[201]4 Practices for Resilient Leadership

January 4, 2014 · by Alvarez Porter Group · Filed Under Choices · Leave a Comment

2014 graphic2013 was the year you learned what it means to be resilient: we lost basic rights we thought were immutable, a dysfunctional Congress shut down government,  and a worsening environment demonstrated its wrath…  then, as the fall progressed, through emerging strategies and courageous leadership, you showed a deep well of resilience.  And as a result, the ground began to shift toward justice…

Here comes 2014:

It is time to start the New Year with the inspiration and clarity of purpose that is essential for effective leadership. Because it isn’t always easy, here are four practices to support you in fostering resilience:


#1: Focus on your purpose. As a leader you are bombarded with competing demands for your attention, it is up to you to stay grounded and connected to what matters most. The more you try to be many things to many people, the less you will be to all. Here are some ways to improve focus on what matters :

  • Mindfulness meditation: start by spending 5 minutes sitting quietly and see if you can stretch it out. Pay attention to your breath. Quiet your mind. Feel yourself become more centered and grounded.
  • Focused preparation: develop habits and rituals of preparation that ensure you are focused and completely present for events and conversations. Think of yourself as a highly trained athlete. Preparation is everything.
  • A short list of key results:  you can’t do everything.  what will define success for you this year?  how can you make sure you stay focused on those key metrics?

#2: Simplify complexity. One of the most draining aspects of social justice work is the complexity of the issues and the barrage of information coming at you. It is taxing because your brain craves order and certainty when there is none . Try these strategies:

  • Categorize your to do list. Organize your long list into 4-5 categories or chunks that align with your key priorities; apply the 4 D’s: do, delegate, delay, drop.  
  • Develop helpful routines – do you get disorganized under stress? Your brain has too much going on to keep unnecessary details top of  mind.  Develop no thinking routines.
  • Unsubscribe – to email and to other invitations that you don’t need – say no or turn off distractions – let your priorities be your guide.  

#3: Be positive. People who are even slightly positive have more energy, more insights, and stronger connections with others.  Here are ways to work on being more positive:

  • Focus on potential – As you listen to others and reflect on your dilemmas, practice focusing on what the potential is. What is the forward momentum?
  • Reframe – Every criticism or complaint you think about yourself or others can be reframed into something positive that you want in the future; 
  • Appreciate – Just noticing what people do that makes your life easier or better and finding ways to let them know will shift your focus to the positive and generate positivity in others.

#4: Sleep better. A great way to rejuvenate the body, mind and soul is to sleep 7-8 hours a night. Research has shown that sleep helps you perform better, learn better, and be more resilient – as your body and brain use this time to repair themselves.  People who sleep more, live longer.

  • Create earlier routines – Have routines that quiet down your mind in the hour or two before bedtime. 
  • Write down what is spinning in your head – Getting things out of your head and onto paper will help to quiet your mind.
  • Seek treatment for chronic insomnia – Sleep apnia and other sleep disorders are real and detrimental to your health.  Seek treatment.


Remember: there is only one you.  Resilient leaders make it a practice to take care of their only instrument – themselves.


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