Resilient people develop the inner strength, strategies and skills to overcome setbacks. Managing such challenges can sometime provide the platform for achieving future success.
Al Siebert did pioneering work on resilience. His superb books – such as The Survivor Personality and The Resiliency Advantage – enabled many people to develop their inner strength.
He provided more than inspiring stories. He offered positive models and practical tools that enabled people to develop their resiliency skills.
They could then apply these to overcome challenges when using their strengths. He helped many people to make breakthroughs in their personal and professional lives.
Returning to college after completing his military service, Al resolved to study psychology, but he grew frustrated by its emphasis on mental illness.
He decided to study life’s survivors – those who grew when overcoming tough challenges. Scoping out the areas of study, he chose to focus on people that met four criteria:
They had survived a major crisis.
They had surmounted the crisis through personal effort.
They had emerged from the experience with previously unknown strengths and abilities.
They had, in retrospect, found value in the experience.
Building on his research, Al outlined some of the strategies survivors adopt to overcome crises successfully. These include the following.
The Survivor Personality is one of the first and best books on the topic. Al went on to start Thrivenet. This a web site packed with stories and tools that people can use to overcome adversity. Here is the link:
Al then expanded on the topic to produce another compelling book.
The Resiliency Advantage
Expanding on the theme of survival, Al focused on how people can thrive in a fast-changing world. This calls for individuals, teams and organisations to develop their resiliency skills.
Why? In the old days many people relied on ‘institutions’ to tell them what to learn and how to behave. Nowadays people must manage increasing information, complexity and unpredictability.
Such events may include, for example, personal setbacks, sickness, redundancy, market changes, reduced budgets, technological changes, economic downturns or whatever.
People will need to deal with such challenges. This calls for them taking responsibility, seeing to the heart of the matter and making good decisions. Even if they choose the right strategy, events may conspire to throw them off-track.
They will need to recover quickly, practice ‘course correction’ and do everything possible to reach their goals. People who develop such resiliency skills are more likely to increase their chances of success.
Al illustrated these ideas with real-life inspiring stories. Some are in the book; some on The Resiliency Center web site. You can access these stories at:
The Adversity Advantage
Paul G. Stoltz and Erik Weihenmayer wrote The Adversity Advantage. This shows how overcoming setbacks can fuel a person’s ability to produce greatness.
Paul originally gained public attention with his work on AQ, Adversity Quotient. This enabled people to measure and improve their ability to overcome adversity.
Erik became the first blind person to climb Everest. A journey he chronicled in his book Touch The Top of The World.
After seeing Erik featured on the front of Time Magazine, Paul sought him out. Building on the views they shared in common, they decided to write The Adversity Advantage.
Their site outlines seven strategies for overcoming adversity and achieving peak performance. Here is a brief summary taken from the site, which describes these in more detail.
1) Take It On.
Learn how to overcome frustration, helplessness, and anger — and benefit from adversity.
2) Summon Your Strengths.
Challenge the conventional wisdom that natural strengths drive success. Exceed expectations of what you and others can, or should, attempt to do.
3) Engage Your CORE.
Learn how to handle adversity better and faster. Engage your CORE and learn how to turn adversities into advantages. (CORE stands for: Control, Ownership, Reach and Endurance.)
4) Pioneer Possibilities.
Devise signature systems for turning the impossible into the possible. Learn to create strategies that others fail to see.
5) Pack Light, Pack Right.
Learn how packing poorly cripples you… but how choosing the right things, people, obligations, and pursuits strengthen you. ,Spring clean, so you can rise up, rather than crumble, under the weight of adversity.
6) Suffer Well.
Character is forged in the flames of adversity. Done right, suffering can fuel greatness.
7) Deliver Greatness, Everyday.
This summit, the culmination, weaves together the most important ideas of the book, providing a coherent, portable package of practices that you can apply anywhere, anytime.
* Resiliency Center.
Here is a link to the Resiliency Center. This provides more information about the work of Al and others who have focused on overcoming setbacks.