Jun 30 , 2019
Resilience – Why I Refuse to Use the Word

Last night was a beautiful evening in Sydney as I looked up to the stars and began to wonder. Out of all the magnificent lights in the sky, I began to focus on one particular star. I thought to myself that this star shows up every night and continues to shine regardless of all the chaos and tension of the universe that surrounds it. It doesn’t demand or expect other stars to shine a certain way, but rather just shines its light as an example for others.

This is what true resilience is about.

Now before all my yogi friends get their chakra’s in a twist, I’m not speaking to the health, wellness and spiritual practitioners who use the word resilience in the way it is meant to be used, as a mindset coach, I am connected to some incredible people in the space who nail both their intent and outcome.

The people I am speaking to is the group of humans in the corporate space who misappropriate the word resilience and don’t realise the irreparable damage they are doing to organisations with some catastrophic consequences by demanding resilience instead of creating safe space for their teams or team members to re-calibrate. What follows is my commentary about how this is catastrophic. Back on planet Earth, I find myself frustrated by the way this word is used across various corporate communities. Yes, corporate training will work but what are we being trained to be resilient for in business?

I often speak about helping individuals across Australia get back to their passion, purpose and goals, and support them by showing up just like the star in the sky. Showing up no matter what and shining your light gives others permission to do the same.

The analogy I love to use with my clients (thanks to Miranda Claire for letting me steal it), is that when the shit hits the fan and your plane is going down in flames; it’s important to always put the oxygen mask on yourself FIRST before you help others do the same. This is the core philosophy of the coaching, personal development and wellness industry. In that context, the word “resilience” has had its place there for decades.

My passion will always be helping people through change.

That means that I support teams, leaders and organisations as a whole as well, in addition to one-on-one mentoring clients. In this space, I have found leaders, teams, fellow change managers as well as CEOs rampantly latching on to this latest buzzword in the corporate space. 

I have a beef with how resilience is taken out of a self-empowerment context and put into the boardroom.

There is an expectation with teams, employees and peers to be ‘resilient’ which is like the star in the sky demanding all the other stars shine in a certain way so that it can shine brighter. It’s like the captain/pilot of the plane going down screaming that we all stay calm, return to our seats with tray tables up so it’s easier to count the bodies when we crash and burn.

Earth2Mars - The road to hell is paved by good intentions

When we talk about helping people stay on their own flight path, then resilience is key. However 90% of people out there are living on somebody else’s flight plan. Throw in corporate burn-out, office politics, bullying and leader psychopathy often left unchecked in Australian companies, using this word ‘resilient’ the way I have seen it used taking the above into consideration is careless and irresponsible.

Fantastic work is done by a select group of soulful change practitioners out there including ourselves with good intention. However the road to hell is always paved by good intentions, maybe it’s time for us to reflect on how we use the true meaning of resilience more effectively in the corporate space.

What if…

…instead of demanding our leaders, teams and people be resilient and walk through fires to achieve KPIs, targets and strategic goals, we go back to the true meaning of resilience and focus on our own personal goals and passions first?

…as leaders, instead of talking about resilience, work on our OWN personal resilience and be the shining example for others to follow? Instead of hypnotising staff into believing they need to deliver at all costs to their health, wealth and relationships.

Resilience - show up as your best self

…as employees, we stop buying into the bullshit of buzz-words and focus on what a 10 out of 10 work life means for us? Only by taking personal responsibility to establish good boundaries can we show up at work as our best selves.

…as teams, we encouraged others to self-care FIRST, before worrying about month end targets? 

True resilience is not some strategic corporate program we need to build to achieve our business targets. It is creating an environment where EVERYBODY has a personal choice to SELF-CARE, putting their wellness first.

Only then can they show up and achieve their own life purpose and reach for the stars.


Need a flight plan for the future? Book a clarity session with Andrew Butow HERE.