need to say.
And, and so, and so as as a strategy for, as a resilient strategy, recognizing that I'm a person that brings value, that I that there's a lot that I can do, that I've dealt with challenges before that, you know, the challenge of looking for something that's a better fit for me is a challenge I can take on. And so there are some people who are using the resilience work in career um development, so in career planning and, and just thinking about, you know, how do I step up to the next level?
How do I stretch myself in a job that I'm not big enough for? Um or that that's that's not big enough for me and you know, like how do I decide the next thing? How do I deal with this coworker? All of this are the, you know, these are the challenges that we face every day that that call on our resilience and our energy. So 100%.
Stephen Matini: A big chunk of your work is about energy, which I personally love and few people talk about it in the business world. Often times is seen as something that doesn't quite fit. So I have been practicing mindfulness since I was 18 and I sometimes use mindfulness in my, in my work, what is your favorite way to calm yourself, to center yourself?
Linda Hoopes: For me, so I also raced sailboats. So getting out on the water in a boat is, you know, so breathing is the obvious one and you can do that anywhere. But for me, getting out of nature, whether it's a walk or getting out on the water is one of the centering kinds of things that I like to do. And sometimes it's getting a hug or listening to music, but there's a lot, you know, there's a lot of tools we can use.
And I think as you say, um, what a mindfulness practice does is it gives you sort of the experience in bringing yourself back, returning yourself to that place of feeling grounded and centered and, and, and that’s, that's very powerful.
Stephen Matini; You know, you're the second person this week that, that tells me about sailing, so maybe that's a hint. I've never done it.
Linda Hoopes: Come on over, I'll take you sailing. Well, there’s, so there’s, there's a place I'll go. So one of the things that you just said brought up something I learned in massage school. So, um, and, and so they, they always talked about, um, don't work on clients who drain your energy, you know?
And so, so how that's translated to me in, in the non massage world is spend time with people who nourish me. So there are people who nourish you in various different ways, whether it's mental. You know, you have fun just with the ideas with them or emotionally or spiritually or, or even physically people that you just feel physically good around and you do activities with.
And so I really try to be attuned to what is happening with my energy when I'm with this person, if it feels drained, like if I start to feel an energy drain when I'm around somebody, I really intentionally try to make sure that I spend less time with that because I don't have any time in my life for people who aren't nourishing me in some way. And I try to be that sort of a source for others as well.
Stephen Matini: It is a matter of choosing those situations and people we want to be part of our life. So these days I hear people often saying they don't have time to do this. I don't have time to do that in your opinion. How can we find the time?
Linda Hoopes: I don't think you do. I think what you do is you reframe, you reframe the world as your resilience gym. You know, when you're in traffic and somebody cuts you off, you say, oh resilience practice. So you don't look for time to do separate things.
You just find every day in every moment a chance to do things that lift your energy that lift the energy of the people around you. Um, I've started focusing more on this idea of how our energy spirals and so, you know, often times mental health issues can result from a series of symptoms that just get into a spiral that feed each other.
And so resilience is about breaking those patterns. It's about seeing things in a different way. It's about taking that moment to pause and have a different reaction. And so, um so I've really gotten um focused on this idea of micro challenges that the little challenges, you know, you're on the phone and the customer service representative is really crabby.
So your job now is to see if you can make them laugh right. Um or you know, you just sort of start to see resilience challenges and opportunities for development every place. And those are the things that start to rewire your brain. And so uh so, you know, I think it really is a different mindset around it.
It's not how can I go find time for a meditation practice? Although I will tell you that my meditation practice when I do it is about six minutes long. I have a timer, you know, it's like, I don't have 30 minutes to go do it. But um but you know, you just, you just do do little micro bursts, just little things that are in the moment that that enable you to become more aware of how how your resilience in your way through the world.
I see resilience as a verb anymore. You know, these days I see it as a verb, it's the motions that we go through as we deal with the challenges in life. And so you're always resilience sing. You're always dealing with large and small challenges. You're choosing challenges, you're doing that.
And so so some of it's just bringing that mindset to it and just seeing it all as practice because every now and then the final exam comes, you know, every now and then the hurricane does knock your house down, um, or a loved one dies or something like that.
And and you really have to deal with all of that. But the more you practice, the more you built those muscles, the more you built that capability, the more you have to draw on when, when the big test comes.
Stephen Matini: Linda, have you always been resident?
Linda Hoopes: No, there are days when I'm not resilient at all! But I, I often, you know, I'm always able to see that it'll come back like on the days when the tide washes out and I'm just feeling drained and crabby and blah. You know, I recognize that the title come in, you know, that this too shall pass and you know, whatever it is. And so I'm sort of a little bit more able than I used to be to recognize that, you know, there’s, there's an ebb and flow to it all.
And um, and there, there, I mean there are times in my life I've been, what we say in the southern us here. I've been a hot mess, you know, like I've just just done stupid things and made bad judgments and all of that but you know it's all part of the road that's gotten me here and so yeah, no I'm not always resilient now even though I've been teaching about it for so long.
Stephen Matini: What’s gonna be next for Linda?
