My new favorite word is resilience. When referring to an object, it represents how far the object can stretch, or its elastic potential. When talking about people or organizations, resilience is the ability to overcome difficulties and become stronger and more flexible.
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to build resilience in my life. I am the oldest of 28 cousins, born and raised in a middle class suburban family in Mexico City. I traveled to Disneyland with my family when I was 12. It truly was the happiest place on earth. Everything was so colorful and shiny, I wanted to do cartwheels on Main Street. The food was so different! Besides Disney, my brother and I absolutely loved going to Target, Pick ‘n Save and Sam’s Club. That trip became a preview of coming attractions. Nineteen years after our family vacation to Disney, I moved to the United States.
I met an amazing American man in 2003. He turned my life 180 degrees when he asked me to marry him. I quit my job, sold my car, said goodbye to my family and friends and moved in less than a year.
It was so exciting and terrifying that I couldn’t stop and think. After many months, tears and prayers, I obtained my immigration documents and started my new life. There’s not enough time or space to describe in detail everything we went through in those hectic months, so I want to share some of the lessons I learned in the process.
- Change is here. Embrace it!
- You’re not a celebrity; you are a member of this household called humankind. The world should not adapt to you. Pull your weight and contribute.
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Learn the language, etiquette, values, mission and vision of those around you. Find out how your unique skills and talents can enrich that environment.
- Kindness, respect, honesty, integrity, hard work and good manners are universal. Use them!
- Longing for what you left behind will make you and those around you miserable. Live in the moment.
- Build your own mix of “the best of both worlds.” It’s a joyous ride.
- The world is not a big scary place. Explore it!
- People are surprisingly similar in many ways. Get to know them.
- Change is necessary to grow. Stop saying to yourself and your organization: This is the way we’ve always done things.
- Blessed are the flexible, they will not be bent out of shape.
Change is inevitable. You can choose how you manage it, even if there are many circumstances beyond your control. If you do not map out your life, your work, the direction for your organization or your small business, someone else will. Apply the lessons you have learned and learn from others. Be like the tree that has learned to bend with 100 mph wind gusts and you will not be uprooted and snapped in half. Change is life-giving when you know how to harness its power.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
- Name three major changes you have experienced in the last five years.
- Share two huge lessons you learned from one of those experiences.
- Name one other area in which you can apply the lessons you learned.
Question: How do YOU manage change?