There are so many things that go into successfully building your resilience. One of the important things to understand is that the path to resilience isn’t necessarily an easy one. Knowing this upfront is one element that will help equip you to get the best possible results. Adam Markel – an international speaker, bestselling author, business mentor and entrepreneur – goes deep into the process of achieving resilience. He discusses many of the key elements of building resilience and shares what he’s come to learn about the relationship between resilience and pivoting consciously. This includes the idea that every successful turnaround involves making choices that empower you. Let Adam teach you how to master this particularly elusive quality.
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Pivoting Towards Greater Resilience
I am coming to you from beautiful Tokyo, Japan. I’m here for several days getting ready to deliver a talk to the Daimler Truck division, Mitsubishi’s, which is owned by the Daimler-Benz company out of Germany. I’m here to share some thoughts on resilience. The theme of this incredible event is turnarounds. I thought, first of all, when they contacted us to have me come over and deliver this talk, it seemed like a great fit because pivot means a lot of things, but it primarily does mean a change in direction. Often, that change is being made because something has maybe not worked out or hasn’t lived up to a certain expectation or it could be that the time has come for the change of the season, a turnaround. The turnaround in our personal lives can mean a turnaround in our finances. It can mean a turnaround in our career, it can mean a turnaround in the business that we’re in. It can mean a turnaround in our health, and it can mean a turnaround in the most important thing that we are always working on. That would be our relationships with ourselves primarily to begin with. The relationship that we have with all of the rest of the divine beings that we get to share this planet with. That concept of turnaround is fascinating to me and how to look at the work that I’m doing and where it’s evolved into and what it’s become since the book, Pivot, was first published back in 2016.
Resilience: The Bigger Circle
What my philosophy is about that topic of turnaround. It is fascinating to me because when I was involved in that book project initially, the concept of resilience was a component of the pivot process. Looking back at my own personal history and in the pivots I’ve made and the more dramatic pivot out of one particular career at the time. It was practicing law and into a different career, which was public speaking and training and facilitating programs and the like, being resilient was a key ingredient of my pivot. In looking back at it, I realized that being resilient was a part of how I was able to keep going, be guided, be strong, be present. All those things that enabled me to move forward despite the fact that the road ahead was unclear, uncertain, dark and all of those things that scare the daylights out of most of us. Resilience was a key component of that. I look back on it and what I also realized is that resilience itself is the bigger piece of it for me. Back then, resilience was a small circle within the larger circle of pivot itself, the pivot concept and the principles of following a certain path and then changing that path and what was involved. The art, the science of that change. What I realize is that the big circle is resilience. That’s the bigger circle. The smaller circle within the bigger circle is the pivot.
Making Small Changes
What I feel strongly about is that if I was advocating for one set of skills or for tools to be developed or for those tools to be accentuated. The tools that I speak about are the tools of resilience. That the skill of resilience is the most important thing that we can have in our lives as individuals, business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, employees, as human beings. I would build that in every situation I could, if given a choice. Certainly, with even thinking about our future generations, what I realize is that kids growing up they have to be resilient. Resilience is a tangible skill in our personal lives and in business every day. Part of resilience is the ability to learn how to make certain pivots. By that, I mean being able to make small changes. Small change is a component of pivoting that we all have to be able to use, to utilize to be successful. That’s the first piece is this idea of making small changes. Often when I think of small changes, I think of Buckminster Fuller who is this incredible futurist. He is also known as the creator of the geodesic dome, which is that big dome that sits at the front of Epcot Center if you’ve ever been to Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. People know the dome, but they don’t necessarily know Bucky Fuller who was a scientist, a futurist, a philosopher, speaker, a teacher, leader, an incredible man.