Linda Hoopes: Well, so some of the stuff that I talked about leaders, about the role of leaders in creating an environment that supports resilience. I'm actually working on a blog post right now. That's about the fact that um some environments are more challenging than others because of the physical environment or because of the history that we bring or because of the level of psychological safety or you know there's there's all these contextual factors that make it easier or harder for people to um to bring their resilience to the table.
And so I'm really kind of interested in that because I think it speaks to issues of um power and influence and justice and all of that there, you know there are people for whom walking through the world every day has an extra layer of challenge in it because they're disabled or because they carry a stigma of some kind or because they are in a minority in the group that they're in or whatever it is, you know and I think we need to figure out like how to we both equipped people internally to bring their best resilience to the table and to resilience their way through and also create environments for people that that let them flex those muscles that let them bring their best energy to the world and give them the opportunity to build and replenish that energy when they need it. So that's one thing I'm working on.
Another thing that I'm working on is I am um I have a project going. I have my great grandmother's journals that she wrote starting in 1927 in rural Iowa. And she wrote all the way through to like 1955 just before she died.
So they went through the depression, they lost their business, their farm, all of that. They went through World War II and she wrote every day of the world. And so I'm working on having those journals transcribed and publishing them in a weekly installment with comments and things. And so I'm learning so much about history and about the resilience challenges that people have faced throughout, you know, my family's history and other people's history and so so that's another thing that I'm working on is figuring out how those stories get told.
My um my great aunt um taught school in Iran and in Thailand um and so she left Iran before about the time that the that the Shah fell and the and the current administration took over. But they went and traveled.
They, you know like that part of the world will never will never be the same and will never see it again in that way, I'll never be able to go over there and experience some of the things that she experienced and so there's part of that like there's this set of so stories that I want to tell that that are there related to resilience in a way?
Um that's not, that's not why I'm doing them, but ut there is this relationship to recognizing that history comes and goes and stories, you know, people have faced different things in different times and that there are ways to find light and hope and possibility and curiosity in so many ways
Stephen Matini: Linda, this is wonderful. Are there any questions I did not ask you that you wish I did?
Linda Hoopes: One of the questions that you wrote down for me was this question about how do we replenish our energy? You know, when our energy is feeling drained, how do we replenish our energy? And one of the things that has become clearer for me is that um the question is not always about how do I do less?
Like how do you like if I'm feeling spread then drained whatever oftentimes our first impulse is to stop doing things, you know, is to do less is to take things off the table and conserve our energy. I actually find so the metaphor I've been using for that is, here's my phone, if this phone, the battery is drained on this phone, I can't possibly turn off enough apps to recharge it, you know, what I actually have to do is plug it in.
And so the question that is as human beings, what is plugging in, look like for us, you know, what is it that is a power source? Like what, what does that for us? And sometimes it's really just a posture like, like for people in the military standing at attention, you know, or if you’re, you know, if you're a yoga practitioner doing some sort of opposed that causes you to stand strong and firm, a tree or a warrior or something like that.
You know, sometimes we recharge our batteries by doing things that engage us in the world, you know, and so so so thinking about what is your power source, you know, for you? Um it might be your meditation for me, it might be my sailing. Um, but recognizing those things that feed us that feed our energy and not sort of succumbing to the temptation to get into a spiral where we're doing less and less because that is not necessarily going to recharge us.
So I have this wonderful group, global group of resilience practitioners that have been through the training that I do and we do, we do calls every quarter to get together when the, when the pandemic started, We met every week because we just needed to support each other and then it sort of stretched out now we're doing them quarterly.
But on one of our calls, we did a dis discussion about what do you do to recharge. And so I captured some of that, you know, you we were talking about elegance and structure. I sort of captured that into a set of things for some people. It's work for some people.
The work that they do is energizing enough that engaging in and that's true for me to to a certain extent I can't ever imagine retiring because I like what I do and so it and it nourishes me but for some people it's just watching stupid movies on TV and laughing out loud you know, and so there's there's you know, there's just different ways that we do that and nature is a big one for people. So yeah, so knowing what your replenishment strategies are is a is a good thing too, good thing to work on.
Stephen Matini: Linda thank you so much for spending time with me, I'm so appreciative. So happy to meet you finally and thank you for all these important bits and pieces. Thank you.
Linda Hoopes: It's been my pleasure. It's great to meet you and thank you so much for inviting me.
Stephen Matini: Thank you for listening to this episode of Pity Party Over. In the episode Linda covers a lot of aspects pertaining resilience. She points out that resilience is a verb, and by that she means that resilience training is something that has to occur every single day around small tasks, so that we can be prepared to face significant life-changing events.
For Linda resilience is a series of muscles that entails seeing possibilities, recognizing our capabilities, understanding what's essential, thinking creatively developing connections, structuring activities, and being willing to experiment.
Sometimes we can reframe a challenge by changing our expectations. Sometimes we can change it through specific actions, and other times we can accept that we cannot control anything.
Developing resilience entails becoming mindful that our energy needs to be managed, from the people we welcome in our life to the tasks that consume our time. We are always saying no to people and things. It's just a question or whether it's conscious.
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Be happy, be well, and until we connect again, thank you for listening.