Monday, January 3, 2011

"Be Fearlessly Resilient"

Last month I attended the Massachusetts Women's Conference.  I had no idea what I was about to witness, as over 6,000 women came together to discuss leadership, entrepreneurial insight, perseverance, and resilience.

The room where we gathered in the morning and reconvened for lunch, was an impressive sight of over 600 tables with red poinsettia center pieces, each surrounded by powerful business women, newly established entrepreneurs,  and up-and-coming leaders.  It was definitely a sight to behold.

 Surprisingly enough, my favorite speaker of the day was Glenda Hatchett (i.s. Judge Hatchett from TV). One of the lessons that I learned was that the delivery of your speaking has as much if not more influence on the impression you leave with people than the content you are speaking about.  She was a genuine, enthusiastic speaker, who provoked compassion and motivation from the thousands of listeners in her 15 minute speech.

"Being fearlessly resilient." was the theme of the day. The word resiliency has come up a lot for me lately. I recently posted the following quote on my facebook status:

Resilience is rooted in a tenacity of spirit—a determination to embrace all that makes life worth living even in the face of overwhelming odds. When we have a clear sense of identity and purpose, we are more resilient, because we can hold fast to our vision of a better future.

This concept is important for our self care.  We work with clients and patients everyday who have deep resilience in the face of whatever odds they face.  To tap into your own resiliency is a powerful and healing thing.  We not only have to focus on the good of our work and the life lessons that we learn from these resilient amazing people, but we can hopefully find peace in that our life's work is in line with our personal  identity and purpose. If this is the case then we will be rejuvenated, energized, and reminded of why we do the work we do.  It will give us strength and hope and the ability to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds.

The girls in my group home can be so difficult and emotionally draining to work with, but yet when I stop and think about what they have been through, what they continue to go through, and what they are able to do in the face of all of that, my anger, resentment, or frustration toward them tends to melt away. Instead, left behind is respect. 

People seem to be alarmed when a resident has a difficult time connecting with a particular staff member, or is verbally aggressive, or withdrawn from them. My response to this type of statement is always that Isn't this actually what we should expect from these kids? What we should have been surprised about was that she could connect with anybody at all. But yet I watch as girls come into the program and put themselves out there time and time again, even when the main thing they have experienced in life's relationships is pain. The resiliency that I am witness to everyday makes the difficult days much more worth it, and if I consciously focus on their resiliency, it gives me strength to be a better caregiver for them.

Another major lesson that I took from the conference is how important it is to have a cheerleader, a mentor, someone in your corner who is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed. So here is a shoutout to my Aunt Ellen, for inviting me to go to the conference, for attending it with me, for being my cheerleader, and for reminding me of my own resiliency, passion, and worth. It was a wonderful rejuvenating day, the kind that all types of caregivers deserve!

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