At a certain point in his career, because he was fascinated with many different things, he started to study long ago when these massive ships were first being developed, these big tankers and other big ships. There was a problem when they were being engineered and the problem was that it was difficult to turn them in. It took a long time for them to turn around because they had this big ship with this giant rudder that was on this giant ship and it wasn’t getting the job done until someone invented something that it was unusual, which was this tiny little rudder. They go, “How can a tiny rudder have anything to do with the way a big ship turns?” They found that when you put the tiny rudder on the big rudder and you put the big rudder on the big ship, then all of a sudden like magic, the ship could turn, could be more agile, and could turn more quickly. The trim tab is what it was called. You put the trim tab on the big rudder and the big rudder, it goes on the big ship and then the problem is solved. To me, that’s a great example of what small change looks like when I’m advocating for people to pivot. Whether it’s the pivot out of one career into another, out of one job into another, bad relationships into better relationships or out of health that’s not great into wonderful health or anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. What I advocate is this principle and this philosophy of making small changes because if we try to take the elephant in one big bite, we know that’s impossible.Being resilient is a part of how you can keep going. Be guided, be strong, be present. Click To Tweet
If we try to change our lives or change our situation in one big jump, usually we fail. Often, we don’t even try because the fear associated with that giant leap is often enough to keep us stuck or keep us staying committed to the status quo, keeping us committed to the devil we know versus the devil that we don’t. What’s wonderful in delivering this talk here is that I’m able to share that philosophy of making small changes and they’re able also to share the second component of how it is that we develop resilience. That is the ability to manage our mindset. It’s important that we look at our mindset and see it for what it is. It’s a collection of beliefs that we’ve been programmed to think and we don’t often question those things.
Reframing Your Mindset
Whenever there’s something going on, we’re contemplating a change or when a change seems to be needed or when a turnaround in this case is at hand, we’ve got to suspend our beliefs. There are three things that I advocate when it comes to the mindset and they all sit under the umbrella of what we call reframing. Reframe our mindset to reframe our belief system. The first part of that is that we have to suspend belief. By suspend belief, I mean that you’re aware of the fact that those beliefs might not be true. To suspend, it enables you to get to neutral, not feeling that there’s a positive charge or a negative charge to the belief itself, but simply that you’re neutral, that you’re looking at it through a neutral lens. In that moment of suspending your belief, you can see it differently.
You can look for the creative opportunity, which is the second piece, to find the creative opportunity to search for it, to find the meaning because there’s meaning in every situation. There’s always meaning, there’s always a creative opportunity. That’s the second piece. The third piece is then to be able to take what you’ve now discovered and reformulate your belief to potentially even replace the belief that you’ve got. To unbelieve certain things that you might have believed since the time that you were young due to someone else’s influence. Those are the three pieces of how do you reframe your mindset and be able to use that in order to create resilience in whatever it is that you’re turning around. Lastly, we’ve got to reclaim. We’ve got to make small changes. We’ve got to reframe our mindset and we’ve got to reclaim our energy. We’ve got to reclaim our capacity. That is absolutely fundamental.
It’s essential because what we see in the world is exhaustion. We see exhaustion everywhere we look. It’s perpetuated in our corporate culture. Not only in the corporate culture, but in the entrepreneurial culture as well. In fact, startup entrepreneurs and folks that are side hustling and following some of the advice of some of the “gurus” that are out there telling you that you need to put in that extra eight hours after you’ve gotten home from your day job. Now you’re going to start your side hustle in the evening and put in another eight hours.If you try to change your life or your situation in one big jump, you're bound to fail. Click To Tweet
You can live on four hours of sleep or whatever it is. That’s total crap and it is a recipe for burnout. It is a recipe for struggle. It is a recipe for failure. The studies and research are clear that the road to resilience is not paved by endurance. It’s paved by recovery. Meaning you look at athletes. Athletes, especially professional athletes or Olympic athletes, are constantly engaged in a back and forth exchange of both their energy and their recovery. An athlete could never perform their best exhausted. Can you? There’s no question that a person who is well-rested will always outperform someone who is exhausted. The exhaustion model doesn’t work in sports. It doesn’t work in any area of our lives and yet in business, whether you’re an employee for someone else or you’re running your own shop, we perpetuate this idea that we have to put in more time. We’ve got to have more time on the treadmill. I go back to the days when I was a practicing attorney and I left off of that treadmill. I left out of or escaped that hamster wheel, if you will. That was partly to save myself because I realized in that depleted condition, in that exhausted condition, I wasn’t any good to anybody. In fact, I probably was more likely to cause harm than to cause well.
Can you imagine if you were going in for surgery and the doctor who was going to be operating on you was thoroughly exhausted? They were at 70% of their capacity because they’d been working themselves tirelessly day after day and week after week and month after month. They have the scalpel and they’re standing over you to conduct an important surgery. Is that what you want for yourself? Is that how you want to show up for other people? There’s no question that as part of this turnaround, this pivot from exhaustion into resilience, that we’ve got to take care of ourselves, that we’ve got to make a recovery a priority, that we’ve got even to ritualize it. To ritualize it is to habitualize it. To turn ourselves into resilient beings, we have to create rituals that enable us to recover more quickly, which enables us to toggle between high activity, high intensity, high focus and complete and utter rest. Stopping is not even resting these days, because for most people when they stop working, as if that ever happens anyway. It used to be we’d have a weekend and now work happens on Saturday. It happens on Sunday. It happens at the kids’ soccer games, it happens in the Starbucks, it doesn’t matter where. There are no boundaries. We don’t have a lot of downtimes. Even when we say we’re stopping work, we’ve got social media, we’ve got TV, and we’ve got every other manner of stressor that is a part of our culture. We’re constantly looking at our phones.
We’ve got tech fatigue that’s caused by looking at those phones 150 times a day on average. More than 2.5 hours of time spent, almost a time vacuum suck if you will of our time into that void of social media and the like. It drains us from being present. It drains us from having a fresh outlook, a rested outlook to see things. I was thinking as I was eating breakfast, having a delicious sushi breakfast, which you may remember from if you watch my TED Talk, it’s one of my favorite things in the world is to be in Japan and have sushi for breakfast. I will again have that. It’s such a blessing but as I was sitting there, I was thinking to myself, “Am I enjoying my food? Am I enjoying my time sitting on the 35th floor looking out over the city of Tokyo and having this food that I love and eating something that is rare for me to eat where I live?” I questioned whether I was enjoying it because there was somebody that was next to me and she was sitting with her food, a woman of some Asian descent. She took a picture of her food and I thought to myself, “Should I be posting a picture of my food? Should I be posting a picture of this moment that I’m having this incredible experience? Should I be sharing this with other people?” I stopped myself because I questioned for a moment, “Am I enjoying this or in order for me to enjoy this, do I need to be sharing it with other people, posting it on social media?” It’s an odd thing.
Enjoying The Moment
Are we enjoying ourselves? Are we enjoying our lives even when we’re not telling other people what we’re doing? We’re living in a world that is about the comparison. It’s a world where we’re looking at ourselves, not through a lens of our own. We’re looking at our lives through the lens of what other people are doing and how great their lives are or how crappy their lives are. What their experiences are, where they are at that moment. It had me question myself and I took some deep breaths and I took a pause in all honesty and then I said, “No, I am thoroughly enjoying this mood, this meal, this moment. It doesn’t require me to take a picture of it.” Interestingly enough as I’m sharing it, I was thinking to myself, “I want to maybe blog about this. Maybe I want to bring this idea up and see what other people think.” There’s an old question that I remember hearing years ago, something to the effect of, “Does a tree in the forest fall if there’s no one there to see it?” Are we able to fully enjoy our lives if there’s no one there to see it? If there’s no one that’s going to see it? We’re not going to post it on Instagram or some other social platform. Does that somehow steal the enjoyment from the moment? I don’t have an answer for that. You can suspect where I’m coming from at the moment that I have my suspicions and I’ll leave it to you. It’s a question. It’s not an answer and it’s not a judgment. It is a question.You've got to be rested and recover to be your very best. Click To Tweet
What I do believe is that in these moments that are ours that we don’t just have for ourselves or for our families or the people that we’re with, we’re taking those moments and then we’re using them there. We’re posting them, we’re sharing them. We’re stepping out of the present moment to allow other people in for whatever reason, whether that’s the new version of Keeping Up with the Joneses. This idea that our lives are not meaningful if we don’t get likes, if we don’t have other people weighing in, if other people aren’t knowing at every moment that we did this and we did that. That whole idea of having to share these things and having to bring other people in for their approval or for the comparison or whatever is the motivation. Those things are exhausting. They take our energy, they take our effort, they take our thinking, they take the use of our fingers and our eyes, and they deplete us.
Taking Care Of Yourself
When it comes to creating resilience, we’ve got to be rested. We’ve got to recover to be our best. Maybe part of that rest means putting your phone on silent or turning it to off or doing something radical like I did. No, I didn’t get rid of my phone. I’m not that crazy at the moment. Who knows? Maybe in a month I will. Anyway, I turned it to grayscale. I saw an interesting documentary on what cell phones are potentially all about for us and some of the apps that we’re spending our time with. We’ll get into that.
I’ll say I decided to turn my phone to grayscale. It’s much less interesting to me than it was a month ago. I’m enjoying it. In that grayscale, I find myself touching my phone maybe a third of the time than when it was all colorized and all those colors that are intended to keep us looking and keep us swiping, keep our eyeballs engaged, etc. I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself what that looks like. I’ll be the reminder that we’ve got to take care of ourselves. That you’ve got to create rituals for your resilience and your recovery, morning, afternoon, evening. Whether it starts with a meditation, whether it starts your day with a green drink, whether it starts that you take a walk or that you begin your day with four simple words. The words that I’ve shared numerous times and I feel they are profound in many ways for me, maybe they will be for you. These words, “I love my life. I love my life. I love my life.” They are an immediate acknowledgment to me of what it is that I most want, that I am most intent. They’re an expression of gratitude for the day, for my life and for my creator. They’re a great way for me to recharge. Even at the beginning of the day after a night’s sleep, I still believe that immediately fills my tank. It keeps filling up my tank. I remind you that you’re no different than your cell phone or your computer if you are unplugged too long, you run out of juice.
It’s the same thing with those devices. We were fanatical about plugging in those devices so that they don’t run out of battery. God forbid they run out of battery, but yet we deplete ourselves. We run on empty ourselves and our battery gets run low, lower and lower and yet we still expect ourselves to perform at our best. Those two things don’t work hand-in-hand. Us depleted, our energy and our capacity being depleted at the same time that we’re expecting more and more of ourselves. That’s our show. I thought I’d share some thoughts, a few things that were kicking around in my head from this beautiful place in Tokyo, Japan. After having a wonderful breakfast and contemplating a few things that perhaps you had been contemplating, perhaps you will start to contemplate. Also being wonderfully grateful for this moment, for having the ability to communicate in this way and to have people that are interested and also engaging in this conversation.
Please, feel free to leave a comment at AdamMarkel.com/podcasts. Let’s engage in this conversation. Feel free to contact us on Facebook at Start My PIVOT Community group. I’d love to speak to you there and answer any questions or respond to comments. We’ve got a beautiful community of people who are pivoting in many areas of their lives, people who are engaged in lots of different things. Getting on TED stages to deliver their wonderful ideas, the TEDx community, we help a lot of people with that.
We’re excited about that as well as people that are also doing similar things to what we’re doing, which is speaking on topics around the world, keynote, conferences and getting in front of businesses and business leaders to share thoughts and ideas. Hopefully, these are ideas that will inspire and also, make things better. That’s the best we can do is to every day do something that makes something better. I leave it to you to do that. It’s the work of a lifetime. I feel blessed to be here and to be sharing some of these things with all of you. Have a wonderful rest of your day. Remember to wake up. Put your feet on the floor, take ten seconds and declare out loud, I love my life.
- Start My PIVOT Community – Facebook